The Winter Gardening Itch
Chapter I

Right about now, gardeners all over the northern hemisphere are getting the itch to go outside and get dirty. There are still two feet of snow on the ground, in some places. So, finding dirt can be a little difficult, much less playing in it.

Itchy Green Thumbs

Mounds of snow on a front porch

Since most seeds don’t even think about germinating until at least March, how do we scratch that itch?

This is what I do. I start propagating plants that I have wintering over in the house. Every year since I moved here to be with Darren, we’ve added plants to our gardening repertoire to include in this process.  To date, I have some perennial chrysanthemums, African violets, and various house plants.

At this point, I also start adding fresh herbs to my grocery list. I use what I need for recipes and then stick the rest in water to see what roots. This week it was basil, next week, perhaps some thyme.

I’ll give you a peek into what my “playing in the dirt” activities looked like today.

Propagating

African voilets in a terra cotta pot

I started with my violets. Throughout the year, they enjoy sitting on our north-facing, kitchen window. Darren surprised me with one as a “just because” so I grew a second one from its stems. This will be my third.

Hand pulling leaves from african violets for propagating

Under certain conditions, African violets can get quite bushy. The pot can become overstuffed with leaves.

Therefore, it makes sense to give the plant some breathing room. Taking the largest leaves from around the rim of the pot, pinching them off gently at the base of the leaf stalk…

Violet leaves in new pot to grow new plant

…and transplanting them to make a brand new plant. I find that putting the transplanted leaves into a smaller pot to start, promotes healthy root formation. Tuck them in by gently pressing the soil down around the base of each leaf planting. They like to be snug.

Give it some water and all done! Easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy!! This new, little one will join the others in our bright kitchen window. Due to the nature of our more northern climate, African violets do take a bit longer here than other plants to show new signs of growth. But, with proper care and observation, they’ll start sending out new leaves in about 3-4 months. The older violets begin to flower and all is right with the world.

Violets growing in sunny kitchen window

Thanks so much for reading and feel free to share how you scratch your gardening itch at this time of year, in the comments section. Check out The Winter Gardening Itch – Chapter Two here, where I propagate some fresh spring onions for use in new Springtime recipes.

New African Violet Plant

Please let us know what your favorite gardening activities are, we’d love to hear from you! Any plant information or gardening tips you like to read about? Drop us a note in the comments below. Thank you!

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