This is the second in our repostings of Jen’s wonderful posts on monthly planning. Originally posted in 2011, here’s what to do in the traditional dead of winter.
February can be one of the last chances to get indoor projects completed before the spring thaw arrives. Gardeners are getting excited and it won’t be long before the first of this year’s farm babies are here! Spring is really just around the corner, so start wrapping things up inside and get ready to head back outdoors.
- Check basement or crawl space for leakage during thaws.
- Check bathroom caulking for re-sealing needs. While you’re in there, check your pipes for leaks.
- Freshen your kitchen sinks by pouring a mixture of 3 cups hot water and 1/4 cup vinegar (or the juice of one lemon) down each drain.
- Keep an eye out for cracks in your drywall caused by settling during thaws and freezes. There are expandable putties and spackles available for problem areas. While you’re at it, you may want to mark outdoor masonry to be repaired. Plan to complete this project after the last hard freeze and once your biggest worries of the house settling are past.
- If you don’t have a cold frame or greenhouse, set up an area to start seeds for your garden. Few seeds need light to germinate (be sure to read the directions) so you may be able to get by without any lights other than a window for the first few weeks. (Check out chiotsrun seedstarting 101 guide).
- Research and prepare for any animal purchases for the year.
- Keep a tray of water and spray bottle near indoor plants to adjust humidity levels, especially if you have central air. Running the heater can dry them out quickly and cover leaves with dust.
- Keep fresh water available and free of ice for birds and wildlife.
- It’s National Bird Feeding Month. Keep feeding those birdies! Seed, dried berries, and suet are great meals for our feathered pals.
- If you live in a climate with mild winters, this month may be a good time to dig new beds. You may also want to repair or build new composting bins to be prepared for this year’s cleanup.
- Southerners could get away with planting bare root trees on warm days.
- Keep driveways and walks free of snow and ice. Have shovels, plows, and salt/brine accessible and stocked.
- Watch gutters and roofs for ice dams.
- XAN EDIT: if you’re in a short-season zone (5 and up) start long season seeds like onions and leeks indoors
- If you didn’t get to it during fall, now would be a great time to oil and sharpen garden tools.
- Be prepared for early birthing. Have any equipment you’ll need ready and accessible.
- Nights are still very cold in most parts of the country. Keep your critters warm with fresh hay, heat lamps, or blankets, but be sure to avoid fire hazards.
- If you’ve been leaving a light on for your chickens you can begin weaning them off of it. The sun is setting noticeably later and your gals should begin laying more regularly soon.
You can also find Jennifer in archive at Unearthing This Life where she used to blog (or as she called it “blarg”) a bit about good food, home schooling, raising chickens, and being a suburban Yankee transplant in a rural southern town. She’s not writing right now, but her wonderful posts are well worth scrolling through.