Five Ways to Extend Your Growing Season and Get the Most Out of Your Garden

Do you love to garden? If so, you probably plant a spring and fall garden each and every year, though Gilmour’s article on cold weather crops will give you some good ideas on vegetables that can withstand colder temperatures. Gardening can be a fun way to reduce stress and get some much-needed exercise. Another benefit of gardening is you will always have a supply of fresh fruits and vegetables to feed your family..  Knowing where your food comes from is very important, and gardening can provide that. For those of you who are passionate about gardening, you might feel like the growing season is simply not long enough.  So why not do something to extend your growing season and get the most out of your garden?  Today, we are going to learn some tips that will help you do just that.

Start Your Seeds Indoors

A great way to get a jump on gardening and extend your growing season is to start your seeds indoors.  While not every variety you plant can be started indoors, many of them can!  To start seeds indoors, you will need a few seed trays, which can be purchased at most big box stores in the garden department.  Each of these seed trays will have individual cells that will allow you to plant one seed and a cover that will keep humidity levels high, which will provide moisture for growing seeds.  Some trays come with potting soil, while others will require you to provide your own soil.  Additionally, you will need a heating pad that is specially designed for starting seeds.

Plan Before the Season Starts

Another way to get a jump start on the growing season is by being prepared.  Do all your garden planning while the weather outside is still cold. Plan out your garden design for the spring and figure out which plant varieties you wish to include. You can order seeds for the spring during this time, which will arrive early and let you start them indoors sooner.  Also, you can get the ground ready during the winter by taking soil samples and adding nutrients.  You can also mulch your garden during the winter which will provide plenty of food for your plants in the spring.  Other garden tasks can be performed at this time, which will allow you to concentrate on keeping your garden healthy during the growing season.

Grow Longer with Hoop Houses

If you would like to extend the life of your garden by a few weeks or even a month, you can utilize hoop houses.  By installing hoop house frames in your garden before the first frost, you can grow some plants longer and bear more fruit.  Some cold tolerant varieties can even stay vibrant well into the winter months.  This is a great way to extend your growing season and produce food well after other gardeners have packed it in for the winter.  By simply keeping the frost away from your plants, you can get a lot more from your garden.

Keep an Eye on Early Frosts

During normal growing seasons, frost will come around about the same time each year.  But some years, old man winter decides to come early.  When this happens, it can really put a damper on your garden and kill off many of your plants.  So, if you want to extend your season, you need to keep an eye out for early frost.  By watching your local weather during this time of year, you can get a heads up on the weather conditions.  If your weatherman predicts a frost, make sure that you take measures to protect your plants.

Garden Indoors

One of the best ways to extend your growing season and keep your garden going all year long is by growing indoors.  There are many ways to grow indoors including in pots or by installing a hydroponic system in your garage or other area of the home.  Next, you will need to install some type of grow light to simulate the summer sun.  There are many different types of grow lighting options on the market and finding one to meet your needs won’t be difficult.  But if you want to save money, you may want to consider purchasing a LED grow light which uses less electricity.  Growing indoors during the winter can be super-fun and you will have fresh food to eat all year long!

As you can see, there are many different ways to extend the growing season.  With a little know-how and the right tools, you will be gardening like a professional in no time at all!  Just imagine how wonderful it will be to get to enjoy your beautiful garden well into the winter months.