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Garden Plants To Extend Growing Season
If you are truly passionate about your garden plants and take great joy from a colorful bloom, then you probably want your garden to survive all winter long. In frosty and snowy climes, this task may seem impossible. However, there are certain flowers, shrubs, trees and plants that have been known to survive from November through March.
The hellebore will bloom white, green, red or purple from November to March. The honeysuckle will give you small white flowers starting in winter. The Erica carnea heath can even bloom in a sheltered location down to -25 Fahrenheit! Witch Hazel shrubs are hardy throughout December and January, despite snow or ice.
Knowing What And How To Plant
Of course, who could forget the classic winter holly bush? Your gardening experience can last the whole year through if you know what to plant and how to plant.
During the winter, you may also want to review your options and add late growing plants to the mix. You can plant ornamental cabbages that come in stunning foliage colors such as yellow, lilac, deep purple, white and pink. This heath is the hardiest winter flower, as it’s able to withstand temperatures as low as -25.
Delicious Vegetables Growing In Your Garden
Parsley survives from May through November. From June through November, you can harvest broccoli, chard, and kale. Beets can even be harvested into December and potatoes can be dug up from July into December. Starting in August (through November), you can harvest broccoli raab, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, rutabagas, and turnips.
Starting in August (through December), you can harvest leeks, pears, carrots and winter squash. September through November, you’ll gather your pumpkins, shelling beans, and celery root.
Seeing The Fruits Of Your Labor
October through November, you’ll pick fennel and from October through December, you can gather cranberries and parsnips. Mushrooms can be cultivated year-round. Home vegetable gardening is not only enjoyable when you see the fruits of your labor, but it’s also practical because you can feed your family while saving hundreds at the grocery store.
There are several tactics to help your garden plants withstand colder temperatures and extend your growing season. The Ed Hume Seeds gardening blog recommends building windbreaks and walls to add 10 to 15 degrees of warmth to your garden.
Firmly Secured Portable Greenhouses
Similarly, permanently edged raised beds with well-made soil can increase the temperature between 8 and 12 degrees. Cloches (portable greenhouses made of cloth, glass panes or pop bottles) can increase the solar energy, although they must be properly ventilated and firmly secured.
Cold frame boxes made of old 18 x 12 window sashes and glass are more permanent structures that protect from strong winds, elevate temperatures and protect flowers and veggies from frost; these boxes can also allow you to seed up to 8 weeks earlier than usual.
Keeping Your Garden Frost Free
Hotbeds (cold frames with electric heating cables to provide bottom heat) can keep a garden frost-free all winter long. Lastly, if you’re really into home vegetable gardening, then you may want to build a permanent greenhouse.
You can grow leaf and root vegetables without heat, or — if you’d like — you may grow tropical plants, tomatoes, and cucumbers in a heated greenhouse even if it’s cold as Alaska outside!
If this is your second year of producing garden plants, then it’s important that you plant your winter vegetable crops in a different location than last year. Planting in the same spot every year weakens the soil, loses nutrients and attracts insects or disease.
Repairing Damaged Soil
A gardening expert may also recommend that you use cover crops to build up damaged or idle soil. By planting fast-growing greens, you can spade, plow or till them into the soil for added green organic matter and nutrients.
In the fall, you can sow alfalfa, Austrian field peas, white clover, crimson clover, red clover, purple vetch, hairy vetch, woolly vetch, common vetch, fava beans, wheat, oats, cereal rye, winter rape, and lupines.
If you’d like to cover in the winter, try cow-peas (Southern peas), hairy indigo, bell beans (a small fava bean) Lana vetch, winter peas, lupines, and purple clover.