Cold Weather Gardening – How To Stay Warm And Safe

By Mary Ellen Ellis | October 20, 2021
Image by SomeMeans
by Mary Ellen Ellis
October 20, 2021

I tend to be a fair weather gardener, giving up when it’s too hot, cold, or wet. Unfortunately for me, though, it’s sometimes unavoidable to garden in less-than-perfect weather. Cold days in the garden are worse for me than hot days, but over the years I’ve come up with some strategies for making the best of it. 

The Right Clothing is Essential

It can be tempting to run out for a quick garden chore without preparing for the cold. I think to myself, “this will only take a few minutes, I’ll tough it out.” And, of course, I regret it because the task always takes longer than I think it will. 

It’s important to wear the right clothing and gear ever time it’s cold out in the garden. For me, this means a thick sweater and layers. I prefer a sweater to a jacket because I can move better in it. I layer shirts underneath for warmth and so that I can shed the sweater as I get warmer. 

I also like a thick pair of wool socks because my feet are always cold. I wear a hat when it’s really cold out, and of course I need the right gloves. My ordinary garden gloves don’t cut it when the temperatures drop. I like a pair of fleece gloves for flexibility. If I’m doing a chore that doesn’t require a lot of dexterity, I’ll wear a pair of mittens. 

If it’s going to be wet and cold at the same time, I generally avoid doing any work. On the rare occasion it’s inevitable, I put on my wellies with wool socks and tuck my pant legs into them. I keep a back up pair of gloves at the ready for when the first pair soaks through. 

Hot Tea Helps Too

I’m a tea fanatic. A hot cup of tea is comforting, soothing, and delicious. It’s great to have a cup after a cold session in the garden. I like to bring an insulated mug or thermos outside for quick warm up breaks. I also like to plan a hot lunch or dinner for after a cold day of gardening. Hot soup really hits the spot. 

Take Breaks

Gardening in inclement weather is not always avoidable, but be safe. There’s no reason to spend hours outside in terrible conditions. You can break up the tasks, spending an hour or two at a time in the garden and coming in to warm up and enjoy a hot drink or snack. 

I love my garden, and spending time in it, but I don’t love cold weather. If I can avoid it, I do. When I can’t, I bundle up and get the job done quickly.

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