Greenhouses, Polytunnels, And More To Extend Growing Season

Greenhouses, Polytunnels, And More To Extend Growing Season

Emma Downey

Emma Downey
Gardening Expert

Updated on 12/4/2022

When the weather is this nice in the middle of summer, extend growing season is a treat to look at the successful rows of plants you sow in the spring, and it is also a delight to simply water and weed in the areas where it is required to do so.

My experience has taught me a few things that have made it easier for me to endure the chillier evenings that come with the approach of fall and winter. These suggestions assisted me in maintaining a warmer temperature in my home. In the latter half of winter, I make it a point to start seeds indoors early so they will be ready to be planted outside as soon as the last frost of the season has passed. That gives me a head start on the growing season and a few additional weeks of growth time in the spring than I would have otherwise had.

Extend Growing Season

The amount of space you have available, the amount of light that can reach the plants, and the temperature of the soil. How well your plants can adjust to cooler weather and what you can do to protect them from the elements are all factors that will play a role in determining how successful your garden will be.

You may need to move some of your plants in the late autumn to a location that is better suited for them to continue flourishing and provide you with leaves, fruit, and flowers to enjoy. That will allow you to get the most out of your plants and ensure you have plenty of foliage, fruit, and flowers to enjoy. If you want to ensure that your plants will continue to give you these things, you may need to do this. There is still some time left in your growing season, and the following advice will assist you in making the most of the remaining time that you have available.

6 Techniques For Extending Your Growing Season

1. Understand the Weather

This first option is relatively simple to pick, and all that is asked of you is to keep an eye on the upcoming weather prediction. If there is a heatwave, it is strongly suggested that you water your plants more frequently than usual. Some plants can flourish from the additional precipitation that a storm or thunderstorm brings, but you will need to take precautions to safeguard the growth of more delicate plants, such as aubergines (eggplant in the US). You may need frost protection at the start of the season, such as coverings made of bubble wrap or cardboard, and the same thing will be accurate at the end of the season.

Extend Growing Season

If a squash plant is still generating flowers in September, there is a chance that it may continue to produce fruit as long as it does not suffer any frost damage and die. However, there is no guarantee that this will be the case. If you try to cultivate exotic plant seeds in your yard in the United Kingdom, you should not expect the same outcome as you would in a country like India or Brazil, where such plants are designed to thrive. 

That is because the circumstances in those nations are distinct from those in the United Kingdom. I make it a point to try growing at least one new exotic plant yearly. While I have had varying degrees of success with these endeavors, I always advise beginning gardeners to begin by sowing plants that they are already familiar with and have a high probability of flourishing in their geographic area. I make it a point to try growing at least one new exotic plant every year, and while I have had varying degrees of success with these endeavors, I have different degrees of success in them.

2. Cover And Wrap Plants To Increase Heat!

  • Put money on a polytunnel or a greenhouse to expand your growing space. Whether or not you reside in the sunny southern section of the United Kingdom, where frost is not as expected, you may or may not be subjected to harsh winters accompanied by high wind speeds, snow, and freezing temperatures. That is because severe winters are more common in northern regions of the United Kingdom. By wrapping the whole building with bubble wrap, it is feasible to provide enough protection for the plants that are spending the winter in a greenhouse. 

Extend Growing Season

  • The greenhouse will be protected from draughts and insulated as a result of this measure. In situations with a chance of frost, you must always ensure that the door is closed. In addition, heated propagation mats offer a further option for maintaining a consistent temperature for seeds. That is an important consideration when growing plants from seed. You may set them to turn on automatically at a given time of night for a certain amount of time or if the temperature drops below a certain threshold. Alternatively, you can set them to turn on manually. Alternately, one can manually begin the process of activating them.
  • Covering the soil in an outdoor setting with a layer of polythene, fleece, or even cardboard during the winter months is recommended. That will prevent the ground from becoming so cold that it is unsuitable for planting in the spring. Because of this, the earth will be able to keep more heat. Getting the soil ready for planting will be facilitated by doing what has to be done here. It was common to use old carpets as a ground cover on allotments; however, this method is now prohibited since many mats are constructed with harmful elements that can seep into the soil and subsequently into the food produced there.
  • Consequently, it used to be standard practice for people to use old carpets as a sort of ground cover on allotments; however, this method has now been declared illegal. In addition to using manure bags, compost bags, and other bags I have to lie around the home, I also use old clothing that has been repurposed, which helps me reduce the amount of waste I produce.

