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70 Creative Winter Activities For Gardeners

With snow on the ground and temperatures too cold to spend much time outdoors, winter is a slower time for most gardeners. But that doesn’t mean they hibernate until spring: plenty of indoor activities keep green thumbs busy when they can’t be in their gardens. There are many winter activities for gardeners, and not all have to do with plants, but nonetheless, they’re keeping garden lovers busy and entertained.

My indoor garden, featuring African violets,, peace lily, and orchid, and an arrowhead plant.
Photo Credit: Backyard Garden Lover

The Most Popular Winter Activities For Gardeners

A few days ago, I asked my Facebook Page followers what hobbies can replace gardening during the winter months. And in just a couple of days, I got over 300 responses. So, I decided to summarize these answers here.

Winter hobbies for gardeners: a screenshot form my FB page.
Photo Credit: Backyard Garden Lover

1. Indoor gardening

Purple African violet flowers.
Photo Credit: Backyard Garden Lover

This is probably the first thing that comes to mind, and I personally have many indoor plants that keep me busy year-round. 

What can you grow indoors? Oh, so many things! Here are only a few I personally grow:

  • peace lily
  • African violets
  • Christmas cactus
  • orchids
  • gardenia
  • golden pothos
  • spider plant
  • and many more

With so many plants, I use an app to help me remember when to water them. It’s called Planta, and I use their free version. Here’s what it looks like.

I have friends who grow lemon trees indoors; others, the most passionate ones, create indoor jungles.

Or, you can try a smart garden like the “click and grow.”

2. Read gardening books and magazines

Gardening magazines laying on a wooden floor.
Photo Credit: Backyard Garden Lover

Cold winter nights are perfect for getting cozy with a hot tea and flipping through gardening books for inspiration. Or, read some ” how to” books about gardening and other backyard activities.

A book about planting lavender and book about raising chickens.
Photo Credit: Backyard Garden Lover

If you like lavender, read my book: I planted 300 lavender plants and share everything I learned.

I also wrote a book about raising chickens for eggs. Again, personal experience, as we got our first baby chicks 3 years ago.

Need more ideas? Check these out:

3. Dream about and plan next year’s garden

Hundreds of multicolored poppies along my driveway.
Photo Credit: Backyard Garden Lover

Winter is a great time to look at this year’s garden and plan for next year. Here are questions to ask yourself: 

  • What worked, and do you want to do more of it?
  • What did you not like? I did not like the okra taking over 2 of my garden beds, so I’m not planting that again. A good garden planner will help: keeping good notes throughout the gardening season will make it easier to decide what you want and don’t want to do next year.
  • Are there any new plants you want to try?
  • Are there any new methods of gardening? For example, you might want to try Ruth Stout’s gardening method or the lasagna gardening method.
  • Do you want to add any new flowers to your flower garden?

Need more inspiration?

4. Birdwatching

A bright red male cardinal next to one of my feeders.
Photo Credit: Backyard Garden Lover

Bird-watching is very entertaining, especially when stuck inside. Set some bird feeders, fill them with goodies, and sit and watch. Some may be happy with that alone. But if you want to learn about birds and birding, find some good books and have fun learning.

If you learn better by seeing, there are some great videos and documentaries about birds on Amazon.

5. Start seeds indoors

Tomato seeds started indoors.
Photo Credit: Backyard Garden Lover

If you plan to start seeds indoors, you might need to organize the seeds you saved from the garden or buy seeds for plants you intend to grow. Collecting seeds is a lot of fun, too. You might want to look for a local seed-swapping group.

Ambitious gardeners get a head start on the season by growing seedlings under grow lights or near sunny windows in winter. Popular plants to start early include tomatoes, peppers, and herbs.

6. Winter sowing

Winter sowing jugs in my garden
Photo Credit: Backyard Garden Lover

Another popular method for starting seeds is winter sowing…your hands will be in the dirt all winter, with fabulous results. Here’s an easy guide to winter sowing (with step-by-step pictures). You’ll be amazed at how resilient the plants you start this way will be.

You’ll also get a head start on your garden.

7. Greenhouse gardening

Large greenhouse in the spring.
Photo Credit: Backyard Garden Lover

If you have enough room in your backyard, add a small greenhouse. You’ll be amazed at how many greens you can harvest throughout the winter. Here are some cold-loving crops you can grow in the winter in a greenhouse:

  •  Kale
  • Swiss chard
  • Bitter greens
  • Salad greens
  • Asian greens
  • Root crops
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Green onions
  • Parsley

8. Grow microgreens

Photo Credit: Depositphotos

When there isn’t much to eat from the garden, grow some microgreens in your spare bedroom or in the basement. If you’ve never done it before, get a book for beginners, like this one: Microgreen Garden: Indoor Grower’s Guide to Gourmet Greens.

If you’d rather take the easier way, start with a microgreen kit (this one is self-watering).

Microgreens Growing Kit Self Watering - Healthy Gift with Microgreens Trays, Seeds, Mats, and Bamboo Surround. No Soil Needed. Easy Setup. Sprouting Kit with One-Time Watering. Guaranteed to Grow.

