Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Winter Gardening Without Heated Greenhouses

“You can have a salad every night all winter long.” So says Eliot Coleman, New England’s guru of the four-season harvest. There’s no big secret. As long as there is ample daylight—and even in Coleman’s home of Harborside, Maine, there is ample daylight—you can use a variety of techniques for cold-weather gardening that will extend your growing season, effectively “moving” your garden beds 500 miles south.

From Yankee Magazine:

For more than 30 years, Eliot Coleman of Harborside, Maine, has successfully grown food in winter without heated greenhouses. Think outside your zone. Each winter, his gardens head south, to Georgia, without moving an inch.

How? For every layer of protection–a cold frame, for example–the growing environment shifts 500 miles. By doubling up, says Coleman, winter farmers never have to contend with frozen soil, not even when the mercury drops well below zero. “You might get a little surface freezing, but by 10 a.m. it will be unfrozen,” he says. “The minute the sun comes out, all of a sudden it’s 50 degrees in there. We’ve never had a day when we couldn’t put seeds in the greenhouse beds.”

For more on winter gardening, go to: Four Season Farm

Hoop Houses

Coleman says you can find simple, inexpensive options out there to protect your plants. If you’re already using a cold frame, he recommends getting six unused 2x4s and building an A-frame around the structure, then wrapping the new enclosure in greenhouse plastic.

No cold frame? No problem. Coleman is also a big fan of “hoop houses,” small enclosures made from semicircle-shaped strips of metal or plastic piping covered in plastic. “I’ve been doing this a long time, and I’m still like a little kid when I go in there and see what’s happening,” he says. “It’s amazing that it just works.”

Read the whole article here.

Related Articles:


Homesteading Q&A: Solutions for Stumps, Smelly Chicken Manure, and More

September is in full swing and that means it’s time to officially celebrate Homesteading Month. Throughout the next few weeks, we are putting our expert homesteading authors at your disposal for a month-long Q&A session. If you are looking to become a better homesteader or thinking of living off the land for the first time, […] Read More..

Recipe: How to Make the Perfect Pancake

When most people think pancakes, they think breakfast. But for Amy Halloran, breakfast is only the start.Halloran, author of The New Bread Basket, is a self-described pancake connoisseur. From a young age, she was entranced by the magic of bubbly batter rising to fluffy cakes on the griddle. Over time, her love of pancakes developed […] Read More..

5 Common Invasive Species and How to Manage Them

Last week, we asked authors Tao Orion and Katrina Blair to share alternative approaches to managing five different plant species commonly held to be “invasive.” St. John’s Wort, Garlic Mustard, Thistle, Oxeye Daisy, and Kudzu are often dismissed as annoyances at best and the target of aggressive eradication with harmful chemicals at worst. Orion and […] Read More..

Uncovering the Many Uses for Abundant Kudzu

As Invasive Species Week comes to a close, Tao Orion, author of Beyond the War on Invasive Species, and Katrina Blair, author of The Wild Wisdom of Weeds,  share alternative approaches to understanding and managing Kudzu. Take a look through our final profile and check out any you might have missed along the way: Oxeye […] Read More..

Oxeye Daisy: A Plant for the Pollinators

As Invasive Species Week continues, Tao Orion, author of Beyond the War on Invasive Species, and Katrina Blair, author of The Wild Wisdom of Weeds, are sharing alternative approaches to managing and using plants considered to be “invasive.” Take a look through today’s profile on Oxeye Daisy and check out tips for working with Garlic […] Read More..