Texas Living

Top 10 Winter Garden Ideas

By Jillian Kring 1.1.22

Just because the air is dry and cold doesn’t mean your gardening habits need to be put on hold. There are plenty of winter-gardening techniques that will keep you busy and your soil healthy. Here are some winter garden ideas to keep your garden healthy and green throughout our coldest months.

1. Think Regionally

Texas has five gardening regions. Check your region to learn when you need to plant your winter garden plants to have them ready for spring. Depending on your region, you can plant plenty in January; Regions IV and V can typically plant the earliest and Region I last.

2. Watch the Forecast

Being mindful of the winter forecast in your region is important for preparations. In North Texas, which sees colder temperatures, you should place mulch or straw over plants and crops. In other regions, mulch is perfect for when the forecast is colder or drier than usual. If winter is looking particularly frosty, consider building or installing a protective structure like a cold frame.

winter garden ideas

3. Cover up Before Storms

If a winter storm is on the horizon, take care to protect your plants. Cover shrubs, perennials, and even evergreens with burlap when high winds are expected.

4. Water on Warmer Days

Make sure to water plants several times a month when the temperature is above 45 F, especially when the climate is dry.

5. Water in the Morning

Along the same vein, always water winter plants in the morning — temperatures drop to their lowest during the night, so watering early will help protect roots from freezing at bedtime.

6. Invite Birds

Birds are excellent friends to a winter garden, so consult our birdfeeder guide to learn how to attract them to your yard. If you’re lucky, your home will become a beautiful crossroads for all kinds of migrating birds.

7. Save Roots from Freezes

Winter plants can withstand frosts as low as approximately 26-28 F; however, while root vegetables can withstand a light frost, they should be harvested before the ground is completely frozen.   

winter garden ideas

8. Meet Our Top 21 Winter-Weatherers

Plants that thrive in mid-winter months include:

  • Cruciferous Veggies: Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, and radishes
  • Greens: Arugula, kohlrabi, mustard greens, spinach, and Swiss chard
  • Herbs: Chives, dill, parsley, rosemary, and sage
  • Root vegetables: Beets, carrots, garlic, onions, and turnip

9. Winter Flowers

Snapdragons and pansies are hardy flowers that can survive the occasional frost. With the added protection of mulch and shredded pine needles, these flowers will thrive and add a beautiful touch to your winter garden.

10. Prepare for Spring

Since winter gardening is restricted more than other seasons, now is a great time to catch up on neglected gardening chores that you will have less time for during the busier gardening seasons. Take some extra time to catch up now and you will be in great shape for springtime planting!

If you’re feeling fruity, check out our winter guide to planting fruit trees.

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