But, there are things you can (and should) be doing now even as cold as it is outside.

compostStart Your Compost Pile

If you have not started composting yet, you should be doing that. As a gardener, if you are not composting, you are wasting precious materials and spending money on compost from the store or nursery in the springtime is just a waste of money. Why buy it if you can make it yourself, right? Instead of dumping that waste into the trash can, put it into your compost pile and by spring you should have a nice pile of fresh compost to put on your garden. Find a good area in your yard between the house and the garden where you can throw your waste such as a small fenced area or a trash can with holes in it.

seedsOrder Your Seeds

This may not get you outside or playing in the dirt like you want to do but some gardeners say that ordering the year’s seeds is their favorite part of garden planning. Looking through nursery websites and seed catalogs and deciding on the plants you want to grow this year can be like shopping for Christmas. Fun, exciting, and it gets you ready for planning your garden plan. You can also start drawing out the garden you plan to have this year. When the seeds come, put them in order by the ones you need to plant first and get ready to start those seedlings.

seedlingsStart Those Seedlings

Although you may be one of those people who wait until the last minute and run to the local garden store or nursery to buy seedlings, you may want to grow your own this year. There is nothing more satisfying than starting from scratch and watching your own plants grow from a tiny seed. Start saving small containers such as egg cartons and you can start planting seeds in late January. Depending on what you are wanting to grow this year and what zone you live in, you may want to start even sooner. Check out the calendar from the Old Farmer’s Almanac to determine which zone you are in and when you should start those seedlings.

diggingGo Play in the Dirt

It depends on what zone you live in but it is never too early to start preparing your soil. Of course, if you live in one of the cold zones such as 1-5, you may not be able to do anything but pray. However, if you live in one of the warmer zones such as 6-10, you can get out there and start breaking up the soil when it is not too cold out. Tilling and digging up the soil every year loosens and aerates your ground to prepare it for planting. You can also start working in some compost or manure, along with whatever organic nutrients that your lawn may need.

garden toolsGet Your Tools Ready

Another fun thing to do that is also great preparation for the spring is getting your gardening tools ready. If you do not have a place for your tools yet and you are serious about gardening, it is time to find a spot to call your garden tool area. It can be a small area of the basement or garage or even just part of your patio, but you need to have a specific place to store your tools every year. If you have old, used tools that have seen better days and do not want to go buy new ones, try scrubbing them with a scrubbing pad to remove the dirt and rust. You can even coat them with oil or another type of coating that is safe to use in gardens. Another good tip is to keep them stored in a large bucket of clean sand. This will keep them sharp and rust-free.

bird feederDo Something Extra

You can also do extra things to prepare for your garden such as building a garden trellis or fence for your upcoming spring garden. When it is warm out, you can get outside and pull some of those winter weeds out of the ground like chickweed and wild onions. Prepare for the season by making sure you have plenty of the supplies that you need for the year such as fertilizers and potting soil. Push back any plants that have tried to emerge too soon. In some areas, the perennials may be tricked into thinking it is time to come out before it is time. Do whatever you can to keep them covered until spring. Keep those bird feeders stocked up and clean to keep the birds plentiful. Birds are important to your garden. Just one chickadee can eat up to one thousand bugs a day. Also, add some color to your yard besides flowers such as bright-colored furniture or a big yellow birdbath or statue.

grassPrepare Your Lawn

Keep that lawn well aerated even in the areas where you are not planning to have a garden. After all, you want your whole yard to look great, not just your garden, right? It would look strange if you have a beautiful garden with a dead lawn! So, be sure to aerate and till your lawn and keep it protected over the winter. Do not feed your lawn too early though. If you get it growing before its time, it may end up dead before the spring starts.