In Winter Into Spring Garden Thoughts

By COPE Food Systems Specialist, Carole Palmer


One way to create a garden you will enjoy is to think of it as a PROCESS, not a PROJECT. In this way, PLANNING is the key to garden success. Spend this time while it is still cold outside to consider:

  • WHO will help with the garden?

  • WHO will take care of it?

  • WHAT does your family like to eat?

  • WHAT will grow well in this climate?

  • WHEN is the last date for freezing temperatures at your home? This is known as the last frost date. Some vegetables and flowers can handle cold weather but others need warm weather.

  • WHEN will you have time to plant?

  • WHERE can you have a garden?

  • WHERE is the sun? Shade? Water source? Wind protection? Fencing?

  • WHY do you want to have a garden? For some, the garden can also be a place for the family to gather, a place to enjoy nature, to have pretty flowers that also benefit bees and other pollinators… there are many reasons to have a garden besides “to grow food”.

  • HOW will you get started?

Once you have thought about the first questions, HOW to get started and go about it becomes easier. Maybe you only have time for a small garden. If so, you can organize and prepare for that. If there are animals around, maybe it will be easier to plant your garden in large containers to protect them. If you have a lot of helpers, maybe you can take on a bigger area to plant.


In the Navajo way, it is recommended to spend one fourth of your time thinking, one fourth of your time planning, only one fourth of your time doing and then one fourth of your time celebrating and reflecting on what went well and what you might do differently next time. Then you start again with thinking. In this way, you can create a garden that you and your family will enjoy.



School children creating a new garden in 2019

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