Currently, there's snow outside and it's well below freezing. But my mind is on spring! There are so many things you can do now to improve your chances of having a successful garden this year. And the earlier you get to planning - the better! Here's my to-do list this time of year:
Plan Your Garden
For both my yard and my GreenStalk container veggies, I am planning what will grow, when I will buy and who I will buy from. If you wait until the last minute stores may be sold out and you are forced to pick from a less-than stellar selection or worse, have to go to a store that you don't trust. For example, I know that I want to grow lettuce in the spring. I am ordering seeds this week so I know I'll get the variety that I want/need. Which brings me to my next point...
Order Supplies Now
Don't wait! Buy what you need now. It's so much more frustrating and time consuming to buy plants in the spring and realize you don't have anywhere to plant them or a hose to water them! If you need a new hose, or planter, or fertilizer, get it now. You can do your research and shop around for the best deal by comparing different prices on websites like https://agron.io/. If the garden center in your area isn't open yet then do your research online so you will know exactly what you're looking for when the time comes for your shopping trip.
One of my favorite things to do in the winter is to gather gardening inspiration. I read blogs and watch videos to see what other gardeners had success and failure with. This is also very helpful for garden planning because I can see how other plants look when they are fully mature and decide if I want to take on that plant in my garden. Everything looks so beautiful in the garden centers in the spring that it tempts me to buy plants that I can't keep up with. Doing my research helps reign-in those impulse buys!
Part of getting prepared for the new season is to clean out your existing containers and take inventory of all of your gardening equipment. If you need something to shift all the leaves from autumn and winter that love to blanket the ground, make sure you look through some of the best leaf blowers at sites like Thebestleafblowers.com for the job! They'll save a heck of a lot of time. With your equipment in check, you need to organize your seeds, create space to store your equipment and check expiration dates. This process will make things so much easier when the weather warms up and you're ready to plant. Everything will be in it's place and you will have already done the not-so-fun "dirty work."
I meet so many new gardeners who say, "I've tried this or that and I just kill every plant I touch." That used to be me! But when a plant would die, I would try again. A big part of learning how to garden is trial and error. Sometimes plants grow and sometimes they die. Sometimes you can figure out why and sometimes you can't, but that's part of the adventure! I believe the biggest errors in container gardening have to do with soil or water. You can read more about how to avoid choosing a bad potting mix or over/underwatering on our blog.
I hope you'll try container gardening in 2017 - it really is so much fun!
Cody Catherine Thomas