Our gardens are a wonderful thing. They provide us with food, exercise, fresh air, and wonderful memories with family and friends. The only unpleasant part about them is that they have to end.
But do they really? While most people, especially inexperienced gardeners, think of gardening as a summertime activity, that isn’t exactly accurate. A good gardener can find lots of ways to keep things in production or in bloom through a very large part of the year, even in temperate climates with what some would call a short growing season.
That doesn’t mean you can slide on your snow boots and go pick corn, but it does mean that you can have beauty in your landscape through a big part of the year.
Think Like A Pioneer
One of the biggest problems in gardens and landscaping is that we try to grow a square peg in a round hole, so to speak. That is, we try too hard to grow something that just isn’t suited for our area. When various areas of the United States were first accessed by European settlers, there was great attention paid to the local flora and fauna.
This understanding of native plants is important, whether you’re trying to grow a late garden or just buying perennial wildflower seeds to beautify your home. You won’t grow oranges in Michigan, so don’t expect other plants to perform well in an area that lacks the right temperatures, rainfall, or day length to suit them.
Image Source: Flickr
Adjusting The Garden
There are a couple of major changes you need to think about for your garden to extend the season, and they are primarily changes that you need to make in yourself.
As we noted earlier, you need to break out of the mindset of gardening as a spring and summer activity. Gardens can be grown sequentially to provide crops in three different time frames: Cool weather crops from late winter into early summer, warm weather crops in the summer, and a repeat of the cool crops as fall fades into winter. If you maximize those seasons, you will soon find there is very little space in between them, and that it can easily be filled with durable evergreens that provide a burst of green among the grays and white of winter.
Beating The Weather
The best way to stay ahead of the weather is to understand it. Don’t use guesswork when it comes to temperatures. The National Weather Service has years of data that you can access online, providing essential stats such as rainfall and the average dates of the first and last frost each year.
With a few simple steps, you can winterize your landscape and garden plants to improve their health and productivity. You can also use technology like high-tunnel greenhouses. These simple, inexpensive structures can buy you the few degrees of warmth you need to get crops in the ground several weeks earlier. And of course, you can go all-in with a true greenhouse, preserving your potted plants through the winter and growing vegetables continuously.
We invest a great deal of time and money in the things we grow around our homes. It shouldn’t end just because the weather cycles through its normal seasonal changes. With some experience and education, you can sustain your beautiful landscape and even your vegetable garden through all the weather your region has to offer.
Featured Image Source: Pixabay