The first frost is just around the corner, if not already here, for many gardeners in colder climates. Harvest season is over and winter is creeping its cold, icy fingers into garden beds. It’s time to clean up and prepare for next spring by putting your CedarCraft garden to bed.
Putting in the extra cleanup effort at the end of fall will help you start your spring gardening season off on the right foot. Your planters will be clean, and filled with healthy, warm soil earlier than gardeners waiting for the ground to thaw out, which means you get a gardening head start on everyone else!
Here are the simple steps that you need to do to put your gardens to bed:
By this time in the season many of the vines and stalks have wilted as they have finished their production. Flowers have gone to seed, and leaves have fallen. Pull up tomato, squash, pea, and bean plants, and leave your fall plantings of cold weather vegetables like kale and lettuce to harvest throughout the remaining season.
Make sure to double check if your fruits, flowers, and herbs are perennials or annuals. Annuals will get cleared out from the planters, but your perennials, like strawberries, can stay in with a bit of pruning and some mulch to keep them warmer. You can protect tender perennials with a row blanket or plant blanket as well. When clearing things our, a good rule of thumb is that if a plant is yellow or brown, cut it down, if it’s green leave it be.
Once you have the old and dead plants cleared out, till the soil to get some oxygen in there, break up clumps from remaining roots, and encourage bugs and pests to find new homes for the winter. Add a layer of compost to the mix and top it off with mulch or autumn leaves that will break down over the winter season and add more nutrients to your planter garden bed.
Now is the perfect time to get your spring bulbs in soil. They’ll even grow well in a planter! Spread out your tulip, crocus, and other spring bulbs in your planter. Make sure to add a variety of early, mid, and late spring blooms for continued variety throughout the flowering season, right before vegetable planting season begins. Make sure you plant the bulbs with the pointed tip side up, push them down a few inches into the soil, and cover with mulch to protect them from winter soil cracking.
Now kick back and enjoy your gardening break during the winter!
Gardening is a mix of science and art. It’s possible that you can carefully craft the perfect garden space with optimal soil nutrients, ideal sunlight, and a well-timed watering system and have nothing go as planned. Even the best gardeners experience challenges during the growing season, and sometimes they have complete garden fails. Gardening is a learning process for everyone, not just a product, which is part of the appeal.
It’s also comforting for beginning gardeners to know that even the most experienced gardeners still have their obstacles to overcome. Many of the pros live by the philosophy, “If you’re not killing plants, you’re not stretching yourself as a gardener.”
Our CedarCraft team field-tests each one of our planters during the gardening season, growing a variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers in the process. You can see how our own gardens grow on Instagram as we share photo updates throughout the year. Rest assured, even though our garden may look beautiful, we experience our own challenges too. We’d love to share some lessons that our Colorado team learned from the 2015 gardening season.
This is one of the biggest hurdles for every gardener around the world, and it has been since the beginning of time. Floods, droughts, cold snaps, high winds, and hail are all elements that can wreak havoc on your garden.
Our Colorado team had an exceptionally wet and cold-ish May, right when the planting season began. It was a little too much for the cucumbers to bear and we lost them all.
Lesson Learned: Patience is a virtue, especially in gardening. It’s better to wait a little longer than jump the gun when planting your starters to make sure they have a good chance of establishing roots.
We spent a lot of time on procuring the right mix of soil for all of the planters this year. What we found was with that particular mix, our tomatoes flourished and thrived in the ground planters, but our spinach and lettuce greens needed a little more help with the same mix in the Urban planter. We had to switch out soils in that planter, and once we did, the spinach grew like wild!
Lesson Learned: Ground planters with sturdy plants do well with the soil mix we wrote about earlier this year. The Elevated planters will do better with a softer container soil mix.
We did pretty well with keeping up on our watering cycles this year! Nothing dried out or wilted… until we went on vacation. Summer is a time to enjoy vacations with kids out of school and the warm-weather adventures at your feet. Our Colorado team went on a backpacking trip for a few days thinking that the garden would be OK. While there were cool temps in the high country, it was a lot warmer in the flatlands. We came back to find some of the plants drier than they should have been, which caused a few to bolt early.
Lesson Learned: set up watering systems if you can, and at the very least, have a neighbor or friend come over to water your garden while you’re on vacation. We have some exciting new developments with our product line in 2016 that will help you with this! Look for an announcement in January.
This may have been the biggest challenge for us this year above all else. Rabbits scaled chicken wire fences to nap in the cilantro, birds filled up on strawberries, squirrels pilfered the peppers, and bugs munched on kale and cauliflower. It was garden warfare despite our best efforts with all methods of pest control.
Lesson Learned: We’re still learning. We’ll see what we can do to lessen the likeness of “Mr. McGregor’s Garden” in 2016.
We had one planter that we lovingly called the “misfit garden” where we planted extra starters and companion planted plants that you’re not supposed to place next to each other. We didn’t have high hopes for this section of the garden, but decided to take the risk anyway to see what would happen.
There were some fails in there for sure, like the extra cauliflower plants not producing anything at all, but we found some unexpected success, like potatoes and pumpkins thriving!!
Lesson Learned: It’s OK to take risks! Don’t be afraid to fail, because you might just experience some unexpected successes. And sometimes those are the best!
Despite our own challenges this year, we came out of it with first-hand knowledge to apply in the 2016 growing season, and we had some delicious harvests along the way. We’re certainly looking forward to the gardening adventures that the next year will bring!
Part of the allure of gardening with CedarCraft products is the ability to do so in a beautiful and environmentally sustainable way.
Our cedar planters are beautiful on their own, but gardening is all about personalizing your own natural oasis. Garden design is based on personal aesthetic preferences for every individual gardener – from flowers, vegetables, to the style of the planters they reside in. We’ve introduced CedarCraft Protective Wood Oil Stains this summer to help give our gardeners the ability to add their own flair to their planters!
CedarCraft Protective Wood Oil Stains are a semi-transparent stain designed to tread lightly on the earth using all natural oils, resins, and new age vegetable based solvents. We have been able to cease using petroleum-based products, effectively reducing the volatile organic compounds to less than 1 gram per liter.
Our Protective Wood Oil is non-toxic and safe for use around children and animals. They are odorless, contain no chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects and no substances that are listed in the superfund amendments and reauthorization act, the comprehensive environmental response act, or the toxic substances control act. They are truly 100% sustainable!
CedarCraft planters are constructed with untreated redwood cedar and designed to withstand the elements for six to ten years, even without our protective wood oil stains. Without staining you may see the natural color of your planter gracefully fade with age through the gardening seasons.
CedarCraft Protective Wood Oil provides a 99% UV rating that will protect and beautify your wood for many years to come, giving your planters a vibrant, long-lasting burst of color.
Our oil stains are available in four colors:
This stain gives your planter a warm honey hue, slightly saturating the natural color of your cedar wood.
This is slightly warmer and darker than our Natural Stain, giving your planter an almost mountain rustic look.
This oil stain gives a slightly deeper, warmer, richer, red-toned hue compared to our Ash color.
This black stain gives your planter a contemporary, urban-style look while still highlighting the natural grain in each wood plank.
Application is a piece of cake! Make sure you thoroughly shake and stir your can so that it’s properly mixed. With a clean, dry rag or brush, coat your planter and wipe off any excess oil. Application takes mere minutes, just as long as it took to assemble your CedarCraft planter.
Clean up is as simple as soap and water!
Using our CedarCraft Protective Wood Oil will help to add a little more personality and long-lasting protection to your planters for years to come.