Garden Chores for Warm Winter Days

It's not quite time to start planting, but there are still plenty of garden chores to do outside when the sun shines in winter.

70 degree days in February? This winter has had them in a lot of places! Those are the kinds of days that make you eager to get out and get your hands in the soil, but logic tells you some snow and cold are still ahead. Since it’s a little too early to set out new plants, try these garden chores instead.

Garden ChoresPhotoSGH/Shutterstock
PhotoSGH/ Do your tools need some TLC?

Spring-cut Ornamental Grasses. The graceful waving blades of ornamental grasses look lovely covered in winter’s ice and snow. But come spring, it’s time to cut back the old foliage to make way for the new. This is one of the best garden chores for warm days in winter, since some grasses start putting on new growth as soon as spring arrives. Cut them to about 1/3 of their height, as new growth will cover the old bases in no time. This may also be the time to start considering whether you’d like to divide and spread any of your grasses this year. The time to do so depends on the type, but you can make your plans now. For more on spring-cutting and dividing ornamental grasses, click here.

Organize the Shed. (Or garage, or cabinet, or wherever your garden tools live.) Maybe you did a great job of putting all your tools away last fall, and everything is tidy and neat. But if cold weather caught you off guard, you may have just flung everything in to be dealt with later. Now’s the time to pull everything out. Sweep the floor. Get rid of mostly-empty bags of soil, fertilizer, or pesticides (be sure to follow local guidelines for disposing of the latter safely). Check the tires on your wheelbarrows and garden carts. Empty and sterilize old pots. You get the idea. Chances are good there are enough garden chores to keep you busy in there till spring is here for good.

Clean or Replace Tools. As long as you’re in the shed, take the time to examine your tools. Do they need to be cleaned of rust? Do your pruners and scissors need sharpening? Maybe it’s time to tighten the handles on shovels and rakes. And face it – there’s a good chance at least a few of your tools need to be replaced altogether. Get more tips on cleaning and repairing your garden tools here.

Jill Staake
Jill lives in Tampa, Florida, and writes about gardening, butterflies, outdoor projects and birding. When she's not gardening, you'll find her reading, traveling and happily digging her toes into the sand on the beach.