How Your Customers Should Prepare Growing Containers for Winter
The pandemic of 2020 introduced an entirely new generation to the art of gardening. With limited knowledge at their disposal, they’ve relied on the internet as a definitive resource to grow plants, vegetables and everything in between. As the growing season concludes, the next big question – especially for those with containers gardens – is how to prepare growing containers for winter?
Container gardens were huge in the spring of 2020. GardenDesign.com says, “Container gardens are great for beginning gardeners, people who have limited space or anyone who wants to dress up their porch or patio.”
Growing containers were flying off the shelves at big-box stores and garden centers, and even Amazon found themselves struggling to keep containers in inventory.
Because of this gravitation towards container gardens, it’s important to understand the best approach for protecting this new investment as the season for growing goes dormant. This is great information to pass along to your new customers at garden centers and nurseries in all your fall/winter communications.
Winter Preparation for Growing Containers
Cleaning your Containers
Pests and plant diseases are not exclusive to novice growers. Even the most seasoned gardener might find themselves with a fungal disease or leaf-feeding pest which can prove fatal to the plant. If your container garden experienced any sort of pests or plant diseases during the growing season, it’s critical you dispose of the soil and clean out the container to avoid any future contamination.
To clean the container, mix one-part household bleach to nine parts water. It’s best to submerge the container for ten minutes if possible, otherwise, simply use a spray bottle to saturate the container and let it sit for ten minutes before rinsing. Make sure the area you’re working in is protected to avoid any damage from the bleach.
Ceramic or clay containers should never be left outdoors over the winter – especially if you live in cold weather zones. The expansion and contraction of moisture in the soil will often crack the pot making it impossible to repair. The same holds true for plastic and resin containers as well.
If you’re unable to store your growing containers out of the elements, group them close to your home or dwelling where it provides some much-needed protection. Wrap them in bubble wrap or newspaper and then cover them with an ordinary kitchen garbage bag – tying it tightly with rope or twine so it doesn’t blow off in the wind. This will help insulate the containers from temperature fluctuations.
If you’ve planted perennials in your growing containers (plants which return for more than one growing season) it’s important to remember they’re still living and require watering over the winter months. Many times, rain and snowfall are enough to hydrate perennials, but container gardens are often forgotten. The ideal time to water is during the day when temperatures have warmed above freezing. If the temperatures don’t rise above freezing, wait to water.
New gardeners have made it through one growing season – congratulations to them! By communicating the information above, you’ll ensure their new hobby continues to grow and prosper come the spring of 2021. Happy gardening!
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