Winter gets a bad rap. Gardeners lament their fate, just like everyone else, as they brace against the never-ending cold. We rush to post hopeful photos showing signs of spring coming to life on social media. And it’s only the end of January!

Although there are signs of life and there’s the occasional warm day, for those of us in colder zones, we have a ways to go before we can really get back into gardening full swing. I’ve vowed to enjoy every season, and yet I’m still climbing the walls a little right now, despite the lengthening days.

Here are three easy things that might helpful to bring a little gardening into your life and help you through the winter — a gardener’s survival guide, in a sense:

  • Treat yourself to a house plant or some cut flowers — or one of my favorites, force flowering branches. If you’re forcing, winter is often the best time to prune for many plants, so you’ll be getting some necessary work done, too. You may even have trees or shrubs perfectly suited for forcing, such as forsythia, flowering cherry, or flowering quince. While it may be tempting, just don’t go cutting your neighbors’ trees and shrubs!
  • Plan, plan, plan. It’s catalogue season and you’re probably receiving more catalogues than you can handle (I sure am). It’s easy to peruse online and order everything in sight, like a kid in candy store. But slow down, relax in a comfy chair, and mark those items down in your catalogue, a list, or whatever system works best for you. Then go back again and revisit that wish list. Likely there will be some “pruning” there, too!
  • It’s too early to plant seedlings, but not too early to grow microgreens indoors. Microgreens are a tasty, nutritious addition to salads, garnishes, and other dishes. And it’s easy to get seeds for greens, herbs, and some vegetables with edible greens (such as beets) from those catalogues that are arriving now. It’s a great way to bring a little taste of the garden into your kitchen, and a fun project to do together if you have small children.

And most of all, keep up hope. Spring will be here before you know it!