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

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.

sonia walker
8/10/2017 8:58:27 PM

hello Have you been looking for financing options for your new home purchase, construction, real estate loan, refinance, debt consolidation, real estate investors, business investors personal or business purpose? Welcome to the future! Financing made easy with us. Contact us as we offer our financial service at a low and affordable interest rate of 3% for long and short loan applicant term.Interested shouldering contact us for Further loan acquisition procedures via:

8/5/2017 2:16:13 PM

We started gardening and we were gone wrong. We could not figure out why we were not getting the beautiful vegetables we were hoping for. People suggest to spray chemicals for vegetables and fruits but is poison and it is not organic vegetables. My lab professor referred a guide it helps me to grow my gardening as what we like, you can get the guide from here >> ( ) <<. I have recommended this system to all of my friends and family. We got good organic natural vegetables and fruits in the next harvest, one of the beautiful products in the market.

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.

8/13/2015 12:08:27 PM

I also found this article very disappointing as it skipped right over the lower South...everything below Va until you get to Florida. This seems to be a common tred that most authors seem to know little about our area and completely ignore it. If it isn't the Pacific Northwest, New England, Ohio and Virginia, it just gets ignored in the sustainable/permaculture world.

8/4/2015 10:43:54 AM

I perused this article in the magazine and was disappointed that, although it included several Zone 8 scenarios in the Northwest, it had no information for Gulf Coast areas.

7/24/2015 10:45:36 AM

Hi: Two quick questions: Where is the article's lead photo shot? What zone/state? And, Desert and High Desert are two separate challenges. Could you differentiate a little more on these? Thank you!

7/24/2015 10:08:39 AM

And once again, there is no mountain west. Nobody ever tells you how to deal with a region where you get alternating freezes and thaws all winter long.

7/24/2015 8:21:54 AM

Could we have some additional info on Zone ten or what ever zone we are in near Leesburg, Florida. Thanks.

mother earth news fair


Oct. 21-22, 2017
Topeka, KS.

More than 150 workshops, great deals from more than 200 exhibitors, off-stage demos, inspirational keynotes, and great food!