Year-Round Gardening:
Our Best Plans for Greenhouses,
Hoop Houses, Cold Frames and More

Shorter days and tumbling temperatures needn’t put a halt to your supply of homegrown food. When the growing gets tough courtesy of Jack Frost and company, take action by outfitting your garden with a homemade selection of season-stretching gear. The icing on the cake? Many of the devices you make can also get things growing sooner come spring!

Year-Round Gardening

Here, you’ll find our best ideas and plans for DIY cold frames, greenhouses, hoop houses, low tunnels, cloches and other tools that can keep the harvests coming throughout fall and beyond. The dozens of projects range from elaborate and permanent to quick and simple, and many can be made from recycled materials. Have some juice or milk jugs? Turn them into fast cloches. How about some used windows? Fashion an easy cold frame (see photo, above).

No matter the size or style of your plot, you’ll find an effective garden-protection strategy that fits your budget.

General Season-Extension Information

Winter Gardening Tips: Best Winter Crops and Cold-Hardy Varieties
October/November 2013
Growers in any region needn’t resign to experiencing fresh harvests solely in summer. Try cultivating these 13 stalwarts of the winter garden that have proved hardy in the face of tumbling temps.

Garden Know-How: Extend Your Growing Season
February/March 2007
MOTHER EARTH NEWS Contributing Editor Barbara Pleasant shares how to craft an amazing array of season-stretching devices on a shoestring budget, including cloches, tunnels, a classic cold frame and more.

14 Ways to Extend Your Gardening Season
June/July 1994
Savor produce straight-from-the-garden, no matter the season, by using raised beds, trellises, crop rotations and other growing strategies that encourage year-round harvests.

Extending the Season
September/October 1985
New to the art of coaxing crops to grow out-of-season? This primer will get you started strong. You’ll learn how to set up a tunnel cloche and a cold frame, how to use and maintain them, and which crops you can grow in them.


Undercover Device: The Cloche
September/October 1984
Used in gardens since the 1800s, the cloche — which means “bell” in French — is a low-cost season-extending structure that you place right atop your plants in their existing location. Get the goods on a variety of cloche designs — individual, tent, barn, umbrella-style, tunnel — so you can select the best for maximizing your garden’s productivity.

How to Make Mini-Greenhouses
March/April 1977
Turn familiar “throwaway” items — peanut butter jars, plastic milk containers, 1-gallon glass jugs — into easy cloches to combat the chill of early spring and late fall.

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