Year-Round Gardening: Tips for Your Region

Achieve year-round gardening success in your climate by following this expert advice on selecting crops and varieties, overwintering cold-hardy vegetables, and practicing season extension techniques, such as using cold frames and row cover to protect plants from frost.

| August/September 2015

Fall frost doesn’t have to spell the end of garden-fresh eating. By choosing the right crops and varieties, as well as implementing some season extension strategies, you can push the seasonal envelope much further than you might have imagined. In fact, gardeners in every region of the United States can enjoy year-round gardening, and eat fresh foods from the garden in every season. We talked with 11 of the most adventurous and successful gardeners we know from coast to coast to learn their top tactics for stretching the growing season to its max (see where each of the experts lives on this Zone map). Try tips from in or near your Hardiness Zone or your region to help set you on your way toward eating from the garden year-round!

Year-Round Gardening in the Pacific Coast

1. Salt Spring Island, British Columbia (Zone 8). Linda Gilkeson, entomologist and author of Backyard Bounty, overwinters frost-tolerant varieties of kale, carrots, beets, leeks, purple sprouting broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, as well as many other healthful greens. “They’re all still going full-tilt come March,” she says.

From late February into May, cold-hardy cauliflower (‘Aalsmeer,’ ‘Galleon’ and ‘Purple Cape’) and broccoli (‘Cardinal,’ ‘Red Spear’ and ‘White Star’) produce crops from seed sown in late June to early July the previous year.

“Celeriac, grown for its flavorful roots, is a midwinter delight. Just leave it in the garden, well-mulched,” Gilkeson advises. You can do the same with carrots and beets. For your leafy greens, keep a sheet of heavy plastic on hand, which you can prop aloft above your beds with stakes or low hoops to provide protection from Arctic blasts.

2. Corvallis, Ore. (Zone 8). Carol Deppe, plant breeder and author of The Resilient Gardener and The Tao of Vegetable Gardening, overwinters many crops, including kale, beets, purple sprouting broccoli and edible-podded peas. But her favorite way to eat from the garden year-round is to pack her pantry with reliable storage crops, such as homegrown grain corn, dried beans and winter squash. For polenta and cornbread, Deppe likes ‘Cascade Ruby-Gold’ flint corn, an early maturing, cold-hardy variety she developed. She recommends ‘Magic Manna’ flour corn for cakes, pancakes, sweet breads and parching. A quality coffee grinder or blender can grind flour corns into a fine flour similar to wheat flour in texture. Deppe’s favorite dry beans for her area are ‘Gaucho’ bush (an Argentine heirloom) and ‘Black Coco.’ She suggests timing the plantings so the pods can dry on the mature plants in late August, before fall rains.

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8/5/2017 2:16:13 PM

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8/1/2016 12:47:47 PM

FRWhite, Growing food in the lower South year-round isn't generally the challenge that more northerly climes have... You're not dealing with 6 months of snow and 2 months of summer. Relax, you'll be just fine, you're not being discriminated against.

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