Growing Herbs at HomeDec 13, 2023

9 Ideas for Gardening in Winter

The year is winding down and getting ready to begin anew. The cold and snow (depending on where you live) is a cue to retreat indoors and enjoy peace and quiet after the holidays. While the air is brisk and the coziness of your warm home beckons, there is some winter prep you can do in the garden that’ll make the transition to warmer spring weather much easier.


Do it for the Plot

Burning desires to change your gardening space are real. Whether it be moving some plants to a different spot with more sun, building a pond for aquatic plants or reworking your paths to lead elsewhere, a little planning can make changes a breeze. Also thinking about how to arrange your plantings will maximize your space and give them the best chance to thrive. 

Pro Tip

Get technical with garden planning apps (yes, there’s an app for that) or if you’re more low-key, start a Pinterest board.  Go out and get inspiration from neighbors’ yards or browse online. 


Host a Seed Swap

A seed swapping party with friends or neighbors is a great way to save money, socialize in the depths of dark winter and beef up your collection while paring down any extras you have. It’s the perfect opportunity to try a new plant without a lot of unknowns.

Pro Tip

If you’ve saved anything from your garden, such as dried herbs, pickled veggies or preserved fruit, find a way to incorporate it into snacks or drinks to have a full circle experience.


Dream Big & Show Support

This is the part we all wait for! Comb through your seed and bulb catalogs to get wowed by all the different varieties of each plant. Pick out your tried-and-true favorites, as well as anything new you want to test out.

Pro Tip

Show your support when you spend by using the University of San Francisco’s Ancestral Seed Library reference that lists BIPOC owned seed companies.


Get Crafty

Hibernating inside can work to your advantage! Take this time to flex your creative muscles and work on projects for your garden next to the warmth of your fireplace. Decorate flowerpots, build a support structure from fallen or pruned tree branches, make ollas (unglazed clay containers for irrigation) to offset the constant of summer watering or create eco-friendly plant markers from painted rocks, sticks labeled with permanent marker and repurposed tin can lids or broken flowerpots.

Pro Tip

Pull in your family for some extra hands and a bonding experience. Gardening activities are a great way to help kids learn about plants and home-grown food.


Bless the Mess

You’d be surprised just how easy it is to provide pollinators and other wildlife with a place to overwinter or hibernate. Fallen leaves, a small patch of uncovered soil, small piles of branches or that little mound of woodchips you never quite got to can create a nice habitat. Leaf litter alone can house hibernating bees, butterfly eggs and moth larvae while attracting beneficial insects like lady beetles. In the garden, leave flower stalks and seed heads intact over the winter. Many birds and other wildlife feed on the seeds of plants. Also, native pollinators primarily hibernate throughout the winter inside the pithy and hollow stalks of garden plants. 

Pro Tip

Get a bird house and hang it near your garden to bring all the birds to your yard, encouraging all types of pollinators. 


Feed Our Friends

Our beautiful flowers and veggie crops are nothing without our pollinators! For those that stick around for the winter, make sure they are well fed. Keep your hummingbird feeders full. If you don’t mind looking at the now dead plants of summer, the birds will happily eat the seed heads of your Sunflowers and Echinacea, while certain types of bees like carpenter, mason and leaf-cutter bees will nest in hollow stems of other plants. 

Pro Tip

Make sure you have plants that flower in early spring, like Crocus and Snowdrops, and late into winter, like Oregon Grape or Witch Hazel, providing nectar in scarcer times. 


Get Diggy With It 

Miss the feeling of soil under your nails and a hard day’s work put into the dirt? Jumpstart your spring seeding indoors if you have a greenhouse and/or a grow light set up for established seedlings come spring.

Pro Tip

If you don’t have anything like that, no problem. Upcycle some grocery containers, like plastic milk jugs or deli containers, to create a micro greenhouse effect.

Rest and Recharge Your Garden

Taking your gardening chores inside can be a nice rest from the spring and summer’s hard physical work. There’s no shortage of things to accomplish! Use the quiet time to get a handle on planning and creating. We hope these tips help inspire and empower you in the garden in all seasons.

While these are general tips that are helpful in our area and climate, always do your research about the specific plants in your space and what’s recommended for the zone you live in.

Share Your Winter Garden To-Do List

Do you have a list of must-do’s during winter for your garden? We’d love to hear them. Share your tips with us on Facebook or Instagram and be sure to tag us!