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Extending Our Gardening Seasons Sub title Ted Lambert XX@sss.sls Isn’t six months enough? With planning and not that much more effort Harvest up to 10 or more months in MD Increase variety and flavor Philosophy to garden by

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extending our gardening seasons

Extending Our Gardening Seasons

Sub title

Ted Lambert XX@sss.sls

isn t six months enough
Isn’t six months enough?
  • With planning and not that much more effort
  • Harvest up to 10 or more months in MD
  • Increase variety and flavor
philosophy to garden by
Philosophy to garden by
  • My garden must deliver the most food with the least amount of work!!!
  • In warm weather, focus on warm weather crops.
  • Never force cold weather veggies in the hot weather.
  • Extend the growing season by at least 5 weeks at each end by using fabrics and contraptions to produce significantly greater harvest.
  • Use salad boxes to grow excellent salad greens and some herbs in winter.
overcome vegetable bigotry
Overcome Vegetable Bigotry
  • Many based on childhood trauma
  • Cold hardy veggies are bitter and tough(ouch)
  • Systematically harvested at the wrong time so we assume they’re supposed to be bitter
  • Tendency to overcook root veggies
  • Many veggies mature in summer but shouldn’t be harvested!
  • They become considerably sweeter after a few frosts
  • Others like lettuce become bitter when stressed and will never become sweet again
seed starting mantra
Seed Starting Mantra
  • Garden centers sell plants to warm-weather gardeners
  • Selection is very limited; rarely any fall selection
  • Run all paraphernalia through dishwasher
  • Soil-less medium not soil from yard
  • Low-cost shop lights/common fluorescent bulbs
  • Transfer to cold frame
  • Harden off
  • Window sills rarely work well
  • Buy fall seeds in spring/ they may not be available
floating row covers
Floating Row Covers
  • First line of defense against frost
  • Increase germination rates when you cover
  • A second layer under other contraptions
  • Protection for tender plants/seedlings from heat/sun
  • Great defense against insects
  • ‘Hold-ups’ (support)=pvc pipe,

blocks, ladders, reinforcing wire,,

and nine gauge wire are just a few; be creative!

many uses of cold frames
Many Uses of Cold Frames
  • Harden off indoor started plants
  • Start seedlings
  • Five or so week jump for summer crops
  • Force bulbs in winter
  • Grow a great salad
  • Early herbs
  • Be VERY careful if you put glass in garden

Cold frames must be vented to let hot air out on sunny days!

five rules for effective use of cold frames
Five rules for effective use of cold frames
  • Wetter isn't better: allow soil to become nearly dry to encourage deep roots
  • Don’t be mean…lean: no footsteps inside; lean in or install stepping boards
  • Survive a freeze, you’ll be pleased: throw a blanket or old carpet on top to retain heat
  • High/low will show: place a high/low thermometer for easy monitoring
  • Eat in season, there's a reason: our goal is to help nature, not dominate it.
tunnel uses
Tunnel uses
  • Protect late summer planted hardy veggies
  • Overwinter late fall planted veggies for spring
  • Protect plants till threat of frost past
  • Raise soil temps in spring
warming soils in tunnels and frames
Warming Soils in Tunnels and Frames
  • Painted jugs and water bottles/dark food coloring
  • Black drums
  • Soil warming cables
  • Fresh manure
  • Hot compost
  • Rocks?
cloche basics
Cloche basics
  • Cover individual tender


  • Give heat-loving plants

head start

  • Warms soil area underneath
  • Longer harvest times
  • Tiny propagation plots for cold hardy plants
  • Soda bottle, milk jugs, commercial,

lamp shades, plastic and paper bags

and plastic wrapped tomato cages

  • Must plan for venting!
  • Starting seeds during summer
  • Slows bolting
  • Cools soil
  • Shade cloth, plywood, fencing
mulch mulch and more mulch
Mulch, Mulch and More Mulch
  • Large flat stones = 1 degree warmer
  • Black plastic = 1 degree warmer
  • IRT plastics = 9 degree warmer
  • Clear plastic = at least 12 degrees warmer (hot enough to kill seeds and roots!
  • Straw = 7 degrees cooler
  • My garden has mulch everywhere
  • At least 2 to 3 inches worth
  • Pull very few weeds
  • Need to water much less!!!
  • Numerous cultivars -- look for seasonal packets
  • Loose-leaf easiest to grow and longest lasting in heat. Try Tango as its vigorous root system shines in the cold
  • Butterheads aren't heat-tolerant, do well in cold - try Buttercrunch
  • Mesclin mix designed to be used as baby greens; have had little luck allowing to mature!
  • Only negatives- short storage times and bolts in heat
  • Don’t forget spinach (needs to grow in cool weather)
brassica family
Brassica Family
  • Prominent hardy members Cabbage, Kale, Brussels sprouts, Broccoli, Cauliflower and Chinese Cabbage
  • I cant say enough about kales -- try them!
  • Lesser known but great-tasting: Arugula, Collards, Cress, Mustard, Rape, and Turnip greens all are easy to grow
  • Most taste better after frosts
  • Don’t forget Beets, Turnips, and other root veggies; they are all great.
perennial veggies
Perennial Veggies
  • Chives, asparagus, and sorrel are up early spring with little effort and many years of harvest.
  • Horseradish – homegrown is incomparable to bought! ( careful - it can spread)
  • Jerusalem artichokes – native staple that’s sweet and nutty and the sunflower like flower has a chocolate scent. (Can also spread)
salad box
Salad Box
  • Great for growing salads and some herbs
  • Uses same equipment as seed starting bed
  • Simple design, see hand-out
  • Use soil-less mix
  • Make sure its up off bottom to allow some drainage
  • Pick young and re -plant often
  • Work/pick left to right
  • Either buy mix or create your own
  • Enjoy!
possibilities of pesto
Possibilities of Pesto
  • A great way to capitalize on winter greens
  • One green as a base and another as a taste kick
  • Combination like kale and mustard greens, spinach and sorrel, spinach and beet greens and chives to any.
  • The Master Mix: 5 parts greens to 1 part nuts and 3 garlic cloves in processor, then add 2 parts cheese, mix well and add 2 to 3 parts oil slowly while running.
  • Use all types of nuts
  • Use pine nuts if you have nut allergies!!
oops garden mistakes
Oops!! Garden Mistakes
  • Letting weeds go to seed
  • Over-fertilizing
  • Saving seeds from hybrid plants
  • Planting too closely together
  • Buying plants already in bloom, fruiting or root bound
  • All work and no relaxation makes gardening a chore!

Thank You!

Please take a few minutes to complete a short survey for today’s class.

Good luck with your garden.

Equal Opportunity Employer/ Equal Access Programs

  • Home and Garden Information Center (HGIC)
    • 800-342-2507
    • hgic.umd.edu
  • Grow-It-Eat-It website
    • GrowIt.umd.edu
  • Master Gardener state website
    • mastergardener.umd.edu

This program was brought to you by

Maryland Master Garden Program

Howard County

University of Maryland Extension