We all wish that every day is sunny, bright, and cheerful, but that isn’t life. The fact is, we have to brave through the winter every year before we get to the warmer months.
The New York Post lists some things that are terrible during winter. It includes walking on icy and slippery sidewalks, having dry skin and flu, and high heating bills. If you’re a gardener, add “winter can damage your plants” to the list.
It is described as a winter injury by the University of Vermont Extension. Caused by environmental conditions during cold seasons, winter injuries are plant damages ranging from small leaf damage to the death of a plant. This could be painful for any gardener.
To prevent this from happening, there are measures a gardener can take. The key is protection. Just like a human needs a winter coat for the season, your plants need something that will keep them warm, too.
There are a few small adjustments you can make to prepare your plants for the colder season. The first step is to water them. Watering the plants can create a semblance of heat for the plants before the water adjusts its temperature to match the cold outside. A cover adds a layer of double protection for this technique to work; tarps or cardboard boxes could work as coverings.
Another method is by using some lights to bring some warmth to your plants. This is effective for light frosts. Move your plants closer to your house and put on some lights and covers, and your baby is good to go.
The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach states that one of the most crucial points in protecting your plant from winter is preparation. In doing that, timing is important. Plants, like humans, have a natural ability to protect themselves from winter. But well-meaning humans can mess it up by being overprotective. It means protecting the plants too early when it’s not yet necessary.
The university also states that fertilizing or pruning plants at colder temperatures is a bad idea. Doing so will produce new succulent growth, and as these small branches are only babies, they have not yet toughened up for winter. It is also advisable to pick off dead leaves surrounding your plants after winter; forgetting to do so may result in fungal spores that will ultimately kill your plants.
Growing a plant from your own seeds is better than buying factory-raised seeds or seedlings. One reason is that it saves you money; the other is that your seeds often grow stronger and more durable than factory-raised ones.
If you want to start planting during the winter, it is possible; it depends on the plant type. There are cold-season crops such as broccoli and lettuce. To grow them, you need to start growing them indoors. Once they grow their little leaves, you can start planting them outdoors, but again, protection is necessary.
Protect your seedlings with a cloche or a cold frame. A cloche is any form of protection that will keep wind and frost away from your babies. This can be as simple as an empty gallon of soft drinks or water, cut in half. On the other hand, a cold frame is a mini-greenhouse that can be built on the side of the house.
The big way
We discussed the simple ways to protect your plants for winter, but there is also a big way. It is big in the sense that you may need to put a little more effort and funds into it, but it is worth it. We are talking about greenhouses.
Imagine a garden growing fresh produce year-round. This is possible by owning a greenhouse. A greenhouse traps heat to have a warm environment where they can bloom and grow all season.
There are different types of greenhouse. You can have a DIY project and build your own by using a tent-like structure. You can make this using UV-resistant greenhouse plastic and metal pipe skeletons.
If you have more budget, though, go for a professionally made one. For gardeners living in higher altitudes and colder temperatures, there is a specific greenhouse for cold climates. Having a professional build ensures that they find the right spot to put the greenhouse and make the right structure for your plants.
For plant lovers, having a greenhouse is the dream. Having it in the cold season is like a winter wonderland.
Everything is possible
Even in the coldest temperatures, gardening is possible. If humans can survive, why can’t plants, right? As mentioned above, plants have their means of getting through the colder months, but a little help from their human buddies won’t harm them.