Get Into Your Garden

— Written By and last updated by Elisabeth Purser
en Español / em Português

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Now that days are getting a little longer, consider getting outside this month into your garden. Did you know that gardening can help you beat the winter blues or depression? A study done for Gardeners World magazine showed that there are not only physical benefits from gardening, but also psychological benefits as well. 80% of the 1500 hundred gardening folks surveyed said they were happy, which is much higher than for those who are not gardeners. People who garden actually may get more exercise as they may work harder than they do when doing aerobic exercise because they don’t perceive gardening to be as hard. I know that I tend to stay indoors more in winter than I do in the warmer months of the year. Pick a day that is on the warmer side and get outside for some winter gardening and get a little color in your cheeks! 

Wooden handled stainless steel garden hand trowel and hand fork tools standing in a vegetable garden border with green foliage behind with a blue sky.

Late winter is a good time to evaluate deciduous trees and shrubs in your landscape for structural pruning needs. Look for broken, crossing or rubbing branches. The best time to prune most deciduous plants is during their dormant period. Late winter or early spring, before bud break, is a good time to prune many species because callus tissue forms rapidly. When pruning flowering trees, be mindful of when they flower. Spring flowering trees like dogwood, crabapple, and magnolias form buds on old wood so should be pruned after they flower in the spring. Others, such as crape myrtle, form flower buds in spring, so should be pruned in early spring. 

If you didn’t clean your garden tools in the fall, it’s not too late. Remove soil with a brush and then remove any rust using steel wool. Sharpen tools with appropriate files or sharpeners. Once clean and sharp, wipe with a clean rag and oil any exposed metal with tool or machine shop oil.

Take advantage of the occasional warmer sunny day to get out in the garden, tidy up, and get a bit of fresh air and exercise.