Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Year Round gardening

Wow the month and the Alphabet is almost over. We are down to Y in the A to Z Challenge for Bloggers.

Today I'm using Y to talk about year around gardening. It might not be possible every where to have a garden all year but there are tricks and tips for lots of areas to extend your season.

Want to get a jump on the season. Start your seeds indoors, before the ground is ready and you'll have a good plant stock to start the season with. We start peppers, notoriously slow growers, in January. We also start them from seeds about now but this gives us a longer season of pepper availability. It doesn't take much . We have a green house but we don't use it for the small stuff, we use the extra bathroom to start with. We bring in shelving and some under-counter lights with daylight or grow bulbs the room is warm but we'll use rope lights under the pots for the first week or so to help warm the soil.

Another way to extend your harvest goes along with this. Plant your seeds in batches days or even a week apart. And as long as the weather is holding out continue to reseed. This helps with the problem of everything coming on at once and you have a glut. This way you'll have lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers for your salad ripening each week!

Another way to start early or run late is to build a cold frame. These can be very easy or very complex. They can be a permanent fixture or something that gets put up every year. A simple one could be a old shower door that you picked up at a salvage yard, laid over straw bales. 
Image from Mother Earth News
It can be a permanent structure. I would expect these to work best in colder climates.
a completed cold frame
Image from This Old House

Row Covers are another way to go for plants that are winter crops, but that might need a bit more protection if the weather turns icy or very cold. These are nice in the fact that they can be used at night but taken off during the day so that they can get the sun and water that they need. Or if you need a bit more warmth they can be left on to increase the inside temperature by 5 to 8 degrees. Sometimes that's all that's needed to get through a storm.

image credit

Hopefully these ideas will help you get a bit more out of your garden season with out a lot of money being expended. Most of these ideas can be made with things that just might be in your shed or that can be made out of things you can recycle that are laying around.

Thanks for stopping by. Tomorrow is the last day of April and the last day of the A to Z Challenge. 
For Z I'll be writing about one last important part of planning your garden. Zones! What zone are you in? We'll find out on Thursday!