Gardens | Outdoor Living | Outdoors

How to Start a Garden in the Middle of Winter

How to Start a Garden in the Middle of Winter is sponsored by Troy Bilt.

As winter approaches, many people begin to feel a sense of dread and depression. The days grow shorter and colder, and the holidays seem to only magnify the stress and anxiety people are already feeling. However, there is hope! Gardening can be a great way to boost your mental health in winter. And I’ve teamed up with Troy Bilt and Jason Phillips, amental health expert, to explore winter gardening and its health benefits in a winter edition of Fence Talks.

What is Fence Talks?

Fence Talks is an advice series where experts from different backgrounds come together to tackle the most common yard headaches, and provide tips and solutions to help make yardwork the best work. 

My Gardening Experience

I started getting into gardening last year when we were all home for the most part and glued to the television as a way of getting out of the house and destressing. I had no clue what to expect because outside of a few pots of herbs on my back deck, I had never really done any gardening.

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The outcome was amazing! I actually grew squash and tomatos… A lot of tomatos. Hahaha.

I felt amazing and couldn’t wait to check on the progress every day. It bought joy evey time I’d find a new blossom or shoot. It literally saddened me as we moved into the fall months and temperature. So then I asked myself… Why am I stopping?

The Benefits of Gardening

I struggle with getting it together especially in December and January when it’s darker longer and cold outside. My energy is low and I lack motivation.  In the past I’ve always refered to it as my winter blues. But here’s what I learned from my conversation with Liscensed Therapist, Jason Phillips:

Winter blues while real is not a medical diagnosis, it describes the feelings of sadness and low energy once the seasons change around fall. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) represents more intense feelings of sadness, low mood, sleep problems, and loss of interest in activities and is diagnosed by a medical professional.  For some, our bodies thrive with sunlight and Vitamin D. With the cold weather our motivation to be productive can hinder us from being outdoors, going places, and entices us to stay in the bed longer because it temporarily feels good. 

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Gardening would give you a chance to pour into a hobby that you can watch grow. Noticing the progress on your garden is very healing and therapeutic because it gives you a sense of responsibility and accomplishment.The purpose can be empowering and boost your mood which in turn reduces feelings of depression or anxiety.

Gardening allows you to focus which reduces racing thoughts and improves your mental health and wellness. Gardening pulls you outdoors which will help in a myriad of ways. Being outdoors connects you with nature, gives you opportunity to converse with others, and you have something to take care of outside of yourself.

Gardening in the Winter

I started doing research and found gardening is possible in the winter months, even in my area of the north east. I will reconstruct one of my raised garden beds to allow winter growing by adding a cold frame. I’ve looked at a couple of structures for inspiration. This one I really liked from HGTV for its simplicity. While this cold frame from Cedar Cold Frames gives my greenhouse vibes. At the end of the day I will probably combine elements from both styles.

I will attempt to grow broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, and collards. I’m even considering starting an aeroponic garden inside to continue growing tomatoes.

What If I’m Not Successful?

What if my winter garden is a complete failure. Would that negatively effect my mental health? Jason says, “Be careful how you measure your success. Success is not necessarily on how fruitful your garden is but more so how you can remain consistent with an activity that helps give you purpose and routine. If you tend to be hard on yourself, be mindful of how much you plant and the type of plants you choose for your garden.”

This advise resignated with me. I can be very hard on myself. And it’s important to remember it’s not about the actual plants that grow that make this experience fruitful. The benfit is in the process.

Follow My Winter Gardening Journey

Gardening for winter wellness might sound impossible to some, but there are plenty of resources out there that will help get started! So Let’s Get Dirty!

For more gardening ideas check out:

DIY Raised Bed Garden with Cover

22 Creative Container Garden Ideas

Indoor Vertical Herb Garden

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