Maintenance of the container garden was easy in the summer, but how should you care for it when it's getting cold? To improve the chance of your plants surviving the winter, follow these tips.
First, let's see if it's necessary to protect all the flora you are growing in the containers.
Annual plants such as the vegetables grow for one year only. It's impossible to keep them alive any longer. If you wish to continue growing a particular plant variety, collect its seeds and start them next spring.
However, perennial plants may require more attention. These originating in more frosty climate zones are hardy enough to survive without any problems, unless the winter is exceptionally cold. However, more sensitive species will need your help to stay safe during the winter.
Move your cultivars indoors if you can find enough space there. At home or in the garage the the plants are safe from the frost. Greenhouse makes another good spot for overwintering the veggies. Just remember to let some fresh air inside during the sunny days. By the way, you can find a cheap plastic greenhouse, or build a DIY one.
How should you prepare for the winter when you decide to keep the containers outside? First, check what materials the pots are made of. Porous materials like an unglazed clay tend to absorb water and can break when the moisture freezes. Remove the plants from these containers and transplant them into the more secure pots to prevent this problem.
Group all the plants together in the spot protected from the wind and close to the wall. Place them on the pavement, because it absorbs the sun rays and stays warmer than the soil.
For additional protection you have to insulate the pots with mulch. You can use the compost, autumn leaves, bark or straw, whatever is available.
Protect especially the roots and stem of the cultivars. These parts can rot when they touch the mulch directly, though. To prevent the disease, place an isolation layer in between the plant and the mulch. I like to use the straw mats for this purpose.
Now pick the spot where you will keep the pots and prepare the isolation and mulch. Follow these tips and your plants should survive the winter secure in their pots. If there's a problem, next time choose the sturdy plant varieties more suitable for your climate zone.
To find out more about the different types of containers and the cultivation of the plants in pots, check these container vegetable gardening tips.