With barometer readings dropping, the December chills are around - and this calls for a beautiful winter garden. Now winter gardens might not be your thing and you might feel how to grow a flourishing garden during the colder months. Relax! You might be surprised to know that the answer to what you can grow during winter is - plenty. Yep, you heard us right. Winters bring you a chance to grow abundant flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Though the cold might intimidate you, the bright weather definitely helps the post-monsoon harvest.
Winter is coming! Are you ready for a winter garden?
ADVANTAGES OF WINTER GARDENS
Go Easy on Fertilizers
Winter gardens are much less work. Since the summer harvest would have ensured that you plow, prune and prepare your soil well, you do not need to put any extra compost or fertilizers in your winter batch. Even if you are just starting with a winter garden, make sure that you don't put a lot of compost or organic matter in the soil and go easy on fertilizers, since a lot of plants go into dormancy during the winter.
Lower Watering Needs
Winters usually bring in rain showers and harsh sunlight. With the dropping temperature, the soil also takes a longer time to dry out. So if you are a forgetful plant parent or cannot keep track of watering schedules, then this is the season for you. Water the plant less frequently during winters due to its prolonged moisture-holding capacity.
Say Goodbye To Pests
With Monsoons being the harbinger of infections and pests, the unfavorable winter months bring a steady decline of the same, with the cold winters and dry weather, mealy bugs and mites get reduced subsequently.
Time For Winter Harvests
A fruitful winter harvest ensures a tasty spring. Yep, winter is the time to plant and sow amazing vegetables that grow and mature and give you fruits all till spring. Vegetable seeds like Cabbage, Cauliflower, Spinach, Peas, carrot, Benas, and Basil - all grow very well in this season.
PROTIP: Winter sun is very harsh. Though it might greatly help your sun-loving varieties, monitor how your plants react to it & adjust accordingly. Make full use of the sun in the mornings, as it is comparatively milder as compared to the afternoon harsh sun.
Check out the Winter Friendly plants collection. Use code WINTER for Flat Rs. 10% Off on the entire collection.
Though your houseplants might not be threatened in a do-or-die situation during winters, ornamental varieties and plants that are much more adapted to contained environments might show some stress signs during winters. Low temperature, dry air, winter rains, evening chills, and short day (which reduces the timeline for light exposure) are just some of the factors that might affect your plants.
3 IMPORTANT TIPS FOR GARDENING IN WINTER
- Clean the Plant
- Make sure to remove dead drying leaves from the soil surface. Not only do they interfere with proper drainage, but can also hold moisture long enough for fungal infections.
- Remove the unwanted weeds, so that the plant receives the nutrition directed to them.
- Deadhead blooms - the pruning will promote growth & enhance the flowering during the summer season.
- Protect the Plant
- Avoid pruning foliage plants - tropical varieties go dormant during winters and excessive or late-season pruning stunts growth. In case you need to prune, remove only about 10-20% of the total foliage.
- If the temperature drops down very low, protect them from frost by moving them indoors.
- Changes in Nourishment
- Water your plants in the mornings instead of evenings. Warm temperatures during the day ensure the water from the surface gets evaporated - as opposed to the stagnant 6-8 hours of water that the plant will sit in if you water in the evening.
- Go easy on fertilizers, especially for the summer varieties or tropical plants. The growing season being summered for these plants means they go dormant in winter, increasing the chances of over-fertilization.
PROTIP: Avoid watering your plants with cold water, use very mild warm to normal temperature water. If the tap water you receive is too cold, then keep it in a bucket overnight or for a few hours in the daytime to bring it back to room temperature. This prevents root shock.
WHAT SHOULD YOU GROW IN WINTER?
- Christmas Specials: Christmas tree, Poinsettia, Golden Cypress
- Flowers: Wishbone, Sweet Williams, Pansy, Petunia, Gerbera, Salvia
- Vegetables: Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower. Spinach, Coriander, lettuce
- Root Vegetables: Carrot, Radish, Onion, Garlic, Beetroot
- Kitchen Herbs: Ajwain, Basil, Rosemary, Mint, Parsley
- Indoor Foliage Plants (most indoor plants can survive through Indian winters)
And there you go - not very intimidating, right? Like gardening in general, Winter gardening is also easier than you think. Ensure you plant your plants with proper potting mix, they get the type of light they need to grow and maintain the watering schedule and you are all set for the long season.