Winter is the best time to plan for the Spring season. Performing maintenance and prepping both your plants and yourself makes for a successful season.

The days are shorter, the wind is cold and plants are dormant. But this is one of the best times to start planning for spring! We should be preparing for another successful season of gardening in winter.

Here are some tips to consider:

• Start by cleaning and sharpening your garden tools so they are ready for spring. Make sure to store your tools indoors to avoid them rusting. Drain garden hoses and store them away to avoid freeze damage. Sharpen hand pruners, loppers, saws, and make sure to oil moving parts.

• Make a note of tools and supplies you will need for the next growing season and get a head start on purchasing them while there are holiday discounts.

• Prepare to prune trees and shrubs during their dormant winter season. Cutting into live tissue during the winter will help prevent the spread of diseases such as fire blight, which is a bacterium that can be spread on pruning tools in warm wet weather.

Removing dead branches in the winter will allow for good wound closure when spring arrives. Make sure you know how to properly prune. Remember, once you cut it off, you can’t glue it back on.

• Scout the landscape for signs of insects and diseases. Look for egg masses on trees and shrubs.

• Plan your vegetable garden for the coming year, keeping in mind the need to rotate crops. Keep a record of your garden plans for each year to see what is growing well and what struggled. Also keep track of varieties of plants you are growing.

• Read seed catalogues to familiarize yourself with new plant varieties and determine which will work for your climate, and site conditions.

•Learn more about gardening by attending Extension…..sponsored workshops or webinars. Yes, you can learn lots sitting at home this winter watching lectures that broadcast live over the internet (webinars) or previously recorded lectures that are archived.

For further information or to find out about different online trainings, contact your local Extension Agent, Rick Thomason at rthomaso@utk.edu or call at (423)-727-8161.

Source: Gardening Prep during the Cold Winter Months from Penn State Extension Service https://extension.psu.edu/gardening-prep-during-the-cold-winter-months