Gardening Isn't Just for Summer
In the past I've had a greenhouse. But to be perfectly honest, I always found it a lot of work and I never enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed gardening the rest of the year. Right now we just have our outside garden beds and we garden in the Spring, Summer, and Fall.
Gardening season for us begins around my birthday (March 17th). That is an easy anchor for me to remember that it is time to get the cold weather seeds in the ground.
These may include any of the following (we change it up slightly from year to year depending on our mood): peas, lettuce, spinach, kale, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, arugula, swiss chard, turnip, parsley, italian parsley, onions, garlic, potatoes.
This takes up about half of our bed space. Around Mother's Day (my next anchor), I plan to get my first warm weather plants in the ground. These include: tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, zuccini, sunflowers, basil, eggplant, green beans, sweet potatoes.
Once the weather starts to get hot, the cold weather stuff needs to be finished off. So we harvest what is left of them.
Emery is harvesting the peas (which will be shelled and frozen), and tossing the plants to the chickens.
The lettuce plants become bitter when the weather gets hot so they get pulled up and fed to the rabbits and chickens.
Once we have cleaned out the cold weather stuff, we plant more hot weather plants in their place. This primarily includes watermelon and cantaloupe, but also includes green beans and any other random plants we decide we need more of.
We also make use of trellises and tall plants to help us with the fall garden. We plant another round of lettuce and kale and peas in the garden in the shade of the sunflowers and trellises.
These plants will do better being protected from the late sun.
The main point about the garden is that we start seeding in March and keep on planting until about August or September. We are always adding new seeds. Particularly with plants like green beans. As a family, we prefer bush beans over pole beans, so we plant several rows of bush beans every two weeks all summer long. This insures that we have a steady supply throughout the summer.
We also harvest all year long. The asparagus is the first plant up in March or April and we keep on eating until well past the first frost. Depending on your location (how far north you are), you can eat well out of your garden (without a greenhouse) for much of the three seasons.
Eliot Coleman's book, Four-Season Harvest*, is one of my all time favorite gardening books and will give you a wealth of information and inspire you as to how long a growing season you can actually achieve.
*Amazon Affiliate Link