Here in the Frozen North, Winter Doesn’t Mean the End of Gardening

A couple of things have come together to make me think about this topic.

First, I spoke to a wonderful group of gardeners in Essex, CT last week about house plants (you saw the house plants all packed up and ready to travel for last week’s Wordless Wednesday).

Then I got an email newsletter with the title “Winter is for Gardening too.” The newsletter featured winter interest plants, which is not what I am thinking about, but it just furthered my thought process.

Finally I am working on my holiday article for We-Ha magazine which is about–no surprise, I am sure, celebrating the holidays with house plants.

So. Do any gardeners really take winter off? Even if, as I do, you live in a cold climate, and you don’t choose to turn your home into a modified greenhouse, I have already received seed catalogs.

Plant catalogs won’t be far behind. It used to be that the plant and seed catalogs would arrive just after the new year. Then they backed up to around Thanksgiving. Now it’s even earlier.

And I suspect many of you, like I do, keep some form of records and you use this “quieter” time to evaluate what went wrong, what went well, and what you want change.

I am not sure how those who garden in year round climates keep up without a seasonal pause. They must be far better organized than I am. Or maybe it’s easier if you don’t have to worry about planting for “winter interest,” too!

5 thoughts on “Here in the Frozen North, Winter Doesn’t Mean the End of Gardening

  1. tonytomeo November 14, 2022 / 1:32 pm

    Gads! Winter, or what we get as winter, might be the busiest season. The Santa Clara Valley was formerly occupied by vast orchards, which needed to be pruned while dormant through winter. Not only were the trees VERY numerous, but their dormancy through winter did not last as long as it does where winters are cooler and longer. The orchards are gone, but some of us continue to grow deciduous fruit trees in our home gardens. Winter is not long enough to get all the dormant pruning done.

    • gardendaze November 14, 2022 / 2:48 pm

      Aha, you see, this was what I was afraid of. I spent half the afternoon tending to my “indoor” jungle, yesterday. I cannot imagine what I would do if I had to garden year-round. I just don’t think I would have the constitution for it!

      • tonytomeo November 14, 2022 / 5:46 pm

        Well, houseplants can be more work for those who are not so proficient with tending to them.

      • gardendaze November 14, 2022 / 6:18 pm

        Very true. And here in the frozen north, as we start losing light, when you have a couple hundred of house plants, it takes awhile to groom the dead leaves, check for pests, and just to water. It’s a happy job–but not something that I ever want to rush.

  2. lisatheardentgardener November 17, 2022 / 4:12 pm

    Agree with what Tony said, here in Northern California, I do often feel busier with dormant pruning in winter. Some things slow down, others pick up. We cannot grow tender things like cucumbers or tomatoes year round, but winter is when the rainy season starts and things green up. I consider late summer to be our dormancy season, of sorts. I love houseplants and they get me through dusty days of summer drought and any months of clouds in winter. I grew up in the mid-west though and miss the more structured seasons … and snow… and lightening bugs… and dramatic thunderstorms. 🙂

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