For many areas of the Northern Hemisphere, October means the fall growing season is officially over. Many backyard gardeners gather their last harvest in the early fall and hunker down over the winter months. However, if you’ve been curious about starting a garden for your own family, winter is the perfect time to prepare for a bountiful spring harvest. Here are some things you can do in the colder months to get ready to garden when the weather starts warming back up again.
Plan your planting areas
When you want to start a garden, odds are that you’re not starting from complete scratch. Most aspiring gardeners have an area that may be full of grass or weeds that must be cleared in order to plant anything. Before the weather gets too cold, take advantage of the cooler days to tackle this labor-intensive project. Weeds and grasses often go dormant in the winter, so there’s less chance of them growing back once you dig them up. To preserve your soil’s nutrients over the winter, make sure to mulch over the areas you’ve cleared.
Start your own compost this winter
One benefit of growing your own fresh vegetables is that you save money on providing your family with healthy, organic meals. There’s even more you can do to save money on the initial start-up costs of your garden. You can start your own compost!
Compost is a mix of decomposed organic material that vegetables need in order to grow to their full potential. To make your own: gather fallen leaves, cut up sticks and branches, and kitchen scraps like potato skins in a compost bin, then turn it throughout the winter until it breaks down into a rich brown soil texture. There are even compost bins that are the perfect size for a porch or small apartment kitchen. Most compost is ready in a couple of months, so it will be ready just in time to start your spring seedlings off right.
Do your homework
Though it’s tough to replace learning from experience, you can still research all you can about gardening before you even put a seed in the ground. There are lots of resources available to future gardeners. In the US, a call to your local extension office is the perfect place to start. They will give you specific information on soil types found in your area, what plants grow best, common pests and ideal times to plant your different crops. You can even find helpful videos on YouTube, and groups of fellow gardeners on social media.
Once you’ve cleared your land, prepared your compost, and read all the gardening info you can, Spring will be right around the corner and you’ll be ready to grow a beautiful garden! Soon, you’ll be enjoying fresh-grown veggies from your very own backyard.