By Katie Hamlin

December’s Tip

A crucial aspect of December gardening is staying ahead of the winter frost and successfully beating the cold. Simple steps to take when faced with dropping temperatures include watering the plants prior to the frost and after the frost has occurred; utilize frost protection covers; and build a shelter around fragile plants. When planning a December garden, look for bare-root trees. These trees are bargains at local nurseries and the cool winter growing conditions help them thrive. When potting plants look for seasonal plants that complement the chilly scenery. Pansies, snapdragon, calendula, dianthus, and voila are excellent choices for winter.

January’s Tip

January is the month for planting trees and shrubs. Container-grown trees, shrubs, perennial herbs, and flowers are wonderful garden options for within one month of the last frost date. For extra help on determining frost dates, last frost zone maps are available online to accurately and consistently track cool winter conditions. If growing warm season annual plants is top priority, growing tomatoes, marigolds, zucchini, basil, and more is a possibility with the inclusion of an indoor garden. Pruning in January is key, when flowering trees and shrubs have stopped blooming they must be pruned after a month of inactivity.

February’s Tip

Let love and plants bloom in February. Just before the beginning sightings of spring, as a gardener it is important to take advantage of the opportunity to plant outside and inside. Bare-root stock is a key player during February. Soil temperatures must move beyond freezing temperatures to plant fruit trees, roses, berries, and grapes, However, if soil temperatures remain frozen, getting a head start on cool-season vegetables is a fantastic alternative for the concluding winter garden. Begin vegetable seeds indoors, including Brussels sprouts, broccoli, lettuces, and onions. These seeds can be planted six weeks prior to moving outdoors.