Quick tips for garden work in the winter
If your soil does not freeze hard in the winter, the cool months of the year can be some of the most productive and comfortable to work outdoors. There are few insects to bother you and the sun is milder so you are less likely to have skin damage or get too hot with heavier work.
- Do keep in mind that the soil structure needs to be considered. Avoid working wet soil since it will compact and the helpful air pockets between particles will be compressed. Clay soil is particularly vulnerable.
- Winter is the best time for major pruning of woody shrubs and trees.
- Use the cool weather to clear, clean and clip plants. Chop trimmings small for composting. But expect the speed of composting to slow down when temperatures are not warm.
- Wear layers so you can stay comfortable as your body heats up or cools down depending on how much effort you are expending. It is easier to have your clothes in layers than to keep interrupting your work to go change.
- Wear gloves. Hands become chapped and damaged even easier in cool temperatures. Add the abrasion of work and you will save yourself a lot of discomfort by bothering to put on those gloves.
- Use cold, windy or rainy days to garden inside. Look through books and magazines for garden ideas. Surf paper and Internet catalogs for the most recently introduced items or to find old favorites. Make sketches and plans for your own garden, especially permanent features (hardscapes). And learn more about keeping garden costs and maintenance reduced with sustainable gardening. You’ll thank yourself come springtime.
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