For advanced, new-to-the-game, or even can’t-keep-houseplants-alive gardeners, it feels like a safe bet to start your garden in the spring or summer seasons. So, what I am about to tell you is going to be a shock: it is actually really beneficial to garden in the fall and winter! Crazy right? Actually, not so much! When planting in raised garden beds and planter boxes, the fall and winter seasons actually provide great gardening opportunities. For the advanced gardener, you are preparing your soil and plants for a thriving spring season. For the new-to-the-game gardener you’re avoiding harsh heat and sun rays, creating ideal planting conditions. For the can’t-keep-houseplants-alive gardener, you are entering the gardening game during a low-maintenance time period. Let’s dive a little deeper into why you should plant during the fall and winter.
Fall is the new spring, for gardeners that is!
When I heard this crazy rumour that you should start your gardens in the fall, I new I had to dive deeper and find out why. I headed over to Garden Design to learn more!
Planting bulbs in fall:
It turns out that fall to early winter is actually the peak time to plant spring-blooming bulbs. We’re talking tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, alliums, and crocuses; arguably the best flowers. We’re basically getting way ahead of the game, and prepping our gardens for a beautiful spring bloom! The increased fall rain actually helps to establish stronger root systems, and it is ideal to give your soil a chance to “cool down” so the bulbs actually don’t emerge too early. You want to plant them before the soil gets too hard or frost kisses the ground, and late fall is usually the best time to do this. However, it is not so much about the time of year, than it is about the temperature, when planting your bulbs. If the soil has already gotten hard, or you’ve already wiped frost off your car, don’t worry; those random warm days that we already love, in the early winter months, provide thaws that are the perfect opportunity to plant your bulbs! It’s never too late, and we’ll touch on the other benefits of winter planting in part two of this blog.
Fall gardens are the most vibrant:
If you aren’t so much a “bulb-planter”, but you want some beautiful vibrant colours in your planter box for fall then you’re in luck, because fall annuals provide THE most beautiful colour-scheme. We already love fall for its colour-scheme, so why not infuse some colour into your gardens, that will last all the way through November, and in some cases even longer. Fall annuals don’t mind frosty evenings, and tolerate low temperatures. Here is what you can plant for a thriving fall garden: Violas, pansies, sweet alyssum, snapdragon, osteospermum, dianthus, lobelia, cornflower, and chrysanthemums. If you’re a first time gardener, fall flowers are a great low-maintenance gardening option. The cool weather actually eliminates the threat of heat stress on your new plants, AND you can avoid the many pests and diseases that pose a problem to spring and summer gardens.
We love fall veggies, so why not plant them:
Planting vegetables in the fall can actually yield some great produce. Just as our bodies make the switch from craving lighter produce, to more hearty greens and root vegetables, our gardens follow suit. So, what veggies should we plant in the fall? Well first, you can get a fall harvest by starting fast-growing seeds to plant into your garden soil OR by purchasing potted plants to transfer to your planter box. Fall is a great time to plant leafy greens such as spinach, leaf lettuce, arugula, mustard greens, and mâche because their seeds thrive in cooler soil and they mature faster. Root veggies are also fast growing. Look to plant radishes, beets, and turnips, in addition to traditional root vegetables. They thrive in cool conditions and mature quickly. Similar to bulbs, onion sets and garlic cloves can be planted in the fall, for harvest in late spring or summer of the following year!
Having a winter garden will benefit you and your plants greatly!
Planting vegetable seeds in the winter is a great gardening strategy.
We turned to HGTV to give us the scoop on prepping our gardens for spring. It turns out that planting in the winter gives plants a chance to acclimate to their new homes and start early root growth in the spring before the summer heat arrives. This is where your raised garden bed or planter box plays a key part in a thriving garden. Planting seeds in these closed but well ventilated spaces allows them to sit outside throughout the winter, and germinate on their own schedule. To ensure the best spring growth, look for seeds that adapt well to winter exposure. You can find out this information by reading the seed packets.
Plant evergreens to keep your greenery going through the winter months
Evergreen species tend to dominate in very cold northern areas, and also contribute to the beauty of the holiday months. Additionally, seasonal depression is very real and can be very difficult to manage. It is well-known that indoor plants, as well as spring and summer gardens, help with mental wellness during the warm months. So, why not keep that going through the colder months as well! Some outdoor spaces are blessed with big cedars, pine trees, and evergreens. If you don’t have it, you can make it happen by planting evergreen shrubs in your raised garden beds and planter boxes. We recommend the following shrubs that will thrive in your outdoor spaces this winter: boxwoods, junipers, blue holly, mountain laurel, bearberry, cotoneaster, and cedars.
DIY a winter arrangement for your planter
Those gorgeous winter arrangements you see at local garden centres, grocery stores, or farmers markets, are a fabulous choice for decorating your home for the winter. Even better, simply take your purchased winter arrangement and pop right into your cedar plant pot, planter box, or raised garden bed. Want to personalize your decor a little bit more, and get a little bit creative? It is totally possible to DIY a winter arrangement yourself, and if pinterest isn’t already your best friend, it is now! Pinterest has a million (well maybe not that much, but quite a lot) of DIY tutorials of how to make your very own, beautiful, winter arrangement. The best part? You can cultivate it right in the soil of your planter box, raised garden bed, or plant pot. To get you started, here are some materials you can forage locally in your forest, or, more conveniently, in your local craft store: Pine, cedar, fir, and spruce branches, evergreen bundles, pinecones, magnolia leaves, redtwig dogwood branches, berry branches, birch branches, holiday-themed ornaments, and curly willow.
Taking advantage of end of season sales is ALWAYS the goal.
Who here loves end of season sales? I raise my hand because you can catch me buying bathing suits in the fall, and fake Christmas trees in the New Year! This buying strategy works with all things gardening as well. Even though we have very much proved the benefit to fall and winter gardening and planting, the market does tend to shift away from gardening related items, and therefore sales are inevitable. Buying smart means buying raised garden beds and planter boxes during the off-season to get the best prices. Even better than good prices, you can avoid busy “purchase” times, that mean longer waits for items, competition when buying, and potential for stores to run out of stock. And even if you aren’t sold on starting your garden this fall or winter, our planters come packed neatly in a box that is great for storage in your closet, storage unit, basement, garage, or shed, until you are ready for it in the spring! Head over to our website Cedar Planters to checkout our current deals and specials!