What do gardeners do in the winter? As I look out on my frosted over backyard, I’m cuddled into my favorite chair browsing through seed catalogues and my favorite gardening books.

Several of you have asked me, “what do you do in the winter to satisfy your gardening cravings?

I do a lot of reading and studying about best practices for organic gardening. I made this totally organic committment six years ago and I’m determined to stick to it because of the awe-inspiring results. It took two years to rid the garden of all the poisons to which I had subjected it!

Yes, the flowers, especially the bulbs and perennials who gain their strength through the soil in the winter, are extremely grateful. They thank me each year by showing out their splendor. However, it’s the return of all the wildlife that has really tugged at my heart and brought me joy: caterpillars and butterflies, dragonflies (mosquito hawks), frogs, lizards, pollinators of all sorts, and a menagerie of birds!

My go-to books by Howard Garret (the dirt doctor) are Texas Gardening the Natural Way, and Plants for Texas. I also benefit from following Month-By-Month Gardening in Texas by Dale Groom and Dan Gill to help me calendar gardening chores. Even though Groom and Gill’s book does not espouse the organic way, it is a great gardening handbook.

Yes, I read these three books cover to cover each winter, underline incessantly, and jot notes obsessively! I hope that you too can enjoy your gardening solstice and find a cozy reading corner to dream of your next season’s produce.

Which are your go-to gardening periodicals?

“What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?”

John Steinbeck

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