Clear Poly Film Extends Gardening Season
Cold weather gardening presents the gardener with extreme conditions that have both benefits and challenges.
The long cold months help keep the pest population under control, for example.
On the other hand, the gardening season is short; the gardener may have no more than 90 days to plant, raise and harvest the crops.
Of course, because some plants, such as tomatoes and green peppers, must be started inside from seed, the actual gardening season begins four to six weeks earlier. You could buy tomato seedlings, for example and after a period of hardening them off, put them outside, but the problem that I have found with this method is a limited selection and I am fussy about tomatoes.
Beside, watching the plants emerge from seeds is an exciting part of the gardening journey; you get an opportunity to view Nature at work.
Prior to the seed starting season, there are the plant catalogues and seed orders to deliberate over and garden plans to be made and remade while winter drags on and on.
Fortunately for the gardener who does not want to be totally dependent upon the weather there are ways to extend the gardening season and you can incorporate those ways into your garden plan.
A greenhouse tops the list of ways that you can extend your gardening season. However, you may lack the resources (space and funds) to build one.
The next best way to create a longer growing season is the use of poly film. You can use black poly film to warm the soil; suppress weeds and as a mulch. Your local plant nursery is likely to carry a black, bio-degradable poly film that will do the job. I have used this method several times over the years and have been quite pleased with the results.
Clear poly film can be used to make row covers and polytunnels- both of which will provide you with more growing time.
A polytunnel is simply a tunnel that is made of clear polyethylene and used to grow herbs, tomatoes, flowers and a wide range of other plants that require a higher temperature and/or humidity than what is available in the environment.
Polytunnels can make great seasonal greenhouses as they will protect the plants from the wind and frost but are not heated. You can transfer your seedlings from your house to the polytunnel greenhouse to help them adapt to the outdoor environment.
Unlike polytunnels, row covers or floating row covers, require no support because they are lightweight. They literally "float" or lie directly over the crop; they are very useful when the weather suddenly gets cooler than anticipated.
Poly film helps extend the gardening season and enable the gardener to spend more time in the garden; something that is much desired in cold climates.
- How to Make and Use a Polytunnel
The best position for a polytunnel is for its longest side to run from north to south, this will help to avoid excessive heat in summer
- Microclimate Modification with Plasticulture
A discussion of microclimate modification in the production of warm season vegetable crops using plastic mulches, mini-tunnels or floating row covers
A small polytunnel can be quite useful throughout the year for many different purposes. It can extend your growing season and allow you to grow more tender crops than in the open ground. In the early spring, it can be used for germinating and growing
- Garden Know-how: Extend Your Growing Season
You can make an amazing array of season-stretching garden gear from found or recycled materials, and you won’t have to rely on electric grow lights to get delectable spring greens in time for Easter or have the first ripe tomatoes on your block. Crea