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 When children are put at risk

    Adults who deal drugs, commit domestic violence and other crimes with kids present are guilty of yet another crime, writes columnist Penny Clute.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • ouellette.jpg Web doctor always gets it right

    I have access to the collected medical knowledge of all recorded history at my fingertips, columnist Steve Ouellette writes.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Airport projects can benefit local economy

    Using a local workforce keeps wages and spending in the community if it can be done in a cost-effective manner, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Producers can recycle tubing

    Project allows maple-syrup makers to conveniently dispose of their used tubing in an environmentally friendly way, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Easter with doubters and the 'nones'

    Should more pastors ask this blunt question: "Do you really believe Jesus was raised from the dead?" wonders religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • little_mug.jpg There's no saw like an old saw Kaye and I laughed ourselves silly the other day as we tried to top each other with our own sayings from childhood, columnist Gordie Little writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Denenberg_Stu1.jpg Privacy concerns make a comeback

    There's a growing concern amongst the millennials, columnist Stu Denenberg writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Several options exist for downtown

    Pedestrian mall just one idea that could be good for city's economic future, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Government can't create success on its own

    It takes a grass-roots community effort of people working together to assure future accomplishment, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 13, 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