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.
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.
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.
Don’t settle for the “typical” Rhode Island Growing Season…
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
Unique Challenges of Winter
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
*Great time to plant Lawn Seed!
Plant mid-season maturing plants (60 days to maturity) in mid- August
*Give yourself 5-10 extra days to maturity when planting later in the season
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.
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
Make with recycled materials that you already have, such as old windows, plastic sheets and wood!
Hoop Houses/Low Tunnels
Hoop Houses/High Tunnels
For More Information:
Kate Sayles, Northern RI Conservation District
Justin Tuthill, USDA-NRCS
Matt Tracy, Red Planet Vegetables