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!
Spring is here and it’s time to start getting your CedarCraft planters ready! You have them assembled and it was a snap. But now it comes down to the dirty work – filling them with soil. You may be wondering, how much soil do I need to fill this?
You may have read our previous blog post on Soil 101 for container gardening. That post gave you some insights on why your container soil is so important for your garden planters and that you shouldn’t dig up dirt from your yard to fill your raised bed.
This weekend our CedarCraft team assembled our planter collection and filled them all with a container gardening mix. We’re going to give you some step-by-step instructions on what you need to do to fill your planters.
First you need to break out the calculator and figure out how much soil your planter needs. You can find a plethora of gardening calculators from a simple Google search. Here’s a handy calculator on Home Depot’s website.
To determine how much soil you need to fill your planter or raised bed, these are the dimensions you need for your formula:
Length (in inches) x Width (in inches) x Depth (in inches) = total amount of cubic feet or cubic yards of soil. (12 cubic feet of soil = 0.444 cubic yards of soil)
We’ve made it even easier for you! If you take a look at our collection descriptions, we have cubic feet of soil capacity for each planter listed:
CedarCraft Cascading Planter: 5 cubic feet = 0.1 cubic yards = 77 quarts
CedarCraft Elevated Planter: 4 cubic feet = 0.1 cubic yards = 102 quarts
PatioCraft Elevated Planter: 6 cubic feet = 0.2 cubic yards = 179 quarts
CedarCraft Urban Planter: 5 cubic feet = 0.1 cubic yards = 128 quarts
CedarCraft Raised Garden Planter: 11.5 cubic feet = 0.4 cubic yards = 295 quarts
PatioCraft Raised Garden Planter: 16 cubic feet = 0.6 cubic yards = 478 quarts
Now that you know how much soil you need, you need to know what kind of soil to fill it with.
Since our team filled each planter in our whole collection, we visted our local commercial soil source recommended by landscapers and contractors. We needed a lot of soil and it filled our truck bed! If you have one or two planters, you won’t need to go to these lengths.
We used a soil mix with 60% topsoil and 40% compost, and then added an additional 10% vermiculite to that. With shovels in hand, we poured the vermiculite into the truck bed on top of the soil and got to work mixing!
With smaller projects, you can pour your soil mixes onto a tarp and rotate. You can also create your own Mel’s Mix we mentioned in our Soil 101 post with this recipe:
Before you add soil to your planters, make sure you have your liners in place. Our Cascading and Urban planters come with a plastic liner. You will need landscaping fabric for your Elevated and Raised Garden planters. Don't forget to poke drainage holes in them!
Now you know what kind of soil mix to use and how much, all that’s left is adding it to your planters. Happy gardening!