Seedlings in Zenger Farm greenhouses.

Seedlings in Zenger Farm greenhouses.

Weary of subzero temps and drifting snow? How about a few gardening tips that you can do right now? We consulted our newest crop of Duluth Women models who put our garden clothes to the test in Portland, Oregon for our Spring Garden catalog. Stop your shivering and start strategizing!

Let the land be your guide – Sara, Farm Manager, Zenger Farm

Garden Clothes: Railroad Striped Overalls

Zenger Farm is a working urban farm, so Sara knows a thing or two about making the most of your location to help narrow down your choices.

“Start with a good gardening guide for your region so you know which plants are most suited to your climate, when to start crops and where to start them – inside first or directly into the ground,” advises Sara.

It also helps to think beyond your backyard plot and consider your garden’s microclimate:

  • How many hours of sun do you get in various parts of your garden?
  • Is there a warm spot on the south side of your house that might be best for your most heat-loving crops or a shady spot better suited for tender greens?

Gather your resources – Shara, Farm Manager, Green Table Cooperative

Garden Clothes: Crosscut Flannel Shirt

Community garden plots aren’t the only thing that thrives when neighbors dig in the dirt together. Winter is the perfect time to seek out advice from other gardening pros.

“Check out local garden centers for classes, botanic gardens for advice (and inspiration) or spend the day at a local garden expo,” recommends Shara.

It’s also a great time to reflect on the past:

  • New and experienced gardeners can benefit from a calendar or journal that provides a place to write basic notes as you plant and harvest through the seasons.
  • More visual? Document your garden with photos to celebrate your successes, and remind you what NOT to do next year.

Stretch your growing season – Courtney, Co-Owner, Noble Rot Restaurant

Garden Clothes: Lightweight Gardening Vest & Armachillo Shirt

Co-owning the popular restaurant and wine bar Noble Rot, Courtney and her chefs get creative to supply the restaurant with fresh vegetables and herbs all year ’round.

“Our rooftop garden makes the most of every square inch and we like to see how far into winter we can grow herbs and tender cold-loving greens,” shares Courtney.

Increase your garden’s yield with a little forethought:

  • “Stack” certain crops. Start the season with a cool-weather, quick-growing crop of salad greens or mustards. When you harvest the greens it’s time to plant your sun-loving eggplant and you’ve doubled your production in the same space.
  • When the outdoors get too cold, think indoors. Experiment with pots of basil, chives or thyme in sunny windows that you can snip as you please. Nothing brightens up your day or meal like a few fresh herbs in a soup, stew or salad.
Noble Rot Rooftop Garden Herb Test

Noble Rot’s Rooftop Garden Herb Test

Get a jump on spring cleaning

And finally, all our gardening experts agree that now is the perfect time to tidy up garden tools and gear:

  • Clean and sharpen tools, purge or donate unused supplies, and replace worn-out gloves.
  • It’s also a good time to upgrade those ratty old clothes with gardening shirts, pants and vests made to dig in the dirt in comfort (and style).

Get your garden fix with other Whatchamablog posts you might enjoy: A Bumper Crop of Garden Gear, Muddy Knees & City Sprouts, Defend Your Back End