Extending the Harvest

Tomato_DBG_20090915_LAH_0507As fall finally arrives, it’s time to think about early frosts and the end of the growing season. At our house, we are happily celebrating the end of the summer squash glut, and I have no plans to prolong that harvest. Our pole beans are looking a bit peaked, and production has stalled. We enjoyed a bountiful crop, so again, I’m happy to let them succumb to frost.

On the other hand, our tomatoes have just started ripening. (They wilted severely while we were evacuated for the Black Forest fire, and I think it set them back at least a month.) The huge plants are loaded with promising yellow, orange, and pale red fruit, and I’m unwilling to give up so close to our goal.


Planting Lettuce in Winter

lettuce-bf-2008may30-lah-002Are you staring out the window, watching the snowflakes, and desperately wanting to plant something? Guess what—you can! It may be too early to start tomatoes and broccoli, but lettuce seedlings can handle the cold with a little protection. So pull out the recycled six-packs and potting soil, soak your peat pots, and clear some space on the counter. It’s planting time!

I’ve written several posts about starting seeds (see April 2009 for the basics, or choose “Gardening: Starting Seeds” under Categories, in the upper left of the screen), so I won’t go over all that again. Rather, I’d like to encourage you to push the limits and experiment a bit. Most seed packets contain far more seeds than a home gardener is likely to use, so you can afford to take a few chances.


Quick and Easy Coldframes

Panel bed vented LAHWe all want to plant our veggie gardens now, but winter hasn’t quite let go of the Rockies. While last week was in the 60s, it’s snowing as I write this, and snow and frost are distinct possibilities for several more weeks.

This is the time of year when we suffer most from greenhouse envy. Yet, for a minimal amount of money, time and effort, you can build a mini-greenhouse right over your garden beds. Here’s how I went about it.