Hello again, savvy savers! For this weeks Gardening Update Post, I wanted to share one of the projects I have been up to this weekend, and that is winterizing my front window boxes!
As most gardeners know, mulching is one the most important ways to maintain healthy landscaped plants, lawns, and bed displays. In fact, one of the many reasons why homeowner’s associations insist on mulch or pine straw for that matter. Mulching has many benefits to your landscaping efforts, such as:
- When applied correctly mulch has the following effects on plants and soils.
- Mulches prevent loss of water from the soil by evaporation
- Mulches reduce the growth of weds when the soil material itself is weed free, and applied directly enough to prevent weed germination or to smother existing weeds.
- Mulches also help your lawn and landscaping not only in the spring and fall, but also during the summer time by keeping the soil cooler during the summer period.
This leads me to the topic of winterizing your beds, and particularly your window boxes this coming season. Why should homeowners winterize their boxes and beds? In the winter, mulches serve to insulate the soil, keeping beds and boxes it warmer, which helps in the preventing of winter frost damage; this process is necessary as during summer, winterizing maintenance helps to keep Spring mulches in tact longer, helps preserve the nutrients in soil, and will untimely keep you with healthier, longer living plants into fall.
For my front window boxes, I have found that a fun, inexpensive way to winterize, and mulch these areas, is with pine cones.
To winterize your boxes, simply:
- Start with window boxes, planters, and pots which have been cleared of all annual plants.
- Have bulbs (if being planted) already sown into soil.
- Next, remove the first layer of soil, about two inches removed and replaced with fresh potting mix, and well mixed into existing bedding materials.
- At this point simple place pine cones three layers deep for winter; my 36″ wide boxes used 12 cones across and 3 cones high to create neat, inter-locking winterized mounds.
- Pine cones should remain in the boxes for one two weeks past the last day of weather dipping below 40 degrees.
- Pine cones can be removed, used for fire pits, chimineas, as fireplace starters, composted, or mulched into your lawn come the Spring as well!
This is an inexpensive, festive, and functional way to protect your window boxes, beds, and pots over winter, and I always receive complements from my neighbors whenever I do so!
I highly recommend this project!
Here’s to gardening,