All Things Gardening forum: The winter lull

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Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
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Jai_Ganesha
Dec 18, 2016 11:23 PM CST
I am originally from Kentucky but I currently live in Pennsylvania.

In Kentucky my roses would bloom until November or sometimes December. Due to the urban heat island effect sometimes the roses in downtown Louisville would even bloom into February.

Here (rural western Pennsylvania) they are all dead in October.

In Kentucky I could grow kale and cold weather crops sometimes all year long. Here, once again the possibilities end in October.

I find this very difficult. In fact, I find it more difficult than probably is reasonable.

For those of you who live in an area with a very long winter, how do you stay sane and alive?
Keep going!
Name: Sue Taylor
Northumberland, UK
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kniphofia
Dec 18, 2016 11:34 PM CST
I'm from Northern England and spent 10 years in Maine, the winters there were unlike anything I'd ever seen. Snow in November which lasted until sometimes April. My birthday is in March and I always celebrated it with daffodils in bloom everywhere, over there there wasn't a sign of green for months. I found it very difficult. There were so many of my favourite plants that simply weren't hardy there. I've now been home for almost 10 years and am thankful for that. I just had to concentrate on indoor plants during the winters and plan for the Spring. Good luck!
Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
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Jai_Ganesha
Dec 19, 2016 12:33 AM CST
Yeah. It is the same with me. I don't know how people can withstand this for a lifetime. I feel like I am being a wuss by complaining but it really does seriously affect me negatively.

It is not seasonal affective disorder or as much as it is a general underlying sense of unease at the long and tedious winter.
Keep going!
[Last edited by Jai_Ganesha - Dec 19, 2016 12:36 AM (+)]
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Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Dec 20, 2016 11:03 AM CST
House plants do help. And seed starting is what maintains my alleged sanity during the long winters here. Do you have an indoor spot you could devote to seed starting? My greenhouse is damaged and can't be repaired till the snow is gone, so I'm looking around for a suitable spot indoors myself.
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Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
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plantmanager
Dec 20, 2016 11:25 AM CST
If you have some extra space, you could get a grow tent and a high intensity LED Grow light. I got mine from Mars Hydro. They come in all sizes, and you can have blooming plants all winter. When they look nice, they come out to be in our living areas. While they are growing, they're hidden. It works really well for plants that need higher humidity than the normal house can supply.
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Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Dec 20, 2016 11:39 AM CST
Jai_Ganesha said:For those of you who live in an area with a very long winter, how do you stay sane and alive?


When I lived in the cold climate I would spend the winter months planning the garden for the next year - drawing plans, deciding how to rotate crops, ordering seeds and researching new plants - each year we planted something we had never grown before. One year kohlrabi (yuck) one year peanuts (big hit with the neighborhood kids) one year sweet potatoes, etc. This kind of thinking gives us something to look forward to.

Plus there are non-garden related activities such as sewing/quilting. And lots of baking - baking helps to feed the crew and keeps the house nice and warm - plus baked goods are always a welcome gift when visiting friends. Thumbs up

Other winter activities - photography and bird watching, especially near the sea shore.

Now that I live in a warm climate...whew... Sighing! There is no "down time". Always have to do some kind of work outside. There are mosquitoes inside the house a week before Christmas!!! I sure do miss the long, cold weeks of winter up north.

Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
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Weedwhacker
Dec 20, 2016 5:11 PM CST
I agree with everything in Greene's post -- this year we were able to continue working outside and doing cleanup and other yard and garden chores until the early part of December. Then it was time to think about getting out the Christmas decorations and mailing out cards, doing some baking... oh -- and house cleaning, which always gets pretty neglected during the summer here. Once we get past the holidays I start seriously checking the seed catalogs and ordering what I need for next year's garden, work on my garden layout for the coming year, and do a summary of the past gardening season in my garden notebook. I have lots of books on my Kindle (and get free ones all the time via BookBub), so I read. I also do a little knitting and sewing, and this year I'm thinking about doing a couple of online classes for drawing, which is something I did a lot of years ago. I also make photobooks -- I've been doing one for the current year every winter for a while now, plus at least one with older photos; I'm just about done with the older digital ones that are on my computer and want to start scanning some of our older photos that are in a very disorganized state. By February I begin starting seeds for the garden, and that continues right through the time that I can start planting outside -- usually by April I can plant some hardy things, and by mid to late April I can start putting tomato plants in my unheated hoophouse.

