Start Preparing for Spring Garden in Winter

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Photo courtesy Terry Cobb
Yogurt containers work great for starting seedlings indoors.

One of my favorite spring chores actually starts in winter. By that, I mean I start preparing for my spring garden in winter by eating and drinking — but not just anything. I concentrate on food and drinks that come in containers that can be recycled and used in the garden. For instance, I’ll need to empty at least 30 six-ounce, wide-mouth yogurt containers before the end of March; they’ll serve as peat pots for starting seeds indoors. They work great to keep the peat pots upright in my trays, and they also prevent water and soil from spilling onto tables and floors due to my klutziness. Labels identifying the seeds are also easily affixed to the sides of the plastic cartons.

I also drink a lot of milk during the winter months so I can later use the gallon jugs to cover fragile plants and protect them from spring’s unexpected freezes. In addition, I also drink more of coffee and juice. Plastic coffee containers filled with water are quite handy for dunking plant roots as I’m transplanting seedlings into the garden, and half-gallon plastic juice bottles make super soakers. I’ll poke a row of holes down one side of the bottle, fill it with water, and place it lengthwise at the base of plants, like peanuts or carrots, to let the water seep into the soil and around their roots.

Since I can’t accomplish this task all by myself, I enlist help from my family. When I ask them to drink more hot cocoa, they reply, “It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it.”

Harris, Missouri

Read more stories about spring chores in Heart of the Home: Spring Activities.