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Winter Gardening Checklist

KUNC's Erin O'Toole

Don’t let the cold weather keep you from improving your garden. According to KUNC Gardener Tom Throgmorton, there’s plenty to do this winter season -- from planning for spring to taking care of some important odds and ends.

Over the next few weeks we’ll have some cold weather. If you’re not playing in the snow and cold, there are some gardening things to do.

Folks in the High country know this is the time to research for spring. Go on the web and find new or different plants for the landscape. Check out local garden center web sites for their new offerings. Look at regional universities or organizations, like Plant Select, for their new suggestions.

On cold, snowy days check out seed catalogs. Some companies keep their seed listings on the web. Some send out colorful, informative catalogs. I like reading about the culture and growing for flowers and veggies. A cold evening can be a learning experience. 

In the mountains gardening has moved inside. This is a good time to start an inside herb garden. Many savory herbs like sage, rosemary and thyme grow in a sunny window. They can be used fresh in winter cooking. In the spring, plant them into the garden. 

Cultivate other house plants. Transplant plants that have out-grown their pots now that the days are getting longer. With more sun they will grow new roots and shoots. Pick a new pot that is an inch or two wider than the old container. Don’t jump to a much bigger pot or the plant will take a long time to root in. 

Buy some new house plants. Garden centers are having winter sales. Pick plants healthy colored leaves. Check them over to be sure they don’t have bugs hiding to come into your home. Ask your local experts about care for the plants you buy.  Create an indoor landscape with your new plants.

Over the next few weeks we’ll have some warm weather, too. Get outside on a sunny day for some vitamin D. One sunny day can chase away a week of clouds.  Wander around the garden to plan for spring. 

Warm days are great for dormant season pruning. Thin out shrubs so more light and air gets into the plant. Don’t thin or prune spring flowering shrubs like lilacs.  You will only cut off flower buds.  Prune them after they bloom. 

Prune trees to improve their structure. Cut branches growing in towards the center of the plant.  Prune off broken or dead branches.  I’m still finding broken branches from the heavy snows from over a year ago. 

There is always something fun to do in the garden.


Tom has been offering garden advice on KUNC for almost two decades. During that time he has been the wholesale sales manager at Ft. Collins Nursery, Inc. Since January of 2005 he has been the owner and operator of Throgmorton Plant Management, LLC., a landscape installation and maintenance company as well as a horticultural consulting firm. He lives in northern Ft. Collins with his wife and two kids.
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