Extending the Growing Season
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Extending the Growing Season. Red Planet Vegetables. Northern RI Conservation District. Some Key Terms to Remember…. Growing Season: The part of the year where temperature and rainfall allow plants to grow. For the purposes of this workshop, growing season refers to frost-free days.

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Northern RI Conservation District

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Northern ri conservation district

Extending the Growing Season

Red Planet Vegetables

Northern RI Conservation District


Northern ri conservation district

Some Key Terms to Remember…

Growing Season:The part of the year where temperature and rainfall allow plants to grow. For the purposes of this workshop, growing season refers to frost-free days.

Hardiness Zone: Geographically defined area where certain plants are capable of growing

Climate:The weather conditions of a certain area over a long period

Microclimate: The climate within a small, specific space as contrasted with the climate of the surrounding area (i.e.. the area in close proximity around a plant or row of plants).

Days to Maturity:The number of days between planting a seed and the harvest of that crop.


The typical rhode island growing season

The “Typical” Rhode Island Growing Season

  • May 8th- October 3rd

  • Plant Hardiness Zone 6

  • 147 frost-free days in 2011

  • 120 days with a minimum temperature of 32 degrees and below (on average)


Northern ri conservation district

Don’t settle for the “typical” Rhode Island Growing Season…


Extend the season grow and harvest vegetables all year

Extend the Season: Grow and Harvest Vegetables All Year!

Grow summer crops that can be harvested through the late fall

Grow hardy crops that can be harvested all winter in altered microclimates

Plant crops later that will be ready to harvest in the spring

It’s all about PLANNING, CREATING MICROCLIMATES, CHOOSING THE RIGHT PLANTS


Northern ri conservation district

  • What do you want to get out of your garden?

  • Do you want to keep it going through the fall and save what’s already growing?

  • Do you want to harvest all winter?

  • Where will the garden be located?

  • What crops do you want to plant?

  • Do you need to create a protected microclimate?

  • Make a map!

Planning


Northern ri conservation district

Site Selection

  • Soil quality

  • Well-drained soils

  • Avoid areas of excessive runoff

  • South-facing areas to maximize sunlight

  • North-South or East-West?

  • Location that won’t be shaded when the sun is lower in the sky in winter

  • Wind protection

  • Access

  • Frost Pockets?

  • Protected microclimate?


Northern ri conservation district

Unique Challenges of Winter

  • REALLY cold

  • REALLY windy

  • Can be extreme- stay warm

  • It’s Rough out there!!!


Choosing the right plants

Choosing the Right Plants

To extend your summer garden well into the fall, plant later in the season

Plant early-maturing plants (30 days to maturity) in mid- September

Chives

Bunching Onions

Radishes

Early Carrots

Asian Greens

Cilantro

Pea Greens

Broccoli Raab

Leaf Lettuces

Mustard

Spinach

*Great time to plant Lawn Seed!


Choosing the right plants1

Choosing the Right Plants

Early Carrot

Leeks

Turnip

Kohl Rabi

Early Cabbage

Winter Cauliflower

Collard Greens

Perennial Flowers

Perennial Herbs

Swiss Chard

Arugula!

Broccoli

Mustard Greens

Plant mid-season maturing plants (60 days to maturity) in mid- August

  • Plant late-season maturing plants (90 days to maturity) in mid- July

Beets

Carrots

Parsnip

Globe Onions

Brussels Sprouts

Cabbages

Cauliflower

Fava Beans

*Give yourself 5-10 extra days to maturity when planting later in the season


Choosing the right plants2

Choosing the Right Plants

Salad Greens

Spinach

Carrots

Leeks

Turnip

Parsnip

Kale

Brussels Sprouts

Broccoli

Collard Greens

Swiss Chard

Lettuce

Mustard Greens

Select plants that are winter hardy and thrive in the cold and adjusted microclimates for your winter garden:

* Days to maturity is greatly increased due to winter climates, even in protected microclimates

When directly seeded in fall, these plants can over-winter outside. If they germinate and grow quickly, they may be killed by the cold.


Planting and harvesting schedule

Planting and Harvesting Schedule

  • Plan when you want to harvest the crops that you want to grow and plant accordingly

  • Succession Plantings

  • Plan your season now using readily available tools on the internet

    • Planting Date Calculator

    • Harvesting Date Calculator

    • Succession Planting

    • (see NRICD.org for links)

    • Keep records!

    • Save seed packets with notes!

    • Learn from trial and error!

    • Every year is different!

    • Don’t get discouraged!


Microclimates

Microclimates

A microclimate is small, but distinctly different climate within the greater area that surrounds it

Not just increasing the temperature!

Using south-facing slopes

Protection from the wind using hedgerows and shrubs & snow fence

Planting in raised beds

Using mulch to protect roots and shoots

Planting along stone walls to trap ambient heat

Using other methods to increase plant temperature, increase sun exposure, protect from wind, and maintain moisture


Tools for altering microclimates mulching and raised beds

Tools for Altering Microclimates:Mulching and Raised Beds

  • Mulching using leaves or wood chips to protect plants

  • Using raised beds to increase soil temperature

  • Amending the soil with compost: thermal decay of highly organic soil

  • Use hay to cover leeks and carrots


Row covers

Row Covers

  • Using Row covers for added protection from the elements

  • Also protect crops from insects and other pests

  • Use spun-bonded, lightweight fabrics for best results


Cold frames

Cold Frames

  • Grow at summer speed through November, then plants semi-hibernate

  • Equivalent of moving plants 1 ½ USDA zones south

  • Must ventilate when inner temperature is around 70 degrees, or after March 1st.

Make with recycled materials that you already have, such as old windows, plastic sheets and wood!


Northern ri conservation district

Hoop Houses/Low Tunnels

  • Generally under 6 feet tall

  • Can use plastic or metal to make hoops

  • Cover with spun-bound fabric or UV resistant plastic dependant on need

  • Fully secure in areas with lots of snow using sandbags and tie-downs


Northern ri conservation district

Hoop Houses/High Tunnels

  • Mainly unheated, non-mechanically ventilated, generally greater than 6 feet tall

  • Sold as kits, plant directly in the ground

  • Unheated, 6-7 degrees warmer than outside

  • Funding may be available for extending your growing season using High Tunnels through NRCS


Northern ri conservation district

Greenhouses

  • Permanent structures

  • Usually heated

  • Many times has a concrete floor

  • Maintain summer growing conditions year-round

  • Expensive to maintain!


Northern ri conservation district

Combinations

  • Use any combination of row covers, low tunnels and high tunnels.

  • Can be equivalent of moving plants 3 USDA zones warmer


Northern ri conservation district

Other Considerations

  • Soil health and fertility

    • Don’t Guess! Soil Test!

  • Availability of water

  • Availability of electricity

  • Availability of materials

  • Ventilation

  • Enough light

  • Budget

  • Time


Questions

Questions?


Reference

Reference

  • For more information, please refer to the Northern RI Conservation District website at:

  • www.NRICD.org

  • You will find a list of reference materials including:

  • Books

  • Links to Websites

  • This PowerPoint


Northern ri conservation district

Thank You!

For More Information:

Kate Sayles, Northern RI Conservation District

(401) 934-0840

[email protected]

Justin Tuthill, USDA-NRCS

(401)822-8839

[email protected]

Matt Tracy, Red Planet Vegetables

[email protected]


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