Winter Gardening Guide for the Cleveland, OH Area

    To Cleveland’s avid gardeners, watching winter roll in can be the saddest part of the year. Going from harvesting bundles of juicy tomatoes and bright peppers to watching the snow rapidly cover your lovingly worked beds is a dreary experience for sure.

    However, the off-season does not have to be that bad, even in Ohio’s snowy winters. Here are some ways to keep your green thumb green all through fall and winter.

    Take Care of Your Tools

    Okay, it is not exciting, but every experienced gardener knows it has to be done, and what better time to do it than in the winter? Start by giving each of them a good scrub with a wire brush, followed by a dip in diluted bleach to sterilize them.

    Use turpentine to remove any crusted-on sap and vinegar for rust. Give wood handles a light coating of linseed oil to keep them in good shape for the rest of the winter. Anything with a blade ought to be sharpened, too.

    Use a flat mill file for most of your tools and try to follow the original bevel for the best edge and wipe them down with a little WD-40. Once you are done, hang them neatly in a dry area or, for smaller tools like trowels, keep them in a pot of sand.

    Plan Ahead

    if you have been in the gardening game for a while, you are probably already familiar with the growing charts and frost dates in the area, but even so, now is a great time to refresh your memory.

    Dig out your favorite seed catalogs and start making plans for spring. Charting out bed plans, planting dates, and seed varieties can be a great way to while away the coldest parts of the year.

    Get Inside the Box

    You do not have to stop gardening completely just because it is getting cold out. Try building a couple of cold frames: Simple raised boxes with a clear top to let light in.

    You will not be able to do hot-weather plants, but using a cold frame will allow you to plant lettuce and broccoli and other cold-season veggies for an additional month or two in the fall as well as allowing you to start your spring vegetables extra-early, too.

    Bring It Inside

    Even when snow has shut down any hope of planting outdoors, you can still have something growing inside. An herb garden in a window box will add a fresh touch to all of your meals, and it will give you something to putter around with, too.

    Try parsley, oregano, and chervil, and do not forget the basil for a taste of summer. If you are feeling ambitious, you could even try a bay tree to flavor soups and dress up your living room year-round.

    As you can see, the end of summer does not have to mean an end to your gardening year. With a few of these ideas for keeping your green thumb alive and well, you can look forward to your best winter yet.

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