Urban Garden Checklist for Winter Readiness

seasonal_06It’s Fall. It’s time to spruce up your outdoor spaces. Who wants to look out at an unsightly, messy, uncared for outdoor area? If you have plants in front or in back of your house, on a balcony, a patio, a deck, or in a courtyard, the following reminders are for you. Yes it’s clean-up time.

  1. Bite the bullet. It’s got to get done. Gently pull or dig your potted annual plants right out of their pots and containers. With empathy and kindness, place them in a trash bag; dirt and all. There is no other way. If you don’t do this, the frost will quickly turn them into wilted, sad, sickly, mushy messes. Brush off the pots and containers and put them somewhere to store them out of sight and mind. If you have the plastic growing pots, this is the time to just recycle them; which means throw them out.
  2. Cut back any plants that you know can survive inside during the cold months. It is highly recommended to cut back plants a lot to enable a more full and bushy regrowth for each plant. If you aren’t sure if a plant will endure indoor heat and less sun, try bringing it inside anyway. You will see in a short time if it is doing well or not. Only keep inside the plants that look like they are thriving. Keep them barely moist, since they will not need the quantity of water that they received while outside. Fall and winter are when plants go dormant and need much less watering. Why do many of us over water our plants? Who has the answer to this dilemma? Resist watering your inside plants. They don’t need it.
  3. Cut back Geraniums .  .  . way back. Put them anywhere inside; a basement or even a garage. They can even go in a sunny window. Water them very sparingly. The trick is to remember to water them. They will survive if they are watered just once in a while.
  4. Put all emptied pots, containers and saucers out of sight and stack according to size and shape.

Even though many of our outdoor plants look healthy in the Fall and some are still blooming, the cold and frost will shortly make many of them wilt and look really unsightly. Leave the plants that you know belong outside in the winter and discard the annuals that you know will not do well inside. Bring inside what you think will thrive inside. Cut back so your plants are not leggy and floppy. Move all the empty pots and put them somewhere handy for next Spring. You’ll be quite pleased with yourself when you have spruced up your outdoor spaces for the cold months ahead. Suggestion: Get yourself some evergreen plants and plants that are winter hardy. Place them in places you view when you look out your windows or as you enter your home. You’ll be glad you did!

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