Keep in touch with nature this winter

Adelyn Geissel, Conservation Program Assistant

You may be wondering, “How do I do that when it’s cold out and there is snow on the ground?” Option one: just get outside! There is a Scandinavian saying that there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. So, if you dress appropriately for the weather, it is easy to enjoy a walk in the snowy woods or through town. Temperature-dependent combinations of layers, a good coat, hat/gloves/scarf, and well-fitting boots or shoes with good traction are all it takes to enjoy being outside this winter. You’ll only be cold for the first couple minutes, so if you push past that, you’ll be able to enjoy the fresh air and see how winter changes the landscape!

Source: https://www.weather.gov/grb/winter0

Option Two: Garden!

If the outdoors in wintertime is not for you, why not start planning a garden for the spring? January and February are perfect times to start going through seed catalogs and writing up a garden plan. If you buy seeds through a catalog, you’ll need to plan in time for them to ship and arrive to you before you need to plant them (and let’s be honest, after this recent holiday season, I’m sure most of us have run into some shipping delays!).

My current favorite seed catalogs

You don’t need to have a lot of space for a garden either. Have a small apartment balcony? Use containers! No available outdoor space? Maybe a window herb garden is right for you! If you have space outside, raised garden beds, containers, or something more large-scale could fit in perfectly. There is also the option of getting a plot at a community garden. The options are wide open enough for any budget, skill, or time demands!

You don’t even have to wait for spring to plant some seeds. I am currently growing a variety of lettuce in my Aerogarden and have plans to grow some microgreens in the next couple weeks to add to salads or smoothies. Watching something green growing can also help get you through the grey days of winter and can be very relaxing to take care of and water.

My Aerogarden with the current batch of lettuce growing

Whatever you decide to do, a daily dose of nature can help to get you through the long Michigan winter. I love being outside in the winter – not only is it a great workout, but I get to see how much the landscape changes with snow on the ground. Some days, the snow sparkles brightly, falls quietly, crunches loudly, or turns into slush. No two days are the same in the winter and it is exciting to see those changes when you take a good look around. And on the days when it is just too cold to get outside, it is fun to start planning what I will be planting in my garden once the weather warms up. So, get out (or stay inside) and enjoy some nature this winter!

Bonus note: if you hoard seed packets like I do, organization is key. I recently found out about using 4×6 photo boxes (easily found at most craft stores) to store seed packets. They work like a charm and should help keep water off the packets as I take the container out to the garden in the spring!

Great storage solution for multiple seed packets