It's the middle of July right now, and the last thing you're probably thinking about is how you're going to prolong your growing season so you can still grow your own food through the fall and winter. Most gardeners are enjoying tomatoes and peppers in this Mid-July summer heat, but it's time to think "cooler", before the cold season actually arrives and you've run out of time.
Don't let your vegetable gardens look like this come fall/winter. Wouldn't you rather be utilizing your existing raised beds for their intended purpose? GROW FOOD! Many vegetables do extremely well in "cooler temps", provided you take the time to shelter them from frost and other harsh elements.
You can extend the growing season in your own home vegetable garden, by building custom and inexpensive "hoop houses" over your existing raised beds. Once constructed, you'll provide higher temps for your crops and keep them safe from frost, heavy rain and gusty wind. Providing your cool weather crops with adequate shelter will mean you could be eating fresh and organic vegetables right up until spring-time, if you choose!
Some things you'll need to get started on your hoop house:
**Pipe brackets (or holders)
**Fabric row cover or greenhouse plastic. (a clear/heavy duty shower curtain could work too!)
Here's a video that shows you how to construct your own "Hoop House"!
Another option you have is to purchase a plastic greenhouse (like the one pictured at the top of the page), and place it directly over your raised bed. They come in all sizes, are very affordable, and will last many years if taken care of.
So while the weather is nice and enjoyable, it's time to start laying out and building up your fall/winter vegetable garden!! How do you plan on extending your growing season this year?