This post comes with the proviso that your daytime winter temperatures are above freezing. If they’re below I think behaving like a bear is probably more appropriate…but then what do I know never having experienced that sort of winter.
1. It gets you outside. I feel better when I spend time outdoors but sometimes in winter it can be hard find a reason to be there. I tend to exercise at the gym/pool because they have childcare. Social events tend to be indoors, the lure of the TV and couch are strong, even Etihad Stadium shuts its roof so it can be hard to find time to be outside. Gardening provides both the need and the motivation to put on a jumper or two and get dirty.
2. Far fewer pests – The cabbage white butterflies have gone away, the aphids are in reasonable numbers, the leaf miners don’t seem as bad and the all those little green sap sucking bugs that I don’t know the names of have moved on. But best of all you don’t get attacked by mozzies whilst harvesting your evening salad. Mozzies are mosquitoes for those of you who don’t insist on shortening every word and adding an ‘ie’ on the end as we Aussies do.
3. Brassicas & Broad Beans – There are some crops that just grow better in winter (provided you’re gardening in a temperate climate). Most brassicas for instance are far better suited to winter than summer growing. Ditto parsley, chervil and best of all – broad beans. If you don’t garden in winter then you’d miss two of the best things about home grown – freshly picked broccoli and broad beans. Yum! (Incidentally the above photo was taken last year – my plants are nowhere near that big yet.)
4. Flowering natives – A huge variety of Australian natives flower in winter. Eremophilas, Correas, Pimeleas, Grevilleas, and Hardenbergias all have varieties which produce beautiful blooms in winter, and there are many more. Getting in amongst them and weeding, tiding and ensuring they look their best is one of the most rewarding parts of winter gardening.
5. Preparation– If you want good summer crops this is the time to start preparing some of your beds. Both Louise at Garden Glut and Andrea at Harvest with Glee have started their tomato bed preparation and have some great advice. Louise favours: “stripping all the leaves off the brassicas that are finished and spreading them over the soil, adding any spent snow pea straw, adding compost or manure and then topping with grass clipping and letting it stew for a good while.” Whilst Andrea keeps: “adding leaf mulch, grass clippings, chook and horse manure and turning it over every now and then”. Whatever your secret of success is winter is probably the time to apply it.
Winter not your thing? Then head over to The New Goodlife and find out why we should all be vegetarian.