Extend Growing Season

  • I start the autumn by aerating the soil in the patch, then applying some homemade compost, and last, I use the cover material of my choice. I do this in the fall.
  • If I want a better chance of successfully harvesting my first crop of spring salads or peas, I cover it with comfrey leaves. That helps to boost the possibility of a good harvest. Simply let it sit there during the winter with some stones on top to act as a weight for it. When spring arrives, you may pulverize the leaves and work them straight into the ground to release the nutrients that are contained inside the leaves. That will help the soil absorb more nutrients.
  • When you open the cover, you will find a lovely array of slugs and snails hiding within to avoid winter's cold. When you lift the body, you will discover: They behaved in this manner so that the cover would shield them from the cold weather. The procedure of pest management has an extra advantage due to this. You will see these slugs and snails for the first time when you lift the lid. Put them all in a bucket at once, and then immediately transport the bucket to either the location where the chickens are kept or the compost pile, whichever one of those locations is most convenient.

  • There won't be any weeds, and the temperature will be considerably higher than the ground in the surrounding area. It's ideal for getting a head start on planting lettuce and other green plants in early rows!
  • On top of it, you should put a cloche. You can obtain at garden stores or buy them online; if none of those choices works for you, there is always the option of making your own. A cloche is typically constructed using a tube made of wire that is then covered with either fleece or polythene to maintain the temperature within. You are welcome to look at the cloche photo to the left. Some gardeners use them to keep butterflies and moths away from cabbages and protect a new row of seeds from birds. In addition to this, they stop birds from tearing through a row of cabbages that have been produced. 
  • They help maintain a higher temperature along a row of plants for a more extended period, which benefits the plants. They serve a dual role in allotments: during the colder months, they insulate a specific plant to keep it warm, and during the warmer months of the year, they assist in germinating seeds at an earlier stage. The allotment serves as the location for both of these activities. The word "cloche," which describes a glass container designed to be placed over delicate plants, originates from the French language. In English, the term "cloche" has come to be used in this way. In today's society, we may achieve the same result by recycling containers that have previously held yogurt or milk after washing them. Still, if you have a limitless amount of money, you can go online for beautiful glass designs from which to pick. This location boasts some very stunning architectural details!

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  • It protects trees that are vulnerable to frost by covering them with a blanket. Some trees and shrubs, particularly those more susceptible to damage from ice, should have a covering placed over them to shield them from the cold and prevent frost damage. That is of the most significant importance for trees of the sorts almond, apricot, and peach because these are the kinds of trees that are often the first to blossom in the spring. If a late frost happens and causes damage to the entire crop, it is vital to protect these shrubs from the worst of the weather by shading them with fleece or making some fences around the trunk. That will prevent the entire harvest from being harmed. You might achieve this by coloring the area with shrubs like yellow flowered shrubs. If there is a possibility of snow, you should bundle up warm clothing such as blankets or fleeces.
  • It is important to remember to move indoors any plants that are now resting on chilly surfaces, such as windowsills or other outdoor settings. When the curtains are drawn, the air coming in from the outside is at its coldest near the windowsills. That is because the curtains prevent the sun from entering the room. Place the planter near a window and cover it with a piece of bubble wrap that can be recycled. Additionally, orient the pot so that it faces the window. That will help to keep the chilly air from entering the room by preventing its entrance. That can help to reduce the likelihood of the air getting uncomfortably cold!

Extend Growing Season

  • Do you have any prior knowledge or experience with the concepts of hotbeds and cold frames? These are some strategies you could implement to provide plants with early spring protection or nourish them while also protecting them from unfavorable weather conditions. You can accomplish both of these objectives by putting these strategies into action. Continue reading for some responses to questions that are asked rather frequently in connection to hotbeds and cold beds, and find out how to differentiate between the two.

