Being in nature and gardening is one of the best comforts that can help us through the anxiety and uncertainties in life. Gardening has increased tremendously during the tough challenges in 2020. Hopefully 2021 will bring us back some stability. Let nature and gardening continue to nourish our souls.
Planting and digging slows down in winter but gardening is a lot more than just the physical activity in the garden. Here in west Texas and southern New Mexico, the lukewarm sunny winter days could probably be the best time to garden all day long. But the frozen bird baths and the seemingly dead plants are a reminder that the garden earth is resting. So this is the time to think, reevaluate the previous year and plan for the garden in new year. The coming months will quickly go by and soon nurseries will be filled with people and plants.
Learning from the past year and some planning for the year ahead can make a big difference. Here are a few things to think about and things to do:
- 1) Read and learn - Read about soil, how the living organisms in the soil help bring life to the plants and garden. Read about native plants of our region. Get inspiration on how native plant gardens can be beautiful and full of life. Learn about vegetables and fruits that would grow easily in our climate.
- 2) Review which plants performed well last year in any particular location. This may help your decisions for this year.
- 3) Sun and Shade - walk around the outside of your home different times of the day and make a note (write down or take pictures) of the sunny and shaded locations in your yard. Knowledge about winter sun exposure around your house will determine how your winter garden will look next year. Areas that are sunny all day and closer to the house in winter, can be chosen for perennial plants that can bloom in winter with some sun and warmth.
- 4) Decide planting location for vegetables, large bushes and trees based on the soil, sun and wind exposure in different seasons.
- 5) Garden workout - If you're wanting to increase you physical activity, our sunny, mild winter days are the best times for digging holes and making plant beds. Fill the holes and beds with compost and water them once in 2-3 weeks. This will give a head start to enriching the soil underneath. When it is time to plant in spring, just plant in these areas and add some soil if needed.
- 6) Make a list of all the plants you want in your garden - perennials and annuals. Short list the plants that will go in first.
- 7) Online plant shopping - It is in winter that many of the reputable nurseries are taking pre-orders for spring. Because of the pandemic, online plant shopping is a good option but traffic may have increased for some of these online ordering. Therefore planning ahead and pre-ordering may ensure that you will have your plants in spring/summer
- 8) Online seed shopping - review the online seed catalogues and order seeds for spring and summer.