Saturday, April 13, 2013

Extending or starting the garden earlier

Cloche to protect tender plant

Saturday, April 13, 2013

It is spring, but you are dreaming of summer veggies.  What to do?  Try these season stretchers!

The first thing you can do to extend the season is to start your seeds indoors or purchase plants from your neighborhood nursery or big box store.  Basil, tomatoes, and rosemary are already at my neighborhood stores.

To get your plants a safe early start, you can buy cloches, Wall of Water, a green house, or use a fabric covering to put your plants in or under.  If you are using a cloche or green house, be careful to vent anytime the sun is shining or you will fry your plants.

Be careful if using a greenhouse or cloche.  When the sun is out, it gets hot inside the plastic fast!  Be sure to open the greenhouse or cloche so you don't fry your plant.

Another trick is to lay clear plastic over your garden bed two weeks before you are planning on planting.  Make sure the soil is watered well first.  Clear plastic will raise the soil temperature by 8-14 degrees F.  This gives your plants a head start when they are placed in the pre-warmed soil.

You can either remove the plastic, plant, and then cover with mulch or leave the plastic in place and cut slits into the plastic and plant through the slits.  I personally don’t like to leave the plastic in place and use mulch.

Some would think that black plastic would give an even bigger temp boost, but it does not.  Temps will raise by 3-5 degrees F.

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