Gardening activities shouldn't end when winter arrives. This is the perfect time to start planning for spring. When all the plants are gone, it's easy to see the framework of your garden and imagine what it might look like in the coming year. Start preparing early and you'll be ready to execute your plan when spring arrives.
Clean and repair your garden tools. Winter is an ideal time for stripping down tools for sharpening, lubricating, removing rust, replacing broken handles and other repair jobs. Inspect hoses and nozzles for any holes or tears. And don't forget to check the lawn mower.
Check out seed catalogs and begin ordering the ones that interest you. Remember to order seeds early as this ensures that you will get the seeds you want.
Take inventory of how much potting soil, mulch, fertilizer and other miscellaneous materials you still have in your garage or shed. Determine which products you can use from last year and which will need to be replaced.
If you haven't already, consider mulching your garden, especially with crushed leaves. The compost will nourish plants' roots and help control weeds.
Get to know your soil. A soil test is one of the best things a gardener can do, and winter is a great time to do it. This will determine if your soil needs a pH or soil acidity adjustment, and now is the time to modify it.
As the weather continues to warm, baby spring weeds will crop up. If left unattended, they will quickly grow come spring. Use a hoe for quick and easy removal.
When the ground has thawed and you're closer to planting, cultivate your garden to aerate the soil and prepare a smooth, loose seedbed. You can tell the soil is ready when a clump of it breaks apart in your hands. If you have a larger garden to prepare, the Troy-Bilt® Colt' FT Garden Tiller, new for 2012, is designed for premium soil preparation. With adjustable tilling widths and the ability to till up to 6 inches deep, it cuts through the ground with ease, resulting in finely tilled, well-aerated soil.