3. Understand Your Growing Area

  • Make sure that your plans take into account the good features. It is recommended that this space be planted with food plants such as peas and beans, sunflowers, squash, and any other plants that birds who are hungry enjoy eating, and the food has been gathered, you may hasten the process of warming the soil by covering the plots with cardboard or fleece. That will allow you to work more efficiently. After the last frost has passed, removing the plant or the protection it was under is not tricky. You may provide some color to this region throughout the winter by cultivating a plant in a container and placing it in this specific location. To give your new seedlings a head start, consider enriching the soil with some leaf mold, manure, and comfrey leaves before you plant them. That is especially important if you want to give them a head start.

Extend Growing Season

  • Take into consideration the areas that will be in the shade. The location that is sheltered and shaded by a fruit tree is not going to be a suitable environment for the growth of plants that require a great deal of water and nutrients. That is because the tree can shield its inhabitants from the elements. 
  • When it comes to cultivating herbs, your best bet is to produce mint and other types of plants that develop well in shady conditions. You shouldn't place plants here that require a lot of sunlight, but Russian Tarragon is an excellent plant for self-seeding in gloomy locations and is a suitable choice for areas with a lot of shade. It is important to remember that many Brassica plants, which belong to the cabbage family and include sprouts, cabbage, and kale like to grow in the shade. As a consequence of your inclination, the shady area you own will become active whenever the leaves that fall from the trees cover the ground.
  • You ought to adjust your plans in light of the current time of year to maximize their effectiveness. Do you have a plant in your garden that thrives throughout one season but quickly deteriorates and dies when the following one rolls around? I make preparations for an early gift of flower bulbs and Honesty for a magnificent spring show of all they have to offer when I realize that my grape vines, almond trees, and cherry trees will cover the entire driveway by the end of the summer. 
  • That allows me to take full advantage of the bounty that these trees have to offer. That enables me to use all they have to offer, which is quite convenient. Those things are completed. I will let the trees and the vine fight against one another in the future for the light. My snowdrops, grape hyacinths and cyclamen take over and take over once the temps have decreased and the vine has entirely faded back throughout the winter season.

Extend Growing Season

  • You might want to consider switching up the kind of plants you cultivate in your garden from time to time. Because doing so depletes the area of the same nutrients over and over again, it is not a good idea to continue growing the same crop on the same soil if you want to preserve the health of your soil. That is because doing so depletes the area of the same nutrients. It is not a good idea to continue growing the same crop on the same soil if you want to keep the health of your soil. 
  • If you want to preserve the health of your soil, you should rotate your crops. Therefore, if you produce potatoes the first year, the following year, you should plant legumes such as peas or beans to feed nitrogen to the soil. Potatoes are a dicot, which means they have two leaves. If you want healthy growth from your potatoes, this is a crucial step. After that, you should go on to plants that are related to cabbage, and then you should end up with root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, and swedes.
  • On the other hand, beans are prone to damage caused by frost, although cabbage plants may grow in frigid surroundings if given the opportunity. Frost may be harmful to beans if they are not adequately protected. If you plan in this fashion and guarantee that each site will have something that will follow it, you will be able to make effective use of the area while also preserving the quality of your soil.

4. Get Your Plants As Much Light As Possible:

Extend Growing Season

  • Reduce the height of any bushes that have become overgrown and are blocking sunlight from reaching particular sections of the greenhouse. In addition, trim the size of any plants that are creating shadows on the window sills. It is of the highest significance to do this work in the late fall, winter, or early spring so that light can easily reach the plants positioned behind them or only near them. You should try to complete this task as soon as possible.
  • Large shrubs planted in the ground outside can also benefit from being pruned to maintain their shape and ensure that the plants growing underneath them receive an adequate amount of moisture and nutrients. Because established shrubs have deeper roots than lettuce or herbs, you can encourage the growth of these plants by trimming their branches, allowing them to dry out on their own, and then using them to make mulch or firewood. That will work because established shrubs have deeper roots than lettuce or herbs. On the other hand, lettuce and herbs have root systems that are not as deep as other plants.
  • Your newly planted seedlings will have a greater chance of thriving if fostered on a windowsill since plants like the additional light supplied by this location. If you nurture your seedlings on a windowsill, they will have a greater chance of thriving.

