Your Quick Guide to Winter Gardening

The green lawn surrounded by flower beds and blossoming trees

While you might consider your garden a dormant part of your yard until spring, there are still plenty of ways to give it some much-needed attention in winter. How you go about winter gardening will depend largely on the climate and weather in your region, but here are a few ideas to get you started.

It’s Never Too Early to Start Planning

No matter where you live, you can make planning the backbone of your winter gardening initiative. January happens to be National Mail-Order Gardening Month, so there’s no better time to order new plants and draw up a map for your spring garden. Pinterest has an endless assortment of photos to start for inspiration. From there, we recommend charting your garden with pencil and paper and researching your dream plants to be sure they’re suitable for your region. Now is also a great chance to consider footpaths, fountains, raised beds and more.

Winter Gardening by Growing Zone


In the Southwest U.S., January is a great time to plant. Herbs, cool-season flowers, certain vegetables and bare-root fruit trees are all a great bet. You can revamp your garden or start from scratch by loosening a large patch of soil. You can also start seeds for herbs like calendula, catnip, feverfew and sage, and vegetables like eggplant, melons, peppers and tomatoes.

If you’re in maintenance mode, you’ll need to prune any dormant plants and be mindful of watering patterns. Winter may bring plenty of rain or precipitation could be scarce, so you’ll need to adjust irrigation timers accordingly. You may also need to head off insects.

Gulf Coast/Lower Mississippi/South Atlantic

In the Gulf Coast region, things can heat up fast once the spring and summer months hit. In the winter, when the temperature is more moderate, you’ll likely have great luck with vegetables like spinach, broccoli and peas.

Since weather can be slightly unpredictable in parts of this region of the U.S., it’s best to keep your eye on the 10-day forecast. Each year may bring freezing temperatures, heavy rainfall and even snow. To make the best decision for your garden, you’ll want to keep fabric and row covers on hand in case you need to protect your crops.

Southern Plains/Lower Midwest/Middle East Coast

If you live in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana or Ohio, you’re no stranger to heavy snowfall in winter. Because of the harsh weather, if you weren’t finished planting by early fall, you may have to put some of your gardening plans on hold.

While you may not be sowing any new seeds during the winter months, you’ll need to protect what you have so that it can reach its full potential in the coming year. We recommend draping insulated blankets over crops to keep them safe from snow and ice. If you’d like to take your methods to the next level, you can buy a cold frame—or, if you’re handy, you can DIY one!

Northern Great Plains/North-Central/Great Lakes/New England

In short, see above! With even harsher weather than the Midwest, keeping your garden safe is the name of the game if you live in the New England or Great Lakes area. Temperatures can drop to as low as negative 40 degrees Fahrenheit, so any protection devices you utilize will need to be able to withstand them.

Because snow can blanket every outdoor surface for weeks or even months on end in this region, you may need to make a habit of brushing it off your gardening protection. This keeps your plants from getting crushed and it lets some much-needed light in so your garden can thrive.

Pacific Northwest

If you reside in the Pacific Northwest, you may find yourself mostly limited to planning. But if you’re anxious to get started, try starting seeds indoors. Vegetables and herbs, like peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, and basil are perfect for indoors.

Depending on the temperatures, you may also be able to plant pansies, snapdragons and other cool-season annuals. We recommend waiting till winter is winding up since these species tend to survive best in temperatures 35 degrees Fahrenheit and above.

Call NPI for Your Home Inspection Needs

Any time you need a home inspection, call NPI. We have the knowledge and expertise to inspect the exterior of your home as well as any sheds or outbuildings, ensuring that your property is in peak shape for spring and summer gardening. Find a National Property Inspections inspector in your area today.


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