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!
Seed catalogs in hand, raised garden bed space mapped out – you’re ready to get started on your 2015 garden! But, we’re still in the middle of February. It’s the tail end of winter and in some states across the US, a deep layer of snow has settled over backyards and patios. Gardeners everywhere are anxiously awaiting the warm sun on their skin, the soft grass under their feet, and the spring air to fill their lungs.
While we’re waiting for gardening season to really start, there are a few things you can do during the winter to start your garden with the perfect sprouts. Here’s our winter gardening checklist to help you grow your best garden yet!
This super-cold-hardy vegetable is a tender crop that can be planted in very early spring as well as winter. Spring plantings can be made as soon as the soil can be properly worked. It's important to seed as soon as you can to give spinach the required 6 weeks of cool weather from seeding to harvest.
Sow seeds outdoors 4 to 6 weeks before last spring frost, when soil temperatures reach 45 degrees F. Be sure to add a tomato cage so the pea plants will have something to climb.
Carrots get sweeter as the temperature cools. Plan to plant seeds outdoors 3 to 5 weeks before the last spring frost date.
When your soil is compacted, your plants can’t grow well. Compaction is what will decrease the amount of air by the roots, inhibiting growth by making it more difficult for the sprouts to break through the surface of the soil. Raised garden beds make it easier to work around the plants without stepping on the soil, keeping it nice and airy!
Horticultural fleece provides a simple way to give plants some minimal winter protection. Fleece can laid over soil and pegged down, or wrapped around a plant and tied in place with string around the stem. The ease of applying and removing the fleece makes this a good temporary protection solution.
Container soil in raised garden beds will rarely freeze and is easy to maintain over the winter by covering your raised garden bed with leaf mulch or a tarp. Because the soil maintains warmth, it's less work for you and it extends your growing season!
If you do find cold soil to be any problem, you can place rocks in your garden to help distribute heat from the sun.
With container gardens, frost can easily penetrate the sides of planters and kill roots. You can wrap the entire exterior of your planter in hessian or bubble-wrap to insulate the soil and roots of your vegetables. Keep the top of the planter free so you can continue to water your plants.
If you’re as excited about the kick-off to gardening season as we are, you can enter our Facebook giveaway for your chance to win your choice of Cedarcraft planters! Five winners will be chosen on March 15th. Click here to enter!