Sometimes winter actually seems too short to me! Hilarious!
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Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
Dec 20, 2016 5:52 PM CST
greene said:
Now that I live in a warm climate...whew... Sighing! There is no "down time". Always have to do some kind of work outside. There are mosquitoes inside the house a week before Christmas!!! I sure do miss the long, cold weeks of winter up north.


?!?

I would be very happy with zero frost...

I absolutely do not miss the cold....

It snows some years here... I walk around taking lots of pics before it melts... and I'm thrilled when that cold stuff is gone in a few hours...

How to not go nutz with cabin fever in the long winter months?

Have you considered a trip south?


Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
Container Gardener Region: West Virginia Multi-Region Gardener Garden Photography Amaryllis Zinnias
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Jai_Ganesha
Dec 20, 2016 8:55 PM CST
Thanks everybody. I do have some LED grow lights and some fluorescent grow lights with plants under them. And it does help somewhat.

I work in emergency medicine so I can't really take time off very easily without a lot of notice.

Next winter, though, I am probably going to take a winter vacation to someplace warmer!
Keep going!
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Dec 22, 2016 7:10 PM CST
Jai_Ganesha said:
Next winter, though, I am probably going to take a winter vacation to someplace warmer!


That is a great idea!!! Someplace warm. Hurray!

Feel free to laugh at me when I tried to do that same thing. I just naturally assumed that Arizona was a hot place. So when my vacation was postponed from December to February I figured Arizona would be nice. *Blush* Nice and cold. Crying It was 29 degrees at night and I almost froze to death in my sleeping bag. Rolling on the floor laughing
Please research the warmer place so you don't end up with frozen toes and chattering teeth like I did.


Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
Container Gardener Region: West Virginia Multi-Region Gardener Garden Photography Amaryllis Zinnias
Gardens in Buckets Annuals Houseplants Plant and/or Seed Trader Birds Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Jai_Ganesha
Dec 22, 2016 10:16 PM CST
Florida is always warm and full of mosquitoes, lizards, and alligators.
Keep going!
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
Dec 23, 2016 7:58 AM CST
greene said:

I just naturally assumed that Arizona was a hot place.

So when my vacation was postponed from December to February I figured Arizona would be nice. Nice and cold. It was 29 degrees at night and I almost froze to death in my sleeping bag.

Please research the warmer place so you don't end up with frozen toes and chattering teeth like I did.

Whereabouts in AZ did you go camping?
I camped in AZ one year in Feb for like a month.... I thought it was great!
But.... I was south of tombstone....

If you were up in the 4 corners area, it would be a lot colder.

in the desert, it gets cold at night.... Even in the summer!

With no humidity, the temp drops like a rock when the sun goes down.

Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
My dogs love me; some people don't.
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greene
Dec 24, 2016 5:34 PM CST
stone said:
Whereabouts in AZ did you go camping?



I kept a notebook so when I locate it I can give you a better answer but all I remember is that it was a desert. That was another thing...I always thought that a desert was hot place. D'Oh! The longer I live, the more I learn. Rolling on the floor laughing
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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woofie
Dec 24, 2016 5:48 PM CST
Ha! Somewhere in my old photos, I have pictures taken in the snow in the Mojave Desert in CA. Froze my toes off! Hilarious!
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: aud/odd
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
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Cinta
Dec 26, 2016 10:01 PM CST
I use to plan two vacation a year in the winter. I was on a tropical island on a beach every Jan and March. I am not working so I just enjoy curling up with a good book in front of the fireplace or binge watching a tv show everybody was talking about that I did not have time to watch because I was gardening in the summer.
Name: aud/odd
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Cinta
Dec 27, 2016 8:41 PM CST
woofie said:Ha! Somewhere in my old photos, I have pictures taken in the snow in the Mojave Desert in CA. Froze my toes off! Hilarious!


I would love to see that one. Rolling on the floor laughing

I am not a rough it kind of girl. Roughing it for me would be staying at a Holiday Inn for one night. I was a girl scout and was a scout leader and always managed to work myself out of any thing that looked like I was not going to have all the comforts of home. At a young age I knew I would not survive rough. *Blush*

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