Stephanie Facey started Bloomin Bin in 2016 after being diagnosed with cancer. “During my recovery, I wanted to garden more,” she says, “and at the time, there were no gardening subscription boxes, so I ended up starting one!”
Unique among plant subscription boxes, Bloomin’ Bin offers gardening options for two types of seasonal gardens: flowers and produce. (In October, the featured plants will be onions and poppies!) As a certified Master Gardener, Stephanie uses her expertise in gardening to select and feature new types of seeds each month, plus detailed planting instructions, for Bloomin’ Bin subscribers.
“I usually plan out my overall theme a year in advance, but with the pandemic, I’ve been moving stuff around more recently, because some things are or are not available,” Stephanie says. “I source seeds from reputable growers, and products from the same places that sell to nurseries.”
Though less-experienced gardeners might think of fall as a less-successful season for planting and gardening, Stephanie explains that it’s totally possible to keep your garden going strong through autumn and winter. “I’d love it if everyone had their own backyard garden!” she says. “That’d be such a cool accomplishment.”
All you need to do, she says, is keep 5 tips in mind.
Tip 1: Mulch is Key
“Whether planting or tucking away your garden for winter, mulch is key!” Stephanie says. “If you can, utilize leaves that fall from the trees -- shredded is best, as whole leaves can create a moisture barrier that can dry out the soil. If you must buy mulch, avoid anything that’s been dyed, as it will leach into the soil below.”
Tip 2: Water, Water, Water
“Don’t forget to water! There are times during the winter when it is extra windy and cold; this can really dry out soil and harm plant roots and exposed foliage.”
Stephanie adds, “Even if a plant doesn’t look like it’s growing, it’s usually feeding through the soil and roots, and water is essential to this process. Plus, watering can help raise soil temperature, so giving plants a deep watering before a freeze can actually help to insulate them.”
Tip 3: Coddle Your Most Sensitive Plant Babies
“If you have the room, move in anything sensitive,” she advises. “Every fall, I clear out my shed, greenhouse, and half the garage to make spaces for plants. If anything is still flowering before a predicted freeze, or I have any concern about it being damaged by cold, it gets packed up and squared away for the worst parts of winter.
“Grow lights can keep plants going, but a heat source is absolutely essential to protecting tender plants from harsher weather conditions. Plus, it can extend the flowering season on tropical plants!”
Tip 4: Keep in Mind Where You Live
Northern gardeners, Stephanie says, should try growing something inside. “Herbs, smaller potted plants, or even starting new plants from seed... there are so many plants to try that you can entertain yourself for months with new plant babies!”
Southern growers, on the other hand, are a bit luckier, weather-wise. “Fall and winter is one of the better times to garden in the south,” she says. “Working outside without getting heatstroke is great! Plus, you have a full extra season to grow anything that normally dies in the summer. Try out new vegetables or start some heat-sensitive flowers and get a POP of color all year!”
Tip 5: Don’t Give Up!
“Never stop growing -- even if you think you have the blackest thumbs around, patience and a little effort are all you really need to grow with success,” Stephanie says. “Start small. If it dies, try again, and if it survives, you accomplished the goal... now try something new!”