Monthly Maintenance Checklists for Your Garden: Winter Monthly Maintenance Checklists for Your Garden: Winter

Gardening Tasks for December

  • Depending on your region, there isn't much outdoor work you can do in the garden other than structural. This includes building new garden beds, adding rocks or stepping stones, and chiseling a path or walkway.

  • The most important task you can perform in December is to make sure the soil is compact with no gaps or cracks. Gaps in the soil can allow snow to seep down by the roots and kill the plant. You can also apply a layer of mulch around all plants to help protect the roots.

  • Birds help rid our gardens of harmful insects during warm weather and entertain us with their songs, so be sure to feed them during the harsh winter months, so they don't die of starvation.

  • Now is also the time to cozy up with a good coffee, tea or hot chocolate and review your garden journal. What seeds and perennials do you need for next year? Try to order these in December for early shipping. The winter is also a good time to request catalogs and search online for garden decorations, tools, and gadgets for your garden.

Gardening Tasks for January

  • When weather permits, make sure climbing plants are secure, and covers are still on rose bushes and azaleas. Some gardeners cover roses, azaleas, rhododendrons and similar bushes only during snow storms or severely cold weather.

  • Continue to request and review catalogs and order seeds and plants.

Gardening Tasks for February

  • What you can and cannot do in February depends on your zone, weather, and the last frost. Once you know when the last frost of the year typically occurs, you can better plan when to add the first new plants to your garden. Some flowers are hardy and can be planted before the last frost. If annuals are added each year, you will most certainly need to make a list of the times of year you can add each one.

    If February turns out to be a mild month, take advantage of it because the ground will still be solid, meaning you can easily use the wheel barrel or wagon to transport stepping stones, rocks, or large bags of soil around the yard.

  • If you see bulb flowers coming up, clear the area of any leaves and aerate the soil around it. If the weather takes a drastically cold turn, put mulch or fallen limbs around the leaves to protect them.

  • Slowly start accumulating bags of soil, fertilizer, lawn bags, and mulch as local nursery and home improvement stores offer them for sale.

  • As weather permits, start turning over the soil in borders and garden beds, as you work the soil add compost, manure, or fertilizer.

  • Start seedlings indoors, such as begonias, candytuft, columbine, delphinium and other flowers that take longer than others to germinate.

  • When March arrives, start this list all over again!

As you can see caring for a garden is a year round task, and keeping track with a garden journal keeps all information in order. You can create a record of plants and their progress, keep track of future garden design ideas, create a production schedule to keep your garden flourishing each year, and keep track of bugs. These task lists are general guides to use throughout the year, but consult your garden journal and use the information within to personalize your task list. Happy gardening!

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