Press-Republican

Columns

April 8, 2013

Tips for extending the growing season

North Country gardeners are always looking for ways to add a few more weeks to the growing season. 

While you should be able to get a decent crop of most vegetables without having to provide extra protection, a little bit of effort can result in a much larger yield with a longer period of harvest. 

It’s important to understand the needs of each crop you plan to grow. Cool-season crops are those that can take a light frost and grow well under cooler conditions. They include spinach, lettuce, parsley, onions, leeks and peas. Warm-season crops will be killed if frosted and need temperatures above 70 degrees to thrive. This group includes tomatoes, peppers, beans, squash, melons, cucumbers and basil.

Although warm-season crops may not die during cool weather, they won’t put on much growth until they have those warmer temperatures. The cool-season crops are the easiest to work with in our climate as you try to extend your season.

Traditionally, gardeners make their plans around the local date of the last chance of frost. If you want to gamble and set out frost-sensitive plants before that date, you need to have frost protection at hand to help them survive when cold weather is predicted. But that date is getting harder and harder to predict as our weather seesaws from warm spells to cold snaps. I used to say that May 20 was a safe guess for the latest chance of frost in the Champlain Valley, and early June in the higher elevations of Dannemora and Lake Placid. You might try pushing that back a week or two now, but be ready for anything.

Rowcover is the generic term for a lightweight fabric that can be either laid right over the crops or held up on hoops above the foliage. The fabric resembles dryer sheets and is porous enough to let rain, sunlight and air circulate. It comes in many widths and lengths, although you may have to use mail order to find the larger sizes. 

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • clute_cropped.jpg The Law and You: Police search of vehicles

    Because a car can be moved while a warrant is being obtained, authorities are given powers that let them act more quickly, writes former DA and judge, Penny Clute.

    August 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • ken_wibecan.jpg Another day in the life

    Each morning I rise from bed, slowly, as is my habit, and sit quietly on the bed contemplating the day that looms before me, writes columnist Ken Wibecan.

    August 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • PPR small talk mug 081714 Corner store is no more

    Columnist Gordie Little offers a reminder of the little grocery stores of days gone by.

    August 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • PPR skin deep mug 081714 High-end products worth the splurge

    Regardless of the price, writes columnist Felicia Krieg, she would buy the core group of her makeup products over and over again.

    August 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • paul_grasso.jpg Tax code needs overhaul

    Corporations may be criticized for exploiting loopholes, but it is the complex tax system that is at fault, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    August 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Ideas about soil health changing

    New techniques like no-til and cover crops can make soil healthier than conventional tillage, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    August 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Economy may have changed forever

    The Great Recession has reordered the workforce in a way that makes it unlikely it will ever be the same, according to columnist Colin Read.

    August 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg The dark side of fun funerals

    Something strange happened in American culture in the past decade or two: People started planning fun funerals, writes religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    August 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • PPR fit bits mug Developing power key to success

    While strength is important, the ability to generate power is required for many basic activities in life, writes columnist Ted Santaniello.

    August 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • PPR you had to ask mug 081014 Time to reel in youth sports parents

    Do not scream at a child that he's a loser, at least not in a language he understands, columnist Steve Ouellette writes.

    August 10, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension

Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns

Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice
Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk
Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time