Monday, September 19, 2016

Year-round vegetable gardening

I've done many programs over the years about vegetable gardening. My early ones focused on creative and attractive kitchen gardens.  Then, a bit more about productive vegetable gardens in the recession years.

But I've moved from three-season to year-round vegetable gardening in some of my programs, as I just think it's so compelling, even for small-scale vegetable gardeners like myself.

Wire cloches (ready for plastic, when needed)
I'm not truly interested in feeding our 2-person household from our veggie garden throughout the year, but it really comes pretty darn close, when I freeze tomatoes, tomatillos, squash, kale and beans from the summer garden to eat in winter, not to mention all of the greens we eat from the fall and spring garden.

So, tomorrow's program is about year-round vegetable gardening.  It's SO possible here where I live in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

I live in the Asheville basin, near to downtown Asheville, so we're at 2000 ft., now USDA zone 7a.  My raised beds are stone and we're next to a brick apartment;  there's a heat-reflecting effect right there.  We have almost 10 hours of sunlight year-round, except for the few weeks around the winter solstice.  So, we can grow a lot of cold-hardy vegetables, depending on the year and the circumstances of freezes and frosts, and whether there's a bit of winter protection from cloches or hoops, covered by plastic or row covers.

We've had hard freezes the last few winters. Two years ago was the coldest winter for over 20 years.  Not good for overwintering hardy veggies, at least unprotected ones.

This year, I'll be working with wire cloches and hoops, which I'll cover with perforated plastic as a minimal cover.  They'll be attractive, I hope (my veggie beds are front row and center in our landscape).  We'll see!

Hoops ready for plastic, too!

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