Ways to Extend Your Growing Season

Ways to Extend Your Growing Season

Use windbreaks, enclosures, and covers for ways to extend your growing season.

Many of you extend the growing season by using various plant covers, such as growing in a greenhouse or hoop house, beneath a floating row cover or cold frame, or even in a wheelbarrow with holes drilled in the bottom covered in plastic overnight.

Park Seed Kozy Coats Insulating Plant Protector, Set of 3

The great benefit of using a wheelbarrow is that you can move your small “greenhouse” into a warmer location if it gets too chilly without bending over or kneeling. Just put the wheelbarrow on something to raise it to the desired height.

Create your own medium hoop houses for raised beds using homemade tomato cages.

Forty to sixty feet of gutter heat tape can be looped back and forth in a 5-by-8-foot area to warm up the growing environment. Then, using PVC, rebar, and 6mm clear plastic sheeting, construct a low hoop house on top of it, covering it with a foot of good soil.

Frost King RC60 Heating Cables, 60′, Black

To create humidity and trap bugs, put two brooder bulbs inside and fill a 5-gallon bucket with water. A growing technique that allows you to start the growing season with at least a 6–8-week head start.

ECOSolutions 5 Gallon Bucket, Pack of 3, Heavy Duty Plastic Bucket, Comfortable Handle

When the weather gets chilly, a 150-square-foot raised bed with a wire enclosure can be covered in bubble wrap.

Duck Brand Bubble Wrap Roll, 12” x 175’, Original Bubble Cushioning

Tires can protect plants. The tire serves only as a plant perimeter wall and is not utilized as a planter to contain soil. It produces a microclimate and serves as a windbreak. You may add extra warmth by covering the tires with a gardening cloth.

For taller plants, fashion a cage out of the tire’s interior perimeter using chicken wire (or another type of wire fencing), cover it with cloth, and use it as a temporary cold frame. For plants that require more support, you can stack two tires.

Chicken Wire Fencing Mesh 16.9 inch X 32.8 Ft, 0.6 Inch Hexagonal Galvanized Floral Chicken Wire Fence for Garden

Using a DIY cold frame, you can warm the soil in raised beds with black plastic sheets.

Frost King P1025B/6 Polyethylene Sheeting, 10′ x 25′ x 6 mil., Black

If the bottoms are removed, one-gallon water jugs can be saved; the plastic screw tops should remain in place. Put a circular electric fence post at the end of each garden row and suspend jugs through their handles from the post as the weather outside begins to become chilly. They are prevented from swaying by using this method.

If necessary, anything that requires warmer soil and defense against frost and chilly air receives a little greenhouse in the evening. You can remove the top caps in the morning to prevent heated air from accumulating when the sun shines on them. After planting, vines will still benefit from this.

Adapt your usage to the season. Use garden fabric and water-filled insulating plant covers for your early tomatoes to get a start on the spring. Using garden cloth and low tunnels wrapped in plastic, you may extend your season into the fall and winter.

Fshow Garden Cloches,20 Pack Reusable Plant Bell Cover, Bell Jar Cloches for Protection Against Sun, Frost (Green)

Early spring ground is warmed more quickly by raised beds made of tires stacked two or three high, and the sidewalls of the tires store water longer than plain earth.

Additionally, the height makes weeding simpler because there is less need to stoop. Wire cages can hold a shade if necessary and prevent the wind from tearing things apart.

Extend to 12 Seasons by Growing Cold-Hardy Varieties

Choosing cold-hardy types or developing your own by letting plants self-seed and produce volunteers the following spring is one strategy frequently mentioned for avoiding frost in gardens.

Which plants can withstand the cold? Many green leafy vegetables, especially those with crinkly leaves, include collards—the more wrinkled, the more resistant to cold. You can have success growing collards, Mâche salad greens, and drumhead cabbage in the colder months.

Most of my plants are allowed to self-seed. Consistently, volunteers outperform the plants I plant.

Consider scattering lettuce seeds onto late-winter snow to grow a lovely bed of early-leaf lettuce.

Warm the Soil with Mulch

To extend the season, deeply mulch the soil. For the best mulching tools read here.

Black clay soil warms up more quickly in the spring with the help of a deep, rich mulch. You can plant earlier and spare the roots from stress.

In the late fall and winter, rake leaves onto your raised bed as mulch.

Put garlic and potatoes under the mulch in the fall, ensuring they are well covered.

Watching them emerge as soon as the soil warms up in the spring is a delight. The potatoes are content and productive if the mulch keeps out the light and cold; I never have to strain my back digging for them.

You can spread black plastic or reusable landscaping cloth to destroy weeds and warm the soil in the early spring.

Mulch using wheat straw obtained from a nearby farmer. Add it to your chicken run and coop to use later as mulch.

Plant seeds in pots or grow them year-round in containers!

Keep a supply of shoots on hand (not quite microgreens, but close). You don’t need grow lights. Therefore it is simple to do. Seeds should be sown in the suggested soil mixture, left in the dark for four days, and then placed in natural light (even a north window) for three to five days. Even the hot radish shoots can be picked and eaten.

Grow indoors, and manipulate the weather, so your growing season lasts all year.

Transplant seeds outdoors after they have been started indoors. Put seeds inside upcycled food containers to start them. They seem to require heat and light—lots of light—to thrive. I shine numerous normal light bulbs in cheap, portable light fixtures on them even though they are beside a double window.

Even though I know that grow lights should be used, I am only supplementing the sunshine for a few months to prevent the plants from growing too long and lanky. So far, so good. Once the ground is warm enough, take your plants inside a PVC container covered with clear plastic.

By constructing multi-tiered beds, we extend the growing season. It naturally divides the land into different zones, or morning light and afternoon shadow, which keeps the soil colder and more humid and enables the planting of fall crops early and cold-weather crops to continue growing into the summer.

Yaheetech 3 Tier Raised Garden Bed Outdoor Elevated Vegetables Growing Planter 47 x 47 x 22in for Backyard

Summer crops can be planted earlier and last longer into the fall season, thanks to the intense afternoon sun on the side of these beds.

These are just a few ways to extend your growing season.


  • Marji

    My great-grandfather planted and maintained a large garden when I was a small child. He grew enough to feed many of our neighbors. His love of gardening is what sparked my lifelong interest in gardening. My grandparents continued his direction, as well as my parents. It was natural to have a garden of my own and continue the process, enjoy the results, and to share with others.