We spend a lot of time marveling at and sharing our knowledge about bees and other pollinators and stressing the importance of creating landscapes that can sustain them. But as days shorten and temperatures cool in most parts of the country, summer becomes an increasingly distant memory, perhaps begging the question: what happens to the pollinators during winter? Do bees hibernate—like bears, or migrate south for the winter—like birds? What about bats, butterflies, and hummingbirds? What prompts these pollinators to commence migration/hibernation? Is there anything gardeners can do to help them survive the winter? And, when do they come out again in the spring?
As summer blossoms fade and the days become shorter, that means it's time for gardeners to start preparing for the inevitable—WINTER. Depending on your point of view, and where you reside, you may or may not like the Farmers' Almanac's winter 2018 forecast for the U.S.: cold and wet for much of the country, except in California and its neighboring states. Apparently, those of us who inhabit the area between the Great Lakes and the Northeast should prepare for “snowier-than-normal conditions.” (Editor's note: UGH.) So, what to do to prepare for winter—both in order to ensure the survival of your perennials, as well as the health of the soil in the garden beds to get a running start in spring when the time comes to sow new plants—and when?
Admittedly, we write a lot about gardening in the northeast, which makes sense when you consider that we’re located in upstate New York (generally zone 4-5, depending on the elevation). However, we recognize that many of our customers are fortunate enough to live in climates mild enough for an extended gardening season, allowing you to grow vegetables throughout the winter. In nod to you lucky folks, following is a beginner's guide to growing winter vegetable crops in zones 7-10.