Planting in the Winter

It is around this time every winter that I really start to miss planting. It has really only been about a month since last the shovel met the soil (trees went in the week after Thanksgiving), but I am really starting to miss it now that the days are lengthening a bit and cabin fever is starting to settle in. It's like a slow awakening to spring that ignores winter as if it is simply an annoyance to wade through.

Frozen Plants at A Nest for All Seasons with Amy Renea

Once the ground is frozen solid though, outdoors is not an option. If you have a wee bit of light though (or can hang some lighting from a shelf), you can absolutely get a little planting in these long days of winter. Here are two of my "tide me over" planting strategies.

Cuttings

If you brought in a few plants from the porch at the end of summer, they are probably starting to look a little scraggly. This is the time of year that I trim up those plants, making sure to get 6-8" pieces to use as cuttings. Sweet potato vine, in particular, does very well with a fresh start. The roots will grow in the water and make for a pretty addition to the kitchen sink for weeks and weeks. They can be discarded, sometimes planted into a pot again or planted out in spring. Your choice.

Growing Cuttings in Water at A Nest for All Seasons with Amy Renea

I've also gotten the chance to test a new watering system for cuttings and thus far, it has worked out well for coleus and sweet potato vine cuttings. ( Southern Patio Self-Watering Pot Insert - see below) The cuttings are not actively putting on a lot of new growth, but they are holding steady, which is more than I can say for the declining sweet potato vines in my other pots at the moments (those have turned mainly into cuttings now!)

Self Watering Southern Patio Pot Insert at A Nest for All Seasons with Amy Renea

Self Watering Southern Patio Pot Insert at A Nest for All Seasons with Amy Renea

The idea is simple - a basin of water sits in the middle of a pot with a wicking rope 
running out to the opposite side of the pot. A tube allows you to add water to the basin when needed.

Self Watering Southern Patio Pot Insert at A Nest for All Seasons with Amy Renea

I have only run into one problem and that is when I overwater (it is a habit -- i DO try to quit). Since the watering system keeps the underground soil fairly moist, when I water from above (I need not) excess comes rushing out from the drainage hole of the pot quickly and sometimes makes a mess. If I would simply trust the watering system, this would not be an issue.

Bulbs

My second strategy for dealing with the long days of planting-less winter is to buy up fall bulbs on clearance and start planning spring baskets and pots. If the ground can be worked, I can toss a few into the ground as well, but typically by the new year, these clearance bulbs aren't going to be sunk into the garden. Instead, I pile them into planters (tightly for a good show!), cover with soil, lightly water and leave them in the basement to chill. Periodically throughout the winter, and then mores as spring starts whispering, baskets and pots are brought into the light, watered and the flower show begins! I sometimes have enough blooms to make little May Day gifts from these baskets.

Planting Fall Bulbs for May Day Baskets at A Nest for All Seasons with Amy Renea

Happy Planting!

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Comments

Jenny H. said…
Thanks for the tips on the bulbs. I was JUST talking to my husband about the bulbs that I have in the garage that didn't get planted before winter hit. I think I'll pot them up in containers as you suggest and see what happens. :-)
Amy Renea said…
Send pictures when they bloom Jenny!@! :)

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