Fall Planting and Gardens - Part 2
by Guest Post on Apr 30, 2012
Plant by mid-August -- Approximate maturity 60 days. Use any of the dates from above as well as the Best Dates below.
Early Maturing Crops
Plant by mid-September -- Approximate maturity 30 days. Use the dates from the previous page as well as the Best Dates below. The latest dates are for warmer climates, later frosts, or protected plantings.
LENGTHENING YOUR GROWING SEASON
Windbreaks and Walls
You can add it from 10oF. to 15oF. of warmth to your fall and winter garden by taking advantage of windbreaks and walls. Many gardeners have discovered by surprise that a south-facing wall of the home, shed, or greenhouse is ideally situated for constructing easily built structures that use the free solar energy of the sun.
Cloches provide an elevated warm climate around your winter row crops. They can best be described as portable greenhouses of various designs that work with solar energy to warm the immediate row or plant they are placed over. Many designs have been tried. Ideas range from very stiff wireframes holding glass panes, to clear gallon-size plastic bleach or pop bottles with their bottoms removed.
All cloches have two drawbacks to consider. First, on bright sunny winter days, they have to be manually ventilated, to prevent excessive heat build-up. Second, poorly constructed or "staked-down" cloches can become kites during winter windstorms.
Cold frames are permanent structures that considerably lengthen the growing season. They are an excellent way to grow fall and winter crops. Cold frames provide protection from strong winds, elevate the daily and nighttime temperatures around the plants, and protect frost-sensitive vegetables or flowers. They are easy to build and the vegetables and flowers in them will require minimal care. In short season areas, a cold frame will allow you to start seed up to 8 weeks earlier than you can outdoors.
You can use an old window sash of any dimension to build a cold frame. Fiberglass or polyethylene can be used if the glass is broken. The ideal cold frame is built about 18 inches at the back and 12 inches at the front. The slope allows rain to run off and affords a better angle for gathering the sun's heat.
Your cold frame should face south for maximum exposure to sunlight. Also, select a location with a slight ground slope to provide adequate drainage away from the frame. To provide ventilation, partially open your cold frame during sunny, warm weather. During cold snaps, cover the cold frame with burlap or heavy cloth to provide extra warmth.
Hot Beds are cold frames with a source of bottom heat. Today, that heat comes from electric heating cables. A few hotbeds are still constructed using the old method of a layer about a foot and a half thick of decomposing manure beneath the soil of the cold frame as the source of heat. Either way, the hotbed remains frost-free during the winter.
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