Fresh vegetables are one of those luxuries that I miss during the winter months. Today’s travel technology has made it possible for fruit and vegetables to be shipped all around the globe any time of the year, but those aren’t the same as fresh from the garden (and they cost so much more).
Last year was the first year I experimented with an expanded season. I had read about year round gardening in a book I checked out of the library. Basically it involves using vegetables that flourish in cooler weather, along with removable greenhouses to help make it possible to grow vegetables all year long.
That first year was not a roaring success, but it was definitely different. Weeds were not as much of a hassle and working in the garden did not require me dodging fire ants and yellow jackets – so those traits were nice. But it is hard to remember to water a garden when all you really want to do is curl up by the roaring fire because it is cold outside. It was nice being able to serve my own salad for Christmas dinner though.
- Globe Onions
- Brussels sprouts
Lengthening the Growing Season
There are a number of different things that can be done for little cost that can make your growing season longer. A little planning and re-arranging of your planting area can help you extend your growing season to the full year.
Use existing walls to break the wind off your plants and you will help to increase the temperature where your garden sits (sometimes up to 15 degrees) and also reduce the drying out caused by the wind.
These can consist of a frame with glass or heavy plastic or individual clear plastic containers. They will use the solar energy to warm the ground and the plant. Be sure to remember to remove them or ventilate them on bright sunny (or warm) days.
Cold frames are permanent structures that are used for planting fall and winter crops. These are better in regions where the growing seasons are the shortest. The cold frames protect against temperatures, winds and even frost. Almost anything can be used to construct a cold frame (old windows or glass doors) or you can purchase kits if you are uncomfortable creating your own design.
Kathryn Lang is a freelance writer, wife of Keith and mother of three active boys. The family recently began the process of starting a flower nursery. She and the boys enjoy hybridizing daylilies and iris and discovering new wildflowers around the property. You can read more about their adventures at Garden Blooms. Kathryn also writes a guide for mothers and women who are struggling to be all that they can be at Proverbs 31 Living .