People often ask if they need to remove their Gutter Garden planters for winter. The simple answer is “no”. It will withstand harsh winters.  The stainless steel ties will hold up for many years. Once cut, they are unusable.

However, there are some things you may want to do to tidy up the Gutter Garden and get it ready for spring planting.

  1. Remove plants and as much of the root system that you can easily. (HINT: you may want to put newspapers or a drop cloth down to minimize the clean-up) Some of the roots will be so fibrous that they will have ‘taken over’ the potting mix and possibly attached to the drainage filter. So, taking a sharp knife or gardening tool, cut four to six inch sections with the incision going all the way to the bottom of the planter. Then lift these sections out…starting in the middle and work to the ends…carefully avoiding the possibility that the drainage filter will be stuck to the potting mix/ root system.  If it appears that the filter wants to come up with the section, take a fork or gardening tool to hold down the filter as you lift out the 4” or 6” sections.
    This is what the roots look like at the end of the summer!

    The root structure of an herb garden.

If necessary, you can use a coffee filter to cover the holes

for future plantings.  These sections of ‘root-loaf’ can be put into a compost pile or thrown away.

  1. Once most of the potting mix/ roots are removed, use a small hand brush to sweep the remaining potting mix to the bottom of the GG. Be cautious not to scrape along the sealed end-caps.
  2. You might want to put some mulch in the planter to give it a finished look and to prevent weed seeds from invading the Gutter Garden. I generally ‘put it to bed’ by adding enough mulch to give the appearance of a full planter on which the snow can pile up! Some use holly, pinecones or evergreens to decorate for the holidays!
  3. In the spring, remove the mulch and use it in another location in your yard or save it to top off your Gutter Garden or other indoor/outdoor container planters once you have planted your spring flowers or vegetables.
  4. Then repeat what you did when you first installed them. (Put 3” of fresh potting mix in the bottom and water well. Then introduce the plants you want, using the medium the plants arrive in and your own potting mix.  Water well.) The top of the soil line can go all the way up to the bottom of the mounting holes in the back of your Gutter Gardens™.

Note: if you are planting seeds, the top 1” layer of potting mix should be the “Seed Starter” mix one can find at any garden store.  To water seeds, use a spray bottle until the seedlings appear to be established.