Monthly Archives: October 2022

Window Box Ideas

Window Box Ideas

As we wrap up another summer here in Utah, you may want to consider adding window boxes to a couple areas of your home for next season. Window boxes have been around since early Roman times, but they started to get widely popular in the early 1900s. For many of us with tiny yards, (or not) a window box can provide that green feel in an easily customizable way. Here are some great ideas for window boxes:

  1. Mini vegetable garden: You don’t have to have an acre lot to enjoy some home-grown veggies. Tomatoes, lettuce, bush beans, and radishes all do well in a planter box, and if you have the room for a deep enough box, you can even go for some carrots, potatoes, or onions. The window box needs to be at least 6-12 inches deep and have adequate drainage holes.
  2. Herb heaven: Fresh herbs don’t need a lot of space to be productive. Cilantro, sage, mint, and basil are smart choices and can be added to a variety of meals. You can mix these with other flowers or vegetables to create an eye-catching mini garden.
  3. Flowers and vines: There are many great options for flowers and vines that will do well in a planter. Sun lovers include marigolds, lavender, geraniums, or honeysuckle. Shadier spots may like ferns, pansies, snapdragons, begonias, or ivy. Mix and match what you’re drawn to, and stress less knowing with window boxes it’s easy to replace small portions where flowers may not make it all summer to keep the box refreshed.

Window Box Materials

The material you choose can impact the overall style, but you also want to consider maintenance needs. Wood boxes will need to be coated with a protective layer and will require some upkeep each year. There are plastic options that look like wood that are durable and don’t require more maintenance than a little wipe down now and then. Metal planters are gorgeous and popular but be mindful of the location and color. Dark metal planters in the full sun can get very hot, burning the plants and drying out the soil quickly. If you’re set on that lovely metal planter, consider adding a plastic pot liner to provide some insulation and try placing it where it’s in a shadier location. Another popular choice is a hayrack planter with coco fiber. These are lightweight and attach easily to exterior walls. The fiber lining is water-preserving, and the whole aesthetic of this window box is very classic and timeless. Woven planters are also popular because they add an element of texture to elevate the whole look.

Many window boxes on the market today come with weatherproofing properties and are UV resistant. Some may even come equipped with a self-watering system, which saves a lot of time and stress. If you want a window box, but you’re not quite ready to attach something to your house (or you are renting), try getting a box that will secure to deck railing or balconies to get the vertical garden you’ve always wanted. When planting your window box garden, be sure to start with the best possible soil from The Dirt Bag.

A Little Fall Prep Makes for a Beautiful Spring

A Little Fall Prep Makes for a Beautiful Spring

We certainly don’t want to rush the wonderfulness of the fall season, but it really is a great time to come up with a game plan for spring. This is the time to start planting cold-hearty bulbs for early spring blooms, and a little preparation now will have you feeling extra grateful when spring hits and you have a stunning garden of bloomers. Plant bulbs anytime between October and November for best results along the Wasatch Front. Temperatures should be around 40 or 50 degrees at night, or at least six weeks before you expect the ground to freeze. The reason you need to plant certain cold-hardy spring bulbs in the fall is because they need to go through a freezing period before they can sprout.

Ideal choices for fall planting are cold-hardy bulbs such as tulips and crocuses, but also consider daffodils and hyacinths. There are many choices, but these seem to be local favorites around Utah. They like be tucked in to sleep about six inches deep or more. The bulb packaging will give more specifics on the depth, so pay attention to those details. A general rule to remember is most bulbs like to be three times as deep as they grow tall.

Give Your Bulbs a Healthy Start

It’s tempting to dig a hole and just toss the bulb in, but you want to take a little time to prepare the bed. Remove weeds, loosen the soil, and add some compost for added nutrients, or possibly sand if you need a little extra drainage for the area. Give it a cozy blanket of mulch, and water the bulb well only at the planting time. Soggy bulbs will rot, so it’s important not to overwater them. You may want to mark where you planted with a stick or tag so you don’t accidentally dig them up later.

Consider buying your bulbs at a good time. Many nurseries start selling bulbs in August to try and clear space for the new season and the upcoming holidays. If you buy your bulbs in the later summer, you’ll need to store them carefully in a dry area for a couple months. Check the bulbs that they are plump and firm. If they are squishy and soft, they’ve probably already rotted, or they are moldy.

It’s also important to ensure you plant the right bulbs for the fall. There are some bulbs, such as dahlias and gladiolus, that need to be planted in the spring. Once you get your fall-planters in the ground, don’t apply any fertilizer until the spring. They will need to just lay dormant through the winter, so fertilizing isn’t necessary until you start to see the first shoots popping up.

Bulbs are a fun way to add personality to a garden. With their early blooming heartiness, your garden will be lovely well before the rest of your yard starts to get green and gorgeous. Like any plant, the right soil is critical to its health. Come see The Dirt Bag and get your bulbs started off right.