When is it too cold to garden? For me, it’s when the ground is frozen. I’m not much for hot weather, but when the air turns cool I feel energized. This is when I really love to spend time working outdoors and winter gardening chores always top my to-do list.
Staying Warm While Gardening
Whether I’m planting cool-weather garden crops or attending to winter gardening chores, staying warm while gardening is the key to comfort when working outdoors during our USDA zone 6 late fall and winter days. And staying warm always means donning the correct type of gardening clothes:
- Boots – Staying dry while performing winter gardening chores is paramount if I want to stay warm. And for me, this starts with a good pair of waterproof boots. For dew-covered grass, I really like the ease and comfort of walking in ankle-high rubber boots. But when the ground is soggy or precipitation is flying, I’ll opt for mid-calf or knee-high boots so I can tuck in my pant legs to keep them dry.
- Pants – Normally an old pair of jeans will do. But on windy or damp days, I add a pair of thermal underwear to keep my legs warm.
- Shirt – Staying warm while gardening also means protecting my torso from the cold. And to do this, I layer on gardening clothes starting with a plain cotton t-shirt. It’s not uncommon for a 40 degree (4.4 C.) Ohio morning to quickly warm up and be in the high sixties by afternoon. Starting with a cotton T-shirt allows me to remove outerwear and stay comfortable as the temperature climbs.
- Outerwear – Over my T-shirt, I’ll layer on a pullover sweatshirt or lightweight hoodie for moderate temperatures. In colder weather or for windy days, I’ll switch to an insulated hoodie. Then I top off the entire ensemble of gardening clothes with a lightweight, water-resistant wind breaker. A lightweight wind breaker helps retain body heat when needed, yet can be easily tied around my waist when not in use.
- Hat – When my last eye exam revealed mild cataracts, my optometrist recommended wearing a wide-brim hat when working outdoors. Most sunny days, I opt for a ball cap. When performing winter gardening chores on cloudy or cold day, I switch to a knit hat or beanie to keep my ears warm and prevent heat loss from my head.
- Gloves – When the leaves begin to change, I know it’s time to put away my flowered gardening gloves. My go-to cold weather gloves are a water-resistant type designed for sports enthusiasts. Unlike most winter gloves, these liner-type gloves retain warmth even when wet. They’re thin enough to maintain dexterity and can be used under heavier gloves on frigid days. Needless to say, they protect my hands from cuts and scrapes, whether I’m trimming trees or planting cool-weather garden crops.