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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

  • year-round gardening
    Whether you live in a chilly, short-season spot or a warm climate, you, too, can break through seasonal gardening barriers to harvest fresh produce all year.
    Photo by Leon Werdinger
  • leeks cabbage and greens
    Winter haul: A Zone-8 gardener’s New Year’s harvest of leeks, purple cabbage, root crops and leafy greens.
    Photo by Linda Gilkeson
  • USDA Plant Hardiness Zones
    From the cool Northwest to tropical Florida, gardeners in several USDA Plant Hardiness Zones offered tips for this article. Note that warming global temperatures have been pushing Zones farther north over time.
    Chart by U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Preserve summer harvests
    Can, freeze, marinate or ferment your summer harvests to stretch them into fall and winter meals.
    Photo by Rosalind Creasy
  • Row covers
    Bend hoops over your garden beds to easily add and remove row cover when needed.
    Photo by Fotolia/johnbraid
  • Winter Carrots
    Want some winter carrots? Try ‘Atomic Red,’ a variety known to stand up well to cold weather.
    Photo by David Cavagnaro
  • purple cape cauliflower
    Stunning ‘Purple Cape’ cauliflower thrives even in chilly conditions.
    Photo by Linda Gilkeson
  • Chioggia beets
    ‘Chioggia’ beets have interesting visual appeal and grow well as a fall and winter crop.
    Photo courtesy Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co.

  • year-round gardening
  • leeks cabbage and greens
  • USDA Plant Hardiness Zones
  • Preserve summer harvests
  • Row covers
  • Winter Carrots
  • purple cape cauliflower
  • Chioggia beets

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.

10/12/2019 2:13:11 PM

Wow. I was looking forward to some insight into this gardening topic but this article just ignores the Southeast 100%. Disappointing.

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8/5/2017 2:16:13 PM

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