It may sound crazy, but it’s actually not too late to do some planting… even outdoors! If your green thumb has an itch to stay busy this winter, we have some suggestions to stay in the gardening game, despite the dropping thermometer.
Milkweed is a plant that requires winter stratification- meaning, the seeds need to be exposed to cold temps in order for them to sprout in the spring. Seeds like those of the milkweed plant have a very hard outer coating that protects them from sprouting prematurely in the event of a February thaw. So by planting your milkweed in the late fall/early winter- after the first frost, but before the ground is completely frozen, you will be allowing the seeds to stratify on their own. Milkweed seeds need simply to be strewn on the ground and mulched by hand with some leaves or straw. This planting timeline requires a lot of patience, but the hungry monarchs will be thanking you come springtime!
Another fun option is to plant an indoor colander spinach garden. Start by finding a cute colander and lining it with a few coffee filters. Next, add potting soil and plant your little spinach seeds approximately 3 inches apart at a depth of an inch and a half. Place your colander garden in a sunny spot and in about a month, you’ll have baby spinach leaves to harvest. As long as you continue to snip the leaves, they’ll grow… just don’t forget to water!
Next time you eat an avocado, save the pit and after a 6-week soak, you will have a little seedling to plant! Start by locating the broad end of your pit- which is the bottom. Poke 3 toothpicks around the center of the pit to form a scaffolding that will hold the it into place as it sits (broadside down) in a mason jar full of water. Make sure to change the water when it starts to discolor, and that the bottom of the pit (and eventually the root) is always completely submerged. After your leafy stem has grown to be roughly 6 inches tall, trim it back to half the height and let it continue to soak until the leaves have returned and it’s height has once again reached 6 inches or more. At this point, it can be transferred to a decorative pot and pruned as you desire. Granted, your tree won’t bear fruit, but you’ll likely feel a sense of accomplishment as you watch it grow over the years… and avocado trees can get pretty tall. Happy planting!