ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Cold Weather Gardening

Updated on May 21, 2009

Plan Early for a Garden that Laughs at Cold

With a bit of preparation now and throughout the summer, you can extend your garden harvest by a month or two.

How can you get fresh lettuce for Thanksgiving, spinach for salad at Christmas or Chinese cabbage or broccoli for a New Year's feast?

By timely planting, sensible care, and some frost protection. The choice of cultivars can help, too. The flavor of parsnips, kale and brussel sprouts is much improved by a couple of good frosts.

You can keep hardy plants alive longer in the fall with a little protection on frosty nights. And, by digging up young roots, and potting the in planters that are brought inside, you can even savor your greens earlier in the spring.

If your garden uses raised beds, you one step further on already. Raised beds will have warmer soil, so your plants will survive longer. Also, they are more easily protected with covers.


the soil in a well made and maintained raised bed can be between 8 and 12 degrees F. warmer than the same soil in the surrounding garden areas.
the soil in a well made and maintained raised bed can be between 8 and 12 degrees F. warmer than the same soil in the surrounding garden areas.

Plant and Re-plant

The key to planning a garden that laughs at the cold is making continual and varied plantings. Plant your spring crops of broccoli, brussel sprouts, carrots, kale, chard and beets in May, but make further plantings in June.

Lettuce, radishes and spinach can be repeat planted in late August and into September. Check the seed catalogs to find cultivars that have been bred to endure lower temperatures. You can plant these hardy varieties earlier in the spring, and enjoy them later into the fall.


Cold Temperature Tolerance of Vegetables

Tender Vegetables (damaged by light frost)

Beans, cucumber, eggplant, NewZealand spinach, pepper, pumpkin, squash, okra, corn, tomato, melons.

Semi-Hardy Vegetables (tolerate light frost)

Beets, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, Chinese cabbage, endive, lettuce, parsnip, potato, salsify.

Hardy Vegetables (tolerate hard frost)

broccoli, brussel sprouts, collard, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, onions, parsley, peas, radish, spinach, turnip.

 (Thanks to http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/fallgarden.html)

A Vegetable Gallery

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Acorn Squash Swiss ChardBeansRadishesCabbagesNew Zealand SpinachCornucopia of Vegetables
Acorn Squash
Acorn Squash
Swiss Chard
Swiss Chard
Beans
Beans
Radishes
Radishes
Cabbages
Cabbages
New Zealand Spinach
New Zealand Spinach
Cornucopia of Vegetables
Cornucopia of Vegetables

How can you care for your late season plants?


Water and fertilize them generously in early fall, but water them sparingly from then on, so no new tender growth is produced. A dose of seaweed extract sprayed on the leaves in early fall will supply necessary minerals.

Mulch your fall crops. Tuck dry leaves, straw or pine needles around them, or hill them with loose soil. This will give extra protection. You can even toss some of the straw over the plants for more insulation. As side benefit is that this mulch will enrich your soil for next year's planting.

Pinch the growing tips as fall approaches, so the plant's energy and nutrients go into vegetable production. This works well with cucumbers, melons and squashes. Nip out the top leaves from brussel sprouts to encourage the sprouts developing along the stem.

Blanket your plants to keep away the cold. You can use floating row covers for this, offering a few degrees of protection for tomatoes, lettuce, and plants that succumb to frost. These are lightweight blankets of polyester or polypropylene, and can be bought in long sheets that you can easily cut to your row size.  Drape the cover over the row, and make sure the edges are securely held down with soil, stones, sticks or whatever you have that is easily removed. They are porous enough for rain to go through, and let in enought light, keeping the plants and soil warmer all day. They are reusable for a couple of seasons.

Another way to blanket your plants is to use plastic tunnels of clear poly, supported every few feet with U-shaped hoops of wire or hose. These need to be ventilated, usually at the ends, and because they shed rain, you'll have to ensure the plants don't dry out.

Umbrella shaped greenhouses can be made easily for covering a small group of plants. They are made by creating a dome shape that is covered with clear plastic. Two hoops of black hose, crossed at the center and wired together can form the frame.

You can use your cold frame to keep newly transplanted young plants growing in the fall. Lettuce and endive will survive there for your late fall salads.

A simple home made cold frame.
A simple home made cold frame.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 7 years ago from the short journey

      Good stuff you have here! Appreciate the encouragement and advice.

    • Nolimits Nana profile image
      Author

      Nicolette Goff 8 years ago from British Columbia

      You're welcome!

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 8 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Nice Hub - I'm a fan. I over-winter annuals every year with some success. Helpful information here. Thanks.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is used to quickly and efficiently deliver files such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisements has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)