Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Year-Round Gardening Advice from Eliot Coleman

In a special feature in Toronto’s Globe and Mail newspaper on Monday, author and gardening expert Eliot Coleman gave these helpful tips for growing vegetables throughout the year.

How to grow vegetables year-round

by Hadley Dyer

Do you dread surrendering your vegetable plot to Old Man Winter? You don’t have to, says Eliot Coleman, author of Four Season Harvest and The Winter Harvest Handbook. Be the four-season gardener. Here are his tips.

Add protection

For cold-hardy crops, fashion a tunnel-style greenhouse out of electrical conduit covered with plastic sheeting. Seed catalogues sell “hoop benders,” which form the conduit into a horseshoe shape that you then attach to a four-sided wooden frame. “If you and your neighbours go in on the tool together, you can make a mini-greenhouse for almost no money at all,” says Mr. Coleman, who tends an experimental market garden at Four Season Farm in Harborside, Me., with his wife, author and Washington Post columnist Barbara Damrosch.

Change the climate

Winter crops will thrive inside an old-fashioned cold frame – a bottomless box with a glass top that you can build (old windows work well) or purchase readymade. “Basically, you’ve changed the climate,” Mr. Coleman explains. “You’ve moved your garden 500 miles [800 kilometres], or one and a half growing zones, south. This lets you harvest up to Christmas with the very hardiest greens.” He suggests starting with spinach and Asian vegetables such as bok choy.

Double up

As temperatures drop, or if your region is already pretty chilly, you can add a greenhouse around your cold frame. “With a cold frame you’re providing a sweater for your plants. The greenhouse is like a windbreaker over the sweater,” Mr. Coleman says. “That second layer moves you an additional 500 miles south.”

Sow now, reap later

Unless you live in a relatively balmy climate such as Vancouver’s, winter crops should be sown by mid-October. But you can kick off an early-spring harvest by planting inside a cold frame in late fall. “Put some seeds in, no matter what,” Mr. Coleman advises. “Even if you get nothing to eat until spring, you’ll learn a lot. Gardening is a learning game.”


Read the full feature on The Globe and Mail.

Eliot Coleman is the author of The Winter Harvest Handbook, Four-Season Harvest, and The New Organic Grower, and is featured in the new DVD, Year-Round Vegetable Production with Eliot Coleman

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..

Dig In: June Roundup

The latest news and opinions from Chelsea Green and our authors, as well as tips and techniques about how you can bring our books to life in your kitchen, backyard, or community, and special sales, promotions and new releases.   Food Lover’s Guide: 25% Off ALL Food & Drink Books Whether you want to make […] Read More..

New Audiobook—Slowspoke: A Unicyclist’s Guide to America

If you’ve ever yearned to slow down, let life’s winds wobble you, and devote yourself to the act of anticipation rather than immediacy, then learn to ride a unicycle. Or, you could follow the thoughtful and guiding principles of  author, homesteader, and unicyclist Mark Schimmoeller in his latest book Slowspoke. Now available as an audiobook, […] Read More..

New Audio Books: Bears and Elephants Oh My!

Whether you’re keen on learning more about the secretive lives of black bears or how to unlock the secrets of political framing, two recent Chelsea Green books are now available in audio so you can listen in the car, at home, or wherever you prefer. To sample the audio of either book, check out the […] Read More..

Four Perennial Vegetables Perfect for Shady Spots

Perennial vegetables are a food gardener’s dream. Plant them once, treat them well, and they’ll keep on feeding you year after year. Eric Toensmeier, author of Paradise Lot and Perennial Vegetables, and coauthor of Edible Forest Gardens, is the reigning expert on these easy-to-grow crops, and his new DVD takes you on a plant-by-plant tour […] Read More..