Spring Fever in my Garden Starts in Winter

Oh the weather outside is frightful, or so the saying goes.  Here in Raleigh, we are not known for much cold weather in the winter, but this year has been different in that regard. We have had a couple of days of snow and several weeks of unseasonably cold weather, with temps getting down to around zero degrees.
Spring Fever in The GardenI don’t know about you, but when it’s been unbearably cold, I really get a good case of spring fever and so do my friends from The Garden Charmer group on Facebook.

This spring fever usually starts with the arrival of seed catalogs. When they start coming, I am like a kid under the tree at Christmas, except that what is under my tree are 2014 seed catalogs.  Their arrival ushers in the promise of another year and spurs me into action with plans for the coming spring.

Seed catalogues for springMy spring project will involve some time outdoors – after all that is where the gardens are.  For each of you that time will vary.  For me, it is a few scattered days in January and many warm ones in February.   Shall we begin spring fever together?  Let’s welcome in the new gardening year, friends, and here we go!

For me getting spring fever in the winter means making good use of the few warm days that we do get here.  I thought I would share some of my gardening tasks that I do in winter when I have had enough and am longing for spring.

I have big plans for my garden for the spring but it’s still too cold to plant much yet.  My big vegetable garden has a lone straggler.  I small row of spring onions that I am still enjoying in my winter recipes.  It seems so lonely all by itself in this huge patch of earth.

spring onionsThe rest of the vegetable patch has nothing in it other than a few weeds.  Now, last year, I just left those and had a mess in the spring, so I am going to till them up and remove them. 

vegetable patch with spring onions and a few weeds.Last year, I had a 1000 sq ft veggie garden in this space.  It was my pride and joy.  I spent weeks and weeks working in it in the early spring last year.

vegetable garden 2013Unfortunately, the squirrels got to most of my tomatoes and corn and then moved on to a many of the other veggies. It was heartbreaking and I don’t plan to go through that again.

My first chore for my spring fever feeling it to actually get down on paper what I am looking for in my garden. There is a great online garden planner that is so much fun to use.  You can find it here.

My plan outline looks like this:  (it’s a far cry from that lonely veggie patch above isn’t it?)Garden bed planI’ve decided to turn my big plot of land into a combined perennial/shrub/vegetable plot,  The vegetables will be scattered here and there throughout the whole area.  I’ll succession plant, but I won’t be planting in rows.  I want the area to look like a perennial garden, but I want to be able to eat from it too.  I will be planting flowers that keep certain animals out and will have walk ways and seating areas.  I can’t wait to get it going.  For now, it’s just making sure the ground is ready.  In a few weeks, it will be selecting some areas for the vegetables that I can plant early.

In the photo above there is a large play house on the right hand side. In front of it is an area where I want a raised garden bed for strawberries. I’ve tried growing them in all sorts of ways.  My friend Tanya from Lovely Greens has a great project for making a raised Strawberry planter made from a pallet.  My husband is sourcing them as I write!

Strawberry planter made from a pallet.

Image shared from Lovely Greens.

I have two German shepherd dogs.  They are a bit of a handful in the garden, but they do seem to stick to paths, so that is why I have all the paths in my plan.  I’m also considering moving the butterfly bushes and silver grass along the fence line forward so they can run behind them to socialize with their buddy next door. Don’t let these pictures of them, being so peaceful, fool you. They are not this well behaved outside!

My Two German Shepherds need room to run

Most garden beds needs some TLC in spring after the heavy rains of winter.  Mine were no exception!  (Check my tips for preparing spring flower beds here.) My test garden also needs some work. Back breaking work.  

I have to hand dig a trench all around the perimeter of it.  Last year the lawn encroached on it and made a mess of the edges.  This won’t happen this year, because that trench is going to be dug long before the grass starts growing.  I actually prefer digging when it is quite cold outside.    The exercise warms me up and I don’t have to keep stopping because of the heat.  This is my progress so far: 

Trench around my test gardenThe irony of this photo is that it was 65 degrees the day I dug this trench and two days later it was covered in snow.  Snow here in NC is quite rare and we got about 4 inches and it stayed cold, so my spring fever had to take a breather.  And not just one snowstorm either.  The snow cleared for a few weeks and we got another blast with about 6 inches. I’m beginning to wonder if I will ever get back to my trench!

trench covered in snow.Other spring fever tasks involve a trip to the garden center.  There are a few things I actually can plant early.  Pansies are available winter round here and will give a bit of color.

See my tips for growing pansies and some ideas for landscaping with them.

pansies from the garden centerI also want a few low growing shrubs along the areas for my pathways.  Those can go in now too.Tulips in my garden bed

And now I wait…for the ground to dry up after the snow so I can do my edge and get rid of the sod, and wait for that first sign of spring in my garden – the arrival of my tulips, even though they are just peeking through the snow right now, wondering if they are in the right state!

10 inspiring cases of spring fever from the Garden CharmersFind out what my friends in The Garden Charmers mean when they talk about spring fever. Each of us has written a post about what it means to us.  You can find their charming ideas about spring fever in these posts:
10 Ways To Catch Spring Fever With The Garden Charmers

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  19 comments for “Spring Fever in my Garden Starts in Winter

  1. Pingback: Planning Ideas for your Vegetable Garden
  2. Amy
    02/23/2014 at 1:30 pm

    Great post Carol. Bring on that #springfever I could use some garden time.

    • admin
      02/24/2014 at 9:06 am

      Me too. I just can’t wait!

  3. 02/23/2014 at 1:36 pm

    Oh, goody! It will soon be time to get gardening again! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • admin
      02/24/2014 at 9:07 am

      Thanks Barb. I actually managed to work in it yesterday. But it’s going cold again later in the week.

  4. 02/23/2014 at 1:39 pm

    Nice Gardens…Love the snow…Lots of things to consider for my Garden…Thankx for sharing:)

    • admin
      02/24/2014 at 9:08 am

      Thanks Judy. We don’t often get snow. I like it (for a few days!)

  5. 02/23/2014 at 2:04 pm

    You have the vegetable garden of my dreams – thanks for sharing it all to get us all some spring fever. Now to have a talk with those squirrels!

    • admin
      02/24/2014 at 9:08 am

      I sure hope they listen to me “talk” this year!

  6. Lynne
    02/23/2014 at 2:14 pm

    I think your new plans for your veggies is a grand idea. Good luck with it:)

    • admin
      02/24/2014 at 9:08 am

      Thanks Lynne. Keep tuned for more updates.

  7. 02/23/2014 at 2:54 pm

    I can’t wait for the updates on your garden reno! It looks amazing 🙂

    • admin
      02/24/2014 at 9:09 am

      Thanks Shelley. I’m very excited about the plan. It’s the first time I have combined vegetables and flowers in one bed.

  8. Pingback: What's Your Garden Name? + Spring Fever - Empress of Dirt

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