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How To Extend Your Growing Season

Posted on February 20th, 2019

Growing your own vegetables is so satisfying and they taste so much better than store-bought. But living in the north-east means we have to deal with the long cold winters that prevent us from enjoying fresh, home-grown vegetables year-round. Luckily, there are several ways to extend your growing season and enjoy year-round vegetables without moving to a warmer climate.

Build a Cold Frame Garden

Cold Frame gardening is a trend that is catching on in colder climates. The technique has been around for thousands of years but is being rediscovered by home gardeners as a great way to keep your vegetables growing all year.

There are several variations of the design but they mostly consist of a box, either sitting on the ground or dug a foot into the ground. It is covered with a transparent, hinged lid made of glass or plastic. Vegetables can be placed in planters or planted right into the ground. The sun will shine through the glass and naturally keep your plants warm so they can thrive. This can also be a good way to get your summer garden plants off to an early start.

Indoor Herb Garden

Basil, mint, dill, parsley, and thyme. All great herbs that make your dishes taste great and when they are freshly picked they taste even better. Herbs are some of the easiest plants to grow year-round as all you need is a small planter and no more space than your kitchen windowsill. Just make sure they get enough sunlight and water (having them in the kitchen window will always remind you to water them). For best results, use north and south facing windows to get the most sunlight and make sure there aren’t any cold drafts coming through the window.

herb garden

Utilize Your Sunroom or Enclosed Porch

If you don’t want your plants to succumb to the cold winters of Massachusetts you can always bring them indoors. If you have a sunroom or an enclosed porch that you can live without then you can turn it into your own greenhouse for a few months. These rooms usually have several large windows that allow light to come in, making an ideal environment for your vegetables and other plants.

Make a Hoop Tunnel

Hoop tunnels work similar to the cold frame garden in that they protect outside plants. Hoop tunnels or hoop gardens, dramatically extend the growing season of your favorite vegetables and the best part is, it’s cheap.

For this project, you’ll need some PVC water piping about half an inch (12mm) wide, plus some 20in (50cm) long lengths of rebar, two pipe caps, and some U-bolts or garden wire. To cover the tunnel you’ll need some greenhouse plastic or strong polythene,

What you’ll need:

  • ½ inch PVC piping
  • 20 inch lengths of rebar
  • Greenhouse plastic

Start by driving the rebar at equal lengths along the outside of your soon-to-be hoop garden. These will be the supports that the PVC will be anchored to. Then place one end of the PVC pipe over the rebar and bend it over and stick the other end over the opposite rebar so it forms an arch. Keep doing this until your garden is covered. This will support the plastic sheet that you drape over the structure. Secure the ends of the plastic sheet with rope or clamps so that it looks like a bag of bread. You’re done! Now your plants will be protected from frost and the harsh cold of winter.

 grow plants all year long

With these tips, you and your family won’t have to worry about running out of fresh vegetables in the winter and spring. If done correctly you’ll be able to continue to harvest and plant year-round.
While you worry about your year-round gardens let us worry about the rest of the yard. Get quality lawn care from Turf Unlimited and don’t worry about it. Give us a call at (888) 649-9919 or leave a message on our website.

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