9. Garden art

A cute statue of a boy and girl sitting on a bench.
Photo Credit: Backyard Garden Lover

Winter is perfect for visiting thrift stores to find treasures for your garden. Here’s what to look for:

  • Ceramic pots
  • Plant stands
  • Garden statues
  • Birdbaths
  • Wrought iron furniture
  • Wooden barrels
  • Wooden signs
  • Ceramic figurines
  • Stained glass
  • Old fences or gates
  • Window frames
  • Lanterns and candle holders
  • Decorative mirrors
  • Rusty tool
  • Vintage watering cans
  • Mosaic pieces

Oh, my! So many ideas for adding charm to your garden!

And if junk art is not your thing, try your hand at rock painting, watercolor, oil painting, or paint by numbers. So much fun: still thinking about the garden, just in a different way.

You can also try coloring. I have a few free printable coloring pages for both children and adults. See which ones you’d lie to try:

10. Nature-inspired jigsaw puzzles and games

Wonders of nature puzzle box.
Photo Credit: Backyard Garden Lover

Choose jigsaw puzzles of beautiful outdoor scenery, flowers, birds, and, my favorite, a cottage garden (it might be hard to do, but so fun!).

Play some nature-inspired games with the family. Some games will teach kids about growing a garden.

11. Make nature-inspired cards

Homemade nature inspired cards.
Photo Credit: Backyard Garden Lover

If you remembered to press some flowers during the growing season, make some cards: you’ll get to use your creativity, reminisce about the garden, and have cards for your loved ones that are one of a kind and very special.

You can also paint some nature-inspired cards and surprise your family and friends with a homemade card.

More Things for Gardeners to Do in the Winter

Most gardeners have other hobbies, too, not just gardening. Here are more ideas from my Facebook audience:

  1. I read and play my piano
  2. Crocheting and knitting are very comforting and rewarding
  3. planning garden tours when good weather comes around
  4. quilting
  5. baking for my family and friends
  6. creative writing
  7. walking
  8. dreaming of gardens and planning for gardens
  9. for my husband, it’s making bread(and it’s so good!)
  10. weaving & yarn spinning
  11. writing a book
  12. I paint on canvas, with inspiration from my gardens
  13. nurturing house plants
  14. playing with pets
  15. watching reruns of favorite TV shows
  16. calling to check on people and let them know you care(works both ways)
  17. volunteering
  18. sleeping
  19. traveling
  20. cleaning my house
  21. hiking
  22. cooking
  23. shopping
  24. playing my guitar.
  25. family research
  26. keeping my nose in the Bible
  27. Snowshoeing
  28. watching nature
  29. outdoor cleanup, mulching compost
  30. inside remodel
  31. staring out my window
  32. daydreaming about gardening & what I’d like to accomplish when it gets warm enough
  33. sewing
  34. scrapbooking
  35. deep cleaning and reorganizing the house
  36. propagate some plants that you can plant/hang outdoors when the weather warms up (paint some flower pots for them)
  37. I read my gardening magazines and books
  38. I sell my seeds from my garden to buy more seeds
  39. winter gardening
  40. making wreaths and other good-smelling tree decorations that bring the beauty inside
  41. visiting the library and volunteering to read to children
  42. making tinctures and extracts (finding ways to use your garden bounty)
  43. paint kindness rocks
  44. photograph nature
  45. I go looking for shed deer antlers in the woods, and I’ve got some shed deer antlers and stuff like that in my garden so that the rodents have something to chew on.
  46. feed the animals and the birds in my yard
  47. I can or dehydrate what I have in freezers
  48. make soaps
  49. grow Amaryllis and paperwhites indoors
  50. Ibrowse through gardening books at the bookstore and thumb through the Burpee catalog that used to arrive the day after Christmas
  51. I make garden art (last year I made wind chimes out of wine bottles and old silverware)
  52. terrariums
  53. online classes for gardening and floral classes
  54. garden club
  55. saving money for spring
  56. embroidery gardens
  57. I repaint the statues and yard ornaments for next spring
  58. make pine needle baskets
  59. make a gardening journal for the New Year: I make mine in a binder so I can add pages throughout the year, some pages with sleeves for photos, some with pockets for seed packets, and graph paper for drawing out plans for your spring or summer garden.

Winter doesn’t mean the end of gardening spirit for these enthusiasts. From artistic endeavors to cozy indoor gardening, there’s a wealth of activities to explore during the colder months. Whether it’s planning for the next growing season, creating beautiful crafts, or simply enjoying the warmth of indoor pursuits, these gardeners have found the perfect blend of joy and productivity to make winter a season of fulfillment.

70 creative winter activities for gardeners.
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Adriana Copaceanu is a passionate nature lover living in the country on her dream property where she grows vegetables, lavender, and wildflowers that she shares with the wildlife they attract. When she's not in the garden, she loves spending time with her chickens and planning her next nature project. Check your her books below:

How to Grow Lavender for Fun and Profit: Lessons Learned from Planting Three Hundred Lavender Plants

How to Raise Chickens for Eggs: A Guide to Raising Happy, Healthy Chickens for Nutritious, Organic Eggs at Home

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