We know it’s only January—and chances are that even in the warmest parts of the country it’s still too cold to do any spring planting—but there are lots of ways to prepare for the new growing season, and it’s really never too early to start. Not only does a little forethought ensure that you’re organized and ready when the thaw finally arrives, but pre-planning your garden is also a great way to get a little bit of a lift during the cold, dark days of winter.
So think spring and check out this list of garden tasks you can do right now:
- Draw up a scale plan of your yard and gardens so you can plan your annual, perennial and vegetable beds; and determine if your yard has room for any new shrubs or trees. There are some great online resources to help you out, including Garden Design Exposed and How Stuff Works.
- Think about what worked in your garden last year, and what didn’t. You might want to just start all over with a brand new plan, or do a little research and try to figure out why those tomatoes failed (too much water? Too little sun?), or what happened to that bed of roses (black spot? Aphid infestation?). Check out the Missouri Botanical Garden website for solutions to common garden problems.
- Order some seed catalogues so you can start dreaming and planning. Visit
About Home for a list of 72 free seed catalogues.
- Once you’ve scoured those catalogues, place an order for any seeds you’d like to try planting this year. If you’re going to sow the seeds indoors before the end of winter, check out this handy how-to guide from
Organic Gardening. If the seeds you choose can be sown outside after the last frost, check out these tips from Gardeners’ World.
- Take stock of your gardening tools. Make a list of any tools that need to be replaced, repaired or sharpened so you’re not caught off guard on that first warm day in April.
- Make a garden budget to determine how much you can afford to spend on plants and supplies this year. For 12 great tips for landscaping on a budget, visit Better Homes and Gardens, and check out Microsoft for a handy garden budget template to help you keep track of your expenses.
If you’re still craving the warmth and greenness of spring, check out the indoor exhibits at your local botanical gardens or wander through your favorite nursery for a little inspiration and expert advice. It might just tide you over until those first buds appear!