Extend Growing Season

  • Find a spot for your greenhouse where it will get the most sunlight. That will maximize its growth potential. On paper, this appears to be a simple operation; unfortunately, in order to carry it out in my backyard, it required either relocating a gooseberry bush or cutting back a bay tree. Because plants grown in greenhouses must have a constant supply of sunlight, water, and nutrients, and because these plants cannot hop or move towards the light, it is imperative that you position your greenhouse in an area that gets the most sunlight. Plants grown in greenhouses require constant sunlight, water, and nutrients. If you and your loved ones like lazing around in the backyard and catching rays of sunlight, you might want to place chairs throughout the yard to get the most out of this pastime. To ensure that your complete family can participate in what's going on, it won't take much work to reserve a seat in that area.
  • If you want your houseplants to get the maximum sunlight possible, you need to ensure that none of the furniture in your home is blocking the sunshine from reaching them. If it prevents sunlight from entering the room during the summer months, you should move it to a different location.
  • Growers who cultivate their plants on walls or balconies can boost their plants' sunlight by painting the walls black and using mirrors. Because of this, the plants will receive an increased amount of sun. You will find that this works rather wonderfully, for instance, if you paint the wall behind a pallet shelf black. That is something that you should try. Be aware that the increased heat on a tiny patio during the summer may require additional watering if you try to give the impression that there is more space than there is by utilizing mirrors. That is something that you should keep in mind.

5. Plants Should Be Hardened Off Before Being Placed In Permanent Positions.

Extend Growing Season

That indicates that you should allow plants grown in greenhouses to become acclimated to the climate outside by exposing them to the sun each day as soon as the temperature is comfortable enough to do so. You can do this by exposing them to the sun for some time between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. You need to ensure that the plants are exposed to sunlight for a certain amount each day, and you should only do so when the temperature permits it.

That enables you to plant more delicate seeds like aubergines and courgettes sooner than you could in soil, and you can use the protection of the greenhouse to have larger plants ready earlier than you might otherwise have them if you put them there. As a result, you will have more time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. At this time of year, gardeners should look for stormy winds, frost, and anything else that may threaten the well-being of the seeds and seedlings they have just planted.

However, it is necessary to bring all the plants back inside before Jack Frost arrives. To make this process run more efficiently, I often put up a table outside my greenhouse and moved the plants between the greenhouse and the table during the day. That allows me to keep an eye on the plants without having to step inside. The plants will require some time each day to adjust to spending the day outside, but as time goes on and they grow accustomed to it, they will eventually be able to flourish in this environment. They just need some time to acclimate.

6. Plant A Second Set Of Seeds At The End Of The Summer

Extend Growing Season

When I was just starting started with my allotment, Mick, a more experienced gardener, provided me with some excellent advice by suggesting that I always sow more seeds in the month of August. That was his recommendation. I recall gazing at Mick with a confused expression on my face while thinking to myself, "But isn't the end of the season about here?" I was thinking this as I was staring at Mick. I was entrusted with some extremely confidential knowledge regarding the circumstance by him.

You may grow lettuce, rocket, parsley, and even beans in August in Kent to receive the second harvest of greens by October and right up until the time when the frosts come. That will allow you to harvest greens right up to the time when the frosts hit. You will be able to continue harvesting greens right up until the frosts arrive if you do this. Even while there is a possibility that the ice won't come until December and the squash plants continue to develop, there is still a possibility that the frost won't come until December. That is because there is a chance that the glaze won't arrive until December.

  • That is not necessarily beneficial for your region, especially if the first frosts begin in October, but you may want to think about which seeds might survive indoors on a windowsill or in your greenhouse if you offer them some shelter during the colder times of the year. If the first frosts begin in October, this is not necessarily beneficial for your region. If the first frosts of the season start occurring in October, this could not be your location's advantage.

