French existentialist writer and philosopher Albert Camus once said, "In the depths of winter I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer." Never is that more true than with gardening in winter.
One traditionally pictures a winter garden as stark and bleak, banked with snow and leaves. Just under the surface, however, a winter garden teems with life. Spring bulbs quietly await their blooming, sugar maples store up sap, and gardeners eagerly anticipate the more prosperous seasons ahead.
Even though winter is a quiet season, there's still plenty of work to be done. The cold months of December through March provide a perfect opportunity for building cloches, cold frames and even greenhouses, which enable gardeners to extend the harvest season. Also, winter is a great time to start early spring crops from seed. Finally, since winter reveals a garden's framework, it's an ideal time (frozen ground permitting) to dig new beds, lay paths, and gather sticks for staking beans and peas. In the next section, we talk about taking advantage of the winter quiet to sort out a garden's basics.