Moving the garden inside

Fuchsia 'Gartenmeister Bonstedt', Coleus and Peppermint geraniumI’m having a really hard time doing my job today. Gail has set an all-moved-into-the-greenhouse deadline of October 15 and that means I need to get busy now digging up the tender plants and loading the cart with container plants and bringing them all inside. But those plants are still so beautiful outside that I can’t help but drag my feet and find everything else to do instead. But it must be done. If only there was a frost warning in the forecast, (thank the stars there isn’t!) I’m sure I’d move at steadily fast pace and feel justified in breaking up favorite combinations. But even though a lot of our tender plants can take the cold and even light frosts some of them, it’s less shocking to their little systems to come inside before we turn on the heat. The same goes for houseplants – especially any that won’t have a relatively humid greenhouse to live in over the winter. If you haven’t brought your plants in yet, consider doing it soon so that they can begin to acclimatize to life on the inside.the shady container bed

I have to admit that there is a part of me that likes this particular transition in one way and I’m even secretly glad to have the time to do it right. There’s almost nothing I love better than grooming plants and potting them up. Taking care of the container plants doesn’t even feel like work. Truth be told, I have a slightly perverse tendency to put that off to do something else that might feel more important simply because it is less enjoyable somehow. But potting up and grooming plants before or as they come in for the winter is really important no matter how Zen blissful. Take the time now to clean off dead leaves, prune and shape, weed, check for critters, and give your plants a mildly soapy bath if they’re like mine at home and covered in scale and sooty mold. And re-pot them now to save making a mess of scattered potting soil inside later. As for fertilizing, (a very rare treat for my plants at home, alas) the rule of thumb is to quit feeding by Halloween and resume when the days get appreciably longer triggering new a new growth cycle – usually February or March.

Have you moved your houseplants and and/or tender stock plants back inside yet? Do you have any tips to share?

5 thoughts on “Moving the garden inside

  1. Oh, I’m envious! I moved a bunch of stuff inside in a panic when frost was threatened last week… and bid the rest of what was left in the ground a hearty “good luck, guys!” as I went to bed that night. (They all survived. Even my basil and SPV were fine through the cold temps.)

    So now I’m dealing with all of the loose potting soil, and cleanup, and general mess inside. Like you said, it’s so much easier to take the time doing it now, outside, before you bring them in. :)

    Kim, It’s easier but harder… Gail would call it a “mental toughness test” and I often fail those. The garden is being pummeled by rain and wind today – I think it will feel easier to take it apart now… I’m glad your garden survived the chill and that you can be more leisurely about the rest of your to-dos! -kris

  2. I am slowly working my way on moving things inside. Down here it seemed like one day it was summer and the next winter so that sped me up a bit. No frost but houseplants are looking rough. I carry them one at a time as I am coming in and going that way. That way a little at a time. It’s great you have a greenhouse and a deadline is sometimes good.

    Tina, I think you have the right idea. Little by little the greenhouse here is filling and I find that the more I bring in, the more I want to. -kris

  3. I am dragging my feet but I have brought in a couple of succulent containers which were suffering with the cooler temps. So many more and where to put them? Sacrifices will be made. :) Wish I were there to help you both.

    Layanee, I wish you were here too! “Sacrifices will be made”??? Succulent sacrifice just wouldn’t be possible for me or Gail. You should see the bevy I potted up yesterday and we’ve got the monster agave still to wrestle inside too. -kris

  4. Forecast calls for 30s Saturday night, and colder Sunday. My foot dragging will come to an end this weekend. Bulb- and garlic-planting may have to wait a week.

    Oh brrrrr! But in a way I envy you just a little. Not really. I didn’t mean that. I’m not ready for a frost. I take it all back. Good luck, Craig! -kris

  5. Triage time around here. Limited sunny window space and always aware of my best intentions to water and tend to plants tucked in cool bedrooms, out of the way. Out of sight…..etc. So I am judiciously tossing into the compost heap some hapless victims. Always keep my venerable clivia and begonia that burst into bloom in late winter. Yum.

    I kept a lot of good composted potting soil in covered plastic tubs in the old shed last year and the new potted plants this year thrived in it. I’m doing that again. Today’s rain and shine and gusty winds have made this job exciting to say the least. Carry on!

    Ginny, It sounds like tough love but we (and I personally) could probably do a little more culling of the herd. And we need to figure out some way to store compost inside to save me having to chip off the ol’ block over the winter… Thanks for the reminder. -kris

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