And Now We Have Winter…

Well, I guess I’ve been rather remiss with my writing here haven’t I? Particularly when you take into account that my last post was titled, “Building soil in the fall,” and today (at the time of writing) is the first day of winter. It never ceases to amaze me that, regardless of the season, it always seems there’s so much to do.

Spring presents it’s priorities with its usual sense of urgency. Digging, prepping, sprouting and planting hit like a maelstrom to start the growing year. This is the time of projects for us as well; a time to actuate the plans we have for the garden and our home. Next, summer creeps on us, sometimes lazily and sometimes all at once, bringing its flurry of activity and its own urgency. Plants and animals need tending from the heat, fruits are ripening, harvests need to be made and preserves put up for the year. The third course of our seasonal feast is fall, a personal favorite. It’s an interesting time in the garden in autumn. Most plants are beginning to die off while others are being reborn in the cool days. In our climate, fall is when we tuck the garden in for its winter nap. A time to say “Goodnight, see you next year,” and that means lots of labor at times in and of itself, building compost piles with the spent plants, prepping animal shelters for the coming winter and harvesting the last of the year’s plants.

And now we have winter…

Now there’s nothing to do, right? The garden’s asleep, tucked in for the year. Nothing to start yet since it’s too early. On the contrary! Winter is a critical time in our garden, perhaps one of the most critical. It’s when we sit down and assess our successes and failures of the last year. We update our garden journals with the wealth of information from the rest of the year and begin to picture what we see for the next one.

This is critical time to sit by the fireplace, or cuddle a little close to your loved one on a cold winter night and let your imagination run wild with the ideas for the next year. What new plants will you try? What goals do you have? How will you work the rotations for the year? Do you have any big projects planned for next year? If so, are there plans to be made, drawing and sketches to create?

I guess I see winter, not so much as a period of rest, but as a period of growth that’s not seen outwardly until much later, and I try to treat it as such. I’m not resting, I’m preparing. I’ve enrolled myself in a winter session of the Master Gardeners course, I’m working on the plans and ideas that I’ll put into action soon after the new year, and I’m planning my seed orders and starting to picture in my mind what my garden will look like this year. Plans change as we go on, of course, but the important thing is to have a destination in mind and now’s the time to start working on our map to that destination.


You can reach Paul Gardener by email, or check his personal blog at A posse ad esse.

Published on Dec 22, 2008

Grit Magazine

Live The Good Life with GRIT!