The ice has arrived. It covers the roads, the driveway, and most of the garden. The leftover plants have turned into icy statues. The wind blows, and they remain immobile. The light coating of snow makes everything look intensely beautiful, though. At this time of year, I get to sit down and enjoy the first full month of no-gardening. There are no more tools to clean or put away. There’s nothing more to remove from the earth — everything is frozen, so I couldn’t even if I wanted to. There’s nothing left to harvest, and I no longer visit the garden beds each morning. They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and I think it’s true of gardening, as well.
It’s easy to slip into a bad attitude at this time of year. The cold and ever-changing weather makes people cranky. I’m lucky that I happen to enjoy the chilly temperatures, but I understand how darker days and inclement weather take their toll. When your favorite hobby has to be put on hold, what are you supposed to do?
I like to take the extra time as an opportunity to spend time on other hobbies. Winter is the ideal time to sink your teeth into a new hobby or re-discover activities that you tend to neglect the rest of the year while you garden.
Here are a few recommendations:
I’ve yet to physically cross-stitch anything, but I’ve made it a point to read about it. My goal is to complete one project before I have to get into the nitty-gritty of seed starting — which may be sooner rather than later since the catalogs have already begun arriving in my mailbox!
I’m an avid reader twelve months out of twelve, but there’s nothing quite like snuggling up with a book in the wintertime. Even non-readers might enjoy flipping through the pages of a good book when the temperature dips. If reading fails to keep your attention, try listening to audiobooks. If you really miss gardening and can’t stop thinking about your favorite hobby, pick out stories with gardening-related twists,
or grab a non-fiction gardening book to learn something new.
Crack open the cookbooks on your shelf and learn how to utilize all of the produce you’ve harvested and preserved. Find recipes that inspire you to use the jars of tomatoes, frozen peas, and dried fruit you collected earlier in the year.
Gardening is a fairly active hobby, especially if you have a large plot of land. Weeding, digging, and moving around structures and dirt takes quite a bit of energy. Don’t sit around all winter and do nothing! Keep your body moving. The cold weather doesn’t have to bar you from heading outside. One of my favorite winter activities is snowshoeing — you’ll find plenty of affordable options at most big box stores or sports shops. It’s a great way to discover trail networks nearby and work up a sweat.
Can’t stop thinking about the summer gardening season? If you really miss your plants and can’t fathom getting into any other hobby, why not brush up on your indoor gardening skills. Some of the best gardeners I know are lousy when it comes to taking care of indoor plants. If you can’t seem to keep a plant alive for more than a month, spend December, January, and February learning how to properly care for potted plant life. Not sure which plant to introduce into your space? Try an air plant!
Do you have any winter hobbies? What activities to you turn to when gardening is not an option? Leave a comment and let me know 🙂
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.