Winter can be a very harsh season. It’s a time when the clouds roll in and so does the rain, and the temperatures drop and hardly anyone wants to be outside to feel it. It’s a time when the days are short and the nights are long, and everyone wants to be inside where it’s cozy, light, and warm. All in all, winter is a great season for the homebody, but not a great season for anyone who loves to get to work in their garden!
But why is that, exactly? If we have to wait until spring again, when there’s a much better chance to get your seeds to flower, what causes such a long wait? Of course, you could get to planting some winter seeds, but let’s dive a little deeper into this investigation in the meantime!
It’s Much Colder Outside!
It’s the big thing about winter; the wind blows cold and the sky is dark and dreary, and we’re likely to catch a case of the sniffles whilst we’re at it. If it’s so cold the ground is freezing, there’s no way you’re going to be able to dig it up effectively, let alone plant anything in it.
Plant roots tend to break when they freeze, and when a plant moves to chase the sun as it disappears quickly behind the clouds during this time of the year, it might just cut off its own nutrient supply.
A Lack of Sunlight
Speaking of – the sun tends to go down in the early afternoon during the winter period, depending on where you are in the world. But even in the mildest of climates, it can be hard to find enough light in the day to plant anything worthwhile! And seeing as plants need sunlight in order to make their own food, there’s a good chance they’re not going to thrive for very long under these harsh conditions.
Of course, there are ways around this – using artificial light. But not just any kind of light will do, you’re going to need a special type of plant grow light to make sure your plants still feel the effects of the sun. Make sure you have incandescent bulbs at the very least; these are usually good for houseplants who don’t need too much light anyway.
The Ground Goes Hard and Dry
As we briefly mentioned, when the ground freezes, it goes hard. That’s difficult to work with, especially when trying to water or irrigate the soil. Frozen soil tends to promote an increase in runoff, and that’s no good for any plant you’re trying to grow in your own backyard! Of course, you’re not going to be dealing with layers of permafrost, so you can easily reduce the risk of frozen ground with thick layers of mulching material; this helps to warm the soil up.
Winter is difficult for a variety of weather reasons, but for garden planting, these reasons can be the absolute worst.