Getting ready for your next box- Fall/ Over Winter 2020
When do I plant and how do I transition from one season to the next? This is one of the trickiest parts to gardening. Lots of elements need to be factored in, such as how long it takes some plants to start producing, how long they produce for, and what should be done when they are coming to the end of their life cycle.
The good news is that we do most of this work for you! We've taken into account the sizes of each plant, how long it takes for your delicious herbs and veggies to start coming in, and how long they produce for. We use this data to come up with your annual production plan which maximizes what your garden can produce.
Using your annual production plan, we then send you the right plants, at the right times-- your #EasiestGardenEver!
With the next seasons' planting coming just around the corner, now is the time to start preparing for your fall/ over winter box planting.
If this coming box is your first box, click HERE for our getting started guide. If you're transitioning from the summer to the fall box, the question still remains-- what do I do to get ready for fall? As always, we're here to make it as easy as it can get, so here's some helpful tips and FAQ's:
How much space do I need?
If you already have lots of space in your garden-- it's easy. You would want to plant in a new area. This allows your last area to rest a bit and get ready for next season.
If you're like most people though, you'll need to clear out some space for the next season. We always recommend that you use 2/3's of your available space for any given box (you'll have 1/3 still growing from your last box when you get your new box, but want to clear out space so you have 2/3 of your area ready for a new box). The winter crops are slightly smaller, so you can get away with using only 1/2 of your space. But sticking to the 2/3 rule is optimal.
It might sound tricky, but so long as you only use 2/3 of your space free when you plant a box, we've designed the planting program so everything will flow really well from season to season. When you receive a new box, about 1/3 of your space should still be growing form last season, 1/3 should be the extra space you kept from your last box, and 1/3 of your space will be from crops you already harvested from your last box. So a great tip is to remember to always try and plant a box in around 2/3 of your available space. Check out the QuickStart guides at the bottom of this blog to get an idea of what this looks like.
Which plants should I take out?
So you are keeping 1/3 of your space growing from last season, have 1/3 of your space already empty from the extra space you left when planting your last box, but need to clear out 1/3 of your garden to make space for your next box. What plants do you decide to pull out? Here's the list we run down when deciding how to free up space:
- Take out last seasons' plants that have already been harvested. Normally the smaller plants grow faster and have already been harvested or are getting close to being harvested. Types such as lettuce should have been picked some time ago, and you can take out any remnants of harvested plants if haven't already.
- Remove any dead, dying, or diseased plants. Since nearly all veggie plants are annual plants, you'll want to remove them once they start nearing the end of their lives. Even if you could extend their lives past a year, they're often not as productive in following seasons and can carry disease which can damage your other plants, so it's best practice to remove plants at the end of the season. You can start to tell that the plants are coming to the end of their life cycle when they are looking diseased (brown or unusual shaping/ scarring on the leaves towards the top of the plant) or when there is not much new fruit appearing. It's normal to see leaves at the bottom of a plant start to turn brown, and that is a normal part of growth. The issues come when the new leaves towards the top of the plant are also effected.
- Intercropping is an agricultural practice where you grow multiple plant types in the same area. You can do the same in your home garden, and this is particularly helpful if you're short on space. What this looks like practically speaking is placing the new plants in between the old ones. This can work great for many plant types. For example, it takes tomatoes 2-3 months to start producing. Because of that, you'll get your next tomato plants when your last ones are just starting to produce. Why? Because if you want all tomatoes all season long, you'll need to plant a few months apart. Then, when your first tomatoes are dying off 2-3 months from now, the ones you're planting now are just starting to come in. It's really great! If you space the new tomato plants in between the old ones (trying to make sure they get enough sunlight so they can grow strong), the new ones will overtake the old ones at the perfect time!
Why can't I just keep my plants going?
Nearly all veggie plants are annual plants. That means that they live their entire lives in just one season. At the other end of the spectrum, you have perennial plants that grow for many years-- like trees. While it would be great to plant a squash plant and have it produce squash forever, unfortunately that's just not how mother nature made them. They grow, produce, and die off each season.
The benefit of your annual veggie plants is that they grow really fast (within a few months they produce), compared to perennial plants which can take many years before they produce a thing. The drawback is that you need to have annual "cycles"-- planting, growing, harvesting, and taking the plants out each season. That's where we've stepped in to help-- getting you the right plants, at the right times, so the complicated back end of what to do and when to do it is taken care of for you.
Should I plant the same thing in the same spot season after season?
It's better to move different types to different spots. This is because each plant has its own particular tastes (nutritional needs). By making sure they move spots, you'll keep them happy and healthy.
Well, we always like to remind you about the basics. What do plants need? Food, water and shelter (i.e. protection from pests). If you'd like a more in depth reminder of the basics, check out our Getting Started page. But just as a refresher:
- Food- Plants thrive off of healthy soil. Composting is a great way to build up your soil, but if you're needing a jump start (or just want your plants to have that extra boost), adding some plant food really helps. HERE's a link with some products we really like.
- Water- Remember, watering your plant babies is really important-- especially at the beginning. You want your soil to be moist, but not damp. HERE's some products that can help. THIS little gadget in particular is really fun because it lets you know if you've watered too much or not enough.
- Shelter- A home is to you and me what pest control is to plants-- it helps keep them safe. Making sure you have good pest protection, especially when your plant babies are young and delicate is really important. HERE is a link to some good organic and conventional pest control products. If you're looking for the easiest option, a systemic product such as THIS one do a great job. If you're looking for organic, THIS 3-in-1 spray might be a big help. Since your fall plants grow for a longer period of time, it's particularly important that you find what works for you so your plants can live long and healthy lives. HERE's a blog we wrote that helps explain pest control a bit more. And as always, be sure to follow the instructions on the label of any pest control product.
- Just for Fun- Looking for some useful tools, cool accessories, or fun garden toys? We love making our garden as amazing as it can be, so we put together THIS list of garden tools & accessories that we think you might love too!
As a reminder, we're all about plants. That's what we're great at and that's what we focus on. We don't sell any of these gardening tools. The links on those pages take you to Amazon to order and fulfill the orders since they do an Amazing job at getting you whatever you want right away. We always want to make things as fun, easy, and convenient as they can get though which is why we put these collections together with products we know and love. We hope you find them really helpful as well!
What's coming in the Fall / Over Winter 2020 box?
Thanks for asking! Here's what we're planning on sending:
Please remember that you might receive a slight variant of this this. Why is that? Well, as you have probably already noticed-- agriculture is tricky! Some things go as planned, others don't. There's a lot that you can control (watering, pest control, when you're planting, what you're planting...), but there's also a lot you can't (how hot it is, if there's a hurricane, if a flock of birds comes and eats your tomatoes...).
We plan for this, plant extras of everything just in, and are always watching with a caring eye. But even doing everything we can, things still happen. That's why what we send might vary slightly from what we were originally planning on sending. Not to worry though-- we'll always be sending you only the best varieties that we've trialed and fell in love with. And we think you'll fall in love with them too...
Thanks so much for being a part of Leaf'd Box! As always, feel free to shoot us a message on social media or at firstname.lastname@example.org. We're always here to help!