Gardening in Winter?

Old fashion radish, watermelon and onion seed packets
One benefit to retirement is a senior’s ability to focus on activities they may not have had as much time for previously. Golf, ceramics, travel and gardening are just some of the possible undertakings that retired people can enjoy. For those who have developed a green thumb later in life, winter may seem like a letdown with the ground too hard, the temperature too cold and the days too short. While there may be less to do, there’s still plenty to keep a gardener occupied during the winter months in Florida.

January can be a busy month for the diligent gardener. Take this time to work fertilizers and compost into outdoor planting areas so plants won’t be burned when planted in the spring. Then reward yourself with some lighter work such as ordering and starting seeds. But don’t plant outdoors until the danger of frost has passed.

Winter months are also a great opportunity to clean and organize garden tools, sharpen tool cutting edges, and clean and sterilize all empty pots and containers. This last action will help prevent virus and disease damage to new plantings.

A final winter chore for the Florida gardener is the pruning of roses and crepe myrtles. Make sure to use clean, sharp tools; and make your cuts at a 45-degree angle. Do not prune or destroy any plants that suffer frost damage in the winter. Plants can be resilient, so wait until new foliage begins to show in spring before cutting damaged plants back.

After you complete these tasks, sit back and enjoy your gardening magazines; spring will be here soon and gardening will be more time consuming. The rewards of gardening make all the work worthwhile.

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