Thursday, August 19, 2010

Home Vegetable Gardening Doesn’t End in the Fall

Does the sound of the NFL or talks of the NHL season get you bummed out because that also spells the end of the vegetable gardening season? Well don’t let it. You may not be able to grow tomatoes and peppers in the cooler months but there are plenty of crops you can grow, and also means by which to extend their growth right into winter.

There are so many varieties of vegetables that you can plant when the temperatures drop that you can literally be shocked and will invariably ask yourself why you didn’t garden more in the cooler months in the past.

Radishes, lettuce (all varieties), spinach and Brussels sprouts are just four of the many vegetable varieties to choose from. We have a nice PDF you can download from our website that lists vegetables that can be grown when the temperatures have dropped.

These vegetables grow fairly quickly and produce into the months where there might be a fear of frost. I will get more into protecting them in a moment. If going organic is not that important to you, you can also purchase various varieties of seeds that have been genetically engineered to tolerate cooler temperatures.

Once you have your vegetables of choice in the ground you will want to come up with the means to protect them from cold gusting winds. One excellent option is something called a cold frame. It is basically a frame you build around you garden to keep the winds off of the vegetables. They can be as elaborate as a greenhouse or something simple like stacking bales of hay around the garden. Do a Google search on cold frame gardening and you will see what I mean.

But let’s say you don’t want to build a cold frame and you lack the space for a greenhouse. You can always plant your vegetables in pots and grow them indoors. I use this technique quite a bit, especially for my lettuce. I will plant my lettuce indoors in pots and keep them on a window sill that gets sunlight first thing in the morning. As the plant grows and matures, I cut off with scissors what I use and let the plant continue to flourish. There is nothing like eating a BLT in the winter where the “L” was harvested just seconds before it is consumed.

These are just some of the many ideas that come to mind as the temperatures begin to drop. Don’t let the thought of winter coming get your spirits down about vegetable gardening. Extend your growing season by implementing some of these options previously mentioned.

About the Author
Michael C. Podlesny is the president of and a contributing writer for Mike the Gardener Enterprises, LLC the exclusive home for the Seeds of the Month Club.

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