How to Extend the Growing Season for Vegetable Gardening

What should you do if you live somewhere with a short growing season? In this article, you will learn how to extend the growing season for vegetable garden so you can grow your favorite crops and harvest them.

This will let you take control of what you can grow and how much you can grow even if the climate in your region is not ideal for growing vegetables.

 

Extending the Growing Season

If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere there’s sunshine all year round, then this isn’t a problem. But, for most of the country, wintertime is when you won’t be able to rely on your garden harvest.

The good news, it, you can still grow cool-season crops during this time. In fact, they prefer the lower temperature compared to that of summertime.

That said, for warm-season vegetables like tomatoes and peppers, you’ll need to resort to some season-extending techniques to keep growing them.

 

Look For Warmer Locations Within Your Home And Garden

Different sections of your home and garden will have areas that are warmer than others. These let you provide shelter for your plants when the cold season comes. Additionally, you can create microclimates in your garden that can provide warmth and protection.

 

Know When To Start Planting

Adjusting when you start planting allows you to extend your growing season as well. Here, you have two options. One is to start early. Or, you can grow them till late in the winter. You can accomplish the former by starting seeds indoors late in the winter or early in the springtime.

 

Hot Caps & Cloches

Hot caps and cloches are small protective covers that are just big enough to cover your plants. They’re shaped like a cone or pyramid, similar to the things servers use to cover your plate when presenting food, except taller.

The difference between the two is that hot caps are made of plastic while cloches are made from glass.

Either way, they both protect your seeds, seedlings and plants from the cold. But, you do need to remove then during sunny days because they don’t have vents. This allows air to circulate.

If you’re looking to save money, one way to create your own DIY hot cap is to cut off the bottom of milk jugs or large plastic containers. Then, use the top to cover your plant. This essentially works the same way as hot caps do.

 

Set Up Row Covers

Row covers are soft, transparent material that’s shaped like a tunnel to cover your plants. In most cases, you’ll see plastic sheeting or fabric used as the material.

That said, there are many different materials used to create row covers. Each one with its advantages and disadvantages.

For example plastic row covers are idea for colder weather. That’s because the material warms up the interior by as much as 30 degrees.

Fabrics like Agribon AG-30, AG-19 and AG-15 all vary in the amount of sun protection and insulation they provide. As such, which one you decide on will really depend on what you plan on using it for.

 

Related

 

Use Cold Frames

Cold frames are like mini greenhouses. They are just a few feet tall, don’t have a bottom and come with a transparent lid that you can open.

Their main purpose is to help keep your plants warm during the cold weather, protect them from winds and allow light to get through.

The best thing about cold frames is that you can build them yourself. Some basic carpentry skill is all you need to create your own cold frame.

 

Use Hoop House Or Greenhouse

A hoop house is somewhat a cross between a greenhouse and a row cover. It’s smaller and much simpler than a greenhouse. But, bigger than a row cover.

They’re called as such because they’re supported by half hoops or bent PVC pipes that resemble half a circle. Greenhouse plastic is then draped over the supports to create a tunnel where you can grow plants.

The plastic provides protection from the wind and other elements while allowing the sun to pass through. This makes the interior a good place for your garden to grow.

Although a bit more expensive than cold frames, cloches and row covers, hoop houses keep the air temperature warmer than cold frames and row covers.

Finally, there’s the greenhouse.

Greenhouses are on top of the list when it comes to climate control Unfortunately, they’re the most expensive as well. They warm even better than hoop houses and allow you to grow your entire garden in it.

 

Use Wall O Water Season Extenders

Wall O Water season extenders area product you can buy to protect your plants from very cold weather as well. They’re made of plastic that holds water.

You use them by “wrapping” the Wall O Water around your plant to keep it protected and warm. The water helps keep the plants inside warm, adding 2-3 extra weeks to your growing season.