Gardening Tips: How to Extend the Life of Your Garden

To get the most out of your garden you can start early in the spring, and harvest late into the fall. There are many methods to help your plants produce more fruits and vegetables, as well as gardening tips that will allow you to plant before summer. Simple structures can be built, or you can make a life long investment in a greenhouse to be more successful in your gardening!

To get a jump start on your garden, you can plant as soon as the days are long, the snow has melted and the freezes are diminishing. Typically you need to wait to plant many vegetable until the chance of frost has passed. You can easily protect your early plantings from frost by setting up row covers. These structures range greatly in size and durability. You can purchase extravagant structures that will last for many years, or you can build your own covers each year with simple materials. You will need some supportive material and simple plastic to cover your rows. These structures work as mini greenhouses to heat the air inside and warm the soil temperature and keep the frost out. If you choose to build high tunnels, the air will need to be ventilated, and this can be easily done by leaving the sides open during the day. At night you will want to cover the ends to optimize the protection from frost. You can also place the plastic over the rows without supporting them. This is usually referred to as floating row covers. The plastic floats over the plants and works in the same way, heats the soil and keeps the frost out. If you go with this method you will need to open the rows during the day to allow air ventilation. If there is a cold spurt in the forecast you can leave your plants covered for a few days without ventilation, but when the sun is shining and the air is warm, you need to be extra careful to provide ventilation to protect the plants from overheating and become dried and burned out.

You can also make simple cold frames for your garden. A cold frame is a box that is heated by the sun with a section of glass or clear plastic that is placed over a growing area. Some cold frames can be stationary and some are able to be moved. If you build a stationary cold frame you will need to move your seedlings into the garden after the chance of frost has passed and the seedlings are strong enough to be transplanted. If you have a mobile cold frame, you can plant directly into your garden and remove the cold frame during warm spells and not have to transplant your seedlings into the garden. Both way cold frames must be well ventilated and ideally you will need to be able to open the frame on a warm sunny day. You can recycle many household materials to construct your cold frame. Old windows, shower doors, painters plastic, bubble wrap, or any clear material may can be used to trap the warmth from the sunlight. You can make single cold frames out of cardboard boxes, or wrapping tomato cages with plastic. These are all excellent ways to protect your new seedlings from the frost and help them to flourish in your garden. Cold frames and plastic row tunnels / covers can both be used again in the fall to extend your growing season then. The same methods need to be followed to prevent over heating and to protect the plants from frost. By using these simple methods you may successfully extend your gardening season by 6 weeks or more! If you desire, you can purchase a greenhouse that you can construct in your own backyard. These greenhouses vary greatly in price from a few hundred dollars, well into the thousands of dollars. Greenhouses may be considered for you personal garden and will help your production greatly!

Now there are also simple garden tricks and tips that will help your plants produce more and live longer, healthier lives. These methods won’t help you garden past the normal planting season, but will help you achieve more vegetables throughout the warm months. For the extend life of the garden, go check out if you are new to this whole gardening thing. The achievement of the gardening of the flowers and vegetables will be beneficial. The planting will be done in the planting season through the person. 

Your plants need water, sun and air to live healthy lives. By monitoring these factors you can achieve healthy plants that will bear much fruit for you. You will need to prevent your plants from drying out by watering regularly and being sure that the soil is holding the water. The best time for watering is early in the morning to prevent the soil from becoming dry and cracked during the heat of the day. If the roots on your plants become hot and dry the plant becomes stressed and will need to recover, which will effect the vegetable production. You will want to periodically check for high and low areas in your garden to prevent puddles and dry spots. All plants need sun to properly grow and produce vegetables. When planning your garden spot, make sure your plants will have sun access at least 8 hours a day. There are some vegetables that will still produce with less, but the production will never be the as great as when you have plentiful sun. Plants will be smaller and produce fewer amounts of vegetables. Air flow is also very important to your plants. Be sure to provide adequate spacing between plants and thin out your rows when they become over crowded. Inadequate air flow will cause disease and mold to grow in your garden. While your plants need moisture, if the plants are not able to dry out their leaves, you will see them deteriorate quickly. Fungus and some insects love moisture so they will attack your garden if there is not enough air flow. Keeping weeds away will help decrease the crowding among your vegetables. If you do see plants that are being covered with mold and fungus, remove them from your garden. Pull the plants and toss them far away.

Another way to help your plants continue to produce vegetables is to pick the produce daily. When a plant is weighed down with its own produce it stops production and may go into a dormant state. If you keep your plants well picked, they will continue to send out new blooms which will produce new vegetables. Vegetables left on the plants will continue to grow past a state in which they are usable, so you want to be sure to pick them in their prime before they get old. Large, over grown vegetables often crack and become dry and bitter.

To harvest well into the fall, you can practice succession planting. To do this you will need to continue planting all season long. This will cause the plants to mature at different times and the last rows planted will still be bearing fruit when the first plants have finished for the year. There are many plants that can be planted in early spring and again in late summer. These are referred to as cool weather plants and include spinach, lettuce, sweet peas, and many more.

By following these simple practices your garden will be overflowing with produce. With your abundance you can sell at a local farmer’s market, donate to food banks and local food shelters, and even have enough to share with family and friends! Fresh vegetables are a luxury, so enjoy them while you can. Now that you have learned about these methods, why don’t you give them a try in your own garden and see how you can extend your growing season and reap a bountiful harvest in your own backyard!