Where I live, the snow has arrived and is here to stay. It’s been a month or so, now that we’ve begun to shovel our walkway and donned our boots when heading outdoors. A month where I was happy to take a break from thinking about gardening tasks: I think a break is necessary for any hobby. It allows you to refresh and come back to it newly excited. But what are you do when you’re ready for the break to end?
Thirty days later and I’m itching to dig in the dirt, but the ground is frozen, and it’s not about to melt anytime soon. Boredom can be either a blessing or a curse. Here’s how I make the most of my gardening downtime.
Take Advantage of the Rest Period
If you’re in an area where winter signals the end of the season, here are some ways to keep entertained.
- Find another hobby – take up a new activity to spend your time when the temps drop below zero. Knitting, puzzling, reading, or browse your municipality’s website to find free or low-cost gardening-related conferences to attend.
- Scroll through Instagram – Lucky gardeners in warmer climates are still enjoying lush, green crops. There’s no shortage of inspiration and photo-entertainment on Instagram. You might even gather ideas for next year.
- Clean – You’ve heard of spring cleaning, but as a gardener, I often find myself tidying up more often in the winter so that I’m all organized when warmer weather arrives.
- Learn something new – Even the most seasoned gardeners can afford to educate themselves about new techniques or new plants they’ve never grown. Look for free online webinars or ask around to see if there are any in-person educational events in your town.
- Gather and build – With a bit of extra time on your hands, it’s the perfect time to look around for supplies. Ask friends and family if they’re throwing anything away that might be useful for your garden. Building supports and beds now will save you time in the spring.
- Focus indoors – Take stock of your indoor plants and make sure they’re getting the attention they deserve. Consider starting an indoor garden for greens or herbs.
- Enjoy the winter – Stop lamenting about the end of the season! Embrace the colder weather and enjoy classic winter activities. Sledding, skating, building snowmen. Get outside, even if it’s just for a walk. Get active, and you’ll be primed to dig, haul, and plant in the new year.
Whether you’re still enjoying warm weather somewhere south or you’re already buried in snow, think about planning your downtime from the garden. The winter doesn’t have to be gloomy. Take stock of all the possibilities and use the rest period wisely. You’ll come back to next year’s garden fully re-charged.
Steph Coelho is a freelance writer gardening in zone 5b. She is a certified Square Foot Gardener and has taught various garden-related workshops. When she’s not digging in the dirt or writing, she’s cooking up fresh produce, running, or listening to her favorite podcasts.