Author Topic: Gardening all year round  (Read 109 times)

Hanna Y.

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Gardening all year round
« on: April 01, 2020, 08:20:52 PM »
I am wanting to learn how to grow vegetables all year round but i have no idea where to begin. I've started some seeds and they are doing good. I'm doing my regular garden this summer like i've done for years but i don't know where to begin on preparing to grow vegetables this winter. Any tips or suggestions?

Frannie Koe

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Re: Gardening all year round
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2020, 08:58:50 PM »
Hanna, I will get you to help me with my winter garden so you can see what to do. Of course the winter garden may not be as full of variety as the summer garden. But we can always plant food. Spring, summer, fall and even a little in the winter. Alabama is a great state for having a year round garden. Hoops and green house/cold frames also can extend each season. Maybe we can write it all down to show others how it can be done!!

Dove

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Re: Gardening all year round
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2020, 03:36:54 PM »
My husband and I are organic farmers and have been gardening for 20 years including the winter have been selling year around for only 5-6 of those years. People have a mental block about farming in the winter and think it ends with the farmers markets in the fall, but I enjoy working in the garden in the fall/winter better. The timing is critical and the understanding of day length as the days get shorter in the fall needs to be in the back of your mind.  So something that says 45 days for broccoli may take 60 or if planted way late may take 3 mo.
So I will give a time line how things flow for fall/winter gardens. Most of what you will plant will be green leafys and root crops.
We start our fall seedlings the first of august and start with the long day stuff first and plant all you intend to harvest at once because you will not be able to succession plant them. They also need to get as much daylight/ growing time as possible. So start with things like cabbage, brussel sprouts, rutabegas first. Then plant the rest all the way down to the shortest day length crops like radishes and baby greens which we succession plant.  So we plant our entire field fall crops  the first 2 weeks in September, transplants and direct seed. We watch the weather because sometimes it can be too hot if direct seeding like spinach, carrots or beets 80-90 soil temps will kill the seed. So sometimes we wait it just means it may take a few extra days to get a harvest. Baby trans plants can take it more than older plants can. We quit planting a little before Thanksgiving because anything planted 6 weeks either side of the winter solstice is just going to sit there until the end of January. So the field crops usually frost kill in January not every year but most all except the hardiest like kale, brussel sprouts etc. When we expect the Field crops to frost kill that is when our high tunnels should be producing and these we sucession planted more of the shorter day fall crops around the first of October then the next high tunnel gets planted in November and will harvest in the next year. Many times all our crops will make it thru the winter but the ones that have been planted the longest will bolt the soonist in the spring. So as the field crops bolt in Feburary and we till them down the high tunnels are still producing in April. In the last few year we have only missed 1-2 delivery day all winter usually due to weather. Bu the last 2 years we have missed weeks because of heavy rains. So this fall we are putting up another high tunnel so we can better control the environment and ensure a harvest.
Now that your eyes have glazed over. It is simple really. For a small home garden instead of a high tunnel (even a small one is good) you can use low tunnels. Make hoops out of #9 wire cover with heavy row cover that protects your plants up to 5 degrees then plastic over that if it gets colder. I would need to provide you instructions on their construction, it is easy but requires some 2x2 a sledge hammer and some twine and ground stakes.
Also just a note crops planted when it is still warm out woun't take the cold as well as those planted under cooler conditions. So spinach planted in late august ot early September may frost kill with a hard frost but spinach planted late September into October probably woun't I have had late planted spinach take 24 degrees.
We also love the asian greens as there is a termendous variety in taste, looks, and hardiness. Cilantro also loves the winter we have picked cilantro icicles before and and they are great no bitterness at all. We have harvest crops that have been frozen and let them unthaw naturally and they have been fine.
Also with real watery plants like lettuce if you know it is going to frost do not water it a couple of days before that way the leaves aren't full of water and bust. Many crops when it gets cold will hug the ground to stay warm or fall over very wilted like lettuce will and look dead but the will perk up when the day warms. It;s miraculous to see. Plants just amaze me with the different strategies they enlist to survive.
Have fun winter gardening.

nona

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Re: Gardening all year round
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2020, 03:23:54 PM »
Excellent topic!  Thank you.  Looking forward to learning more.