Extend Growing Season

  • August is the best month to plant seeds since there is a decreased chance of their sprouting after being buried in August, making it the ideal time to do it. If a plant "bolts," it means that the temperature is too high for it and that the plant is trying to blossom and generate seeds even though the temperature is too high for it. The plant as a whole will, at some point, attempt to produce sources, which will eventually result in the plant's demise. On the other hand, this may cause the plant to have some very stunning white basil blossoms.
  • Herbs such as rockets are lovely because they can be grown outside, and their green leaves may be gathered throughout the winter, even if the plant itself is dormant. That makes Rocket one of the best types of herbs. Another delicious and nutritious green salad I have regularly is garlic mustard, and I consume it throughout the year. A kind of Cos lettuce called "Winter Density" grows very well in environments where the temperatures are on the cooler side. 
  • The addition of coriander, another one of my successful winter greenhouse experiments, and winter savory, which lends a delicate flavor to salads in the fall and winter, are both excellent alternatives. Coriander was another one of my winter greenhouse experiments that were successful. The cultivation of coriander in my winter greenhouse was an experiment that I carried out. Placing a cover on top of the late seeders may prevent heat loss throughout the night in those plants, increasing the likelihood that the seeds will begin to develop into new plants. If the weather report indicates that there will be no precipitation and the temperature will remain stable, you are free to take off the cloche.

Extend Growing Season

  • Basil is one of the plants that are not as hardy as others and should be grown in a greenhouse or on a windowsill in full sunshine. Additionally, you need to make an effort to maintain a cooler temperature for them and take the blooms off of them (although you may eat basil blossoms). Plants will continue to thrive for longer if you perform these things to ensure their health.
  • Because lovage and Tarragon both have a propensity to wither and die when the temperature drops below a certain point. It is sufficient to bring containers inside and store them there to maintain them until the climate is suitable for returning them to their outdoor locations when the temperature rises above that point.
  • Take some cuttings from the herbs before the winter weather puts them into a dormant state and causes them to lose their ability to grow. That is only a safety measure to take in the remote possibility that some of those you have left outside would perish due to the cold weather. We all remember the years when there was a lot of snow and freezing, and we all know that some plants cannot survive in conditions like that. We all remember when there was a lot of snow, and it was frigid. When there was a lot of snow, and it was pretty cold, those are the years we all remember. If you have cuttings, you may still bring them inside to enjoy them, but you will have to wait until the following spring to plant them in the soil where they belong. If you have cuttings, you can bring them inside to enjoy them. If you have access to cuttings, you can consider this method.

What Is The Difference Between A Cold Frame And A Hot Frame (Or Bed)?

Extend Growing Season

A cold frame is a specific kind of box that is tilted at an angle, has soil inside of it, has a lid that can be taken off (or is moveable), and has all of these components assembled. In most instances, it is located near a building or some other structure that serves as a source of warmth. It's possible that this building is a shed, but it may also be a greenhouse or a conservatory. It's hard to tell from the outside. Some gardeners line the container's interior with soil before capping it with a lid to provide some insulation against the cold. This step comes after the initial phase of stacking hay bales, which helps maintain the soil's moisture content.

This endeavor aims to create conditions in which seeds that have just been sown have a chance to germinate and grow into robust plants in an atmosphere that is not susceptible to freezing temperatures. Compost manufactured at home, leaf mold, soil from abandoned plant pots, and several other materials can all be used to create the earth. You can also make the soil from different types of materials. It is best to plant your seeds in containers and then set those containers on top of the ground. When the weather improves, you should be able to uncover the pots and begin to harden the seeds, so they are prepared to be planted when the temperature rises. That will ensure that the seeds have a better chance of surviving when planted.

Extend Growing Season

You may begin the seeds much earlier than they usually would be able to if they are planted in chilly and damp soil. You can protect the roots from frost or cold weather by covering them at night or when there is a prediction that ice or freezing weather is in the forecast. Listed below is a selection of beneficial aspects: The seedlings are started in pots the vast majority of the time, and then they are transferred into the growth bed as soon as there is no longer a chance that they would be harmed by frost.

A hotbed is a box comparable to a cold frame; however, in contrast to a hard edge, a cradle is typically positioned on top of a warm zone, such as a giant compost heap. On the other hand, a hard frame is typically placed inside a building. Plants can be grown successfully in warmer environments with the help of hotbeds. If you have never touched the top of a plastic composting bin before, you are going to be very surprised by how warm it feels when you do so for the very first time.

That is because the materials in a heap are degrading and falling apart into ever-smaller bits, causing this situation to arise. Because heat rises, positioning a grow box on top of these plants will provide a very warm and attractive environment in which they will be able to develop. That will allow the plants to reach their full potential. Because of this, the plants can realize their full potential. Plants created in this manner include melons, which are extremely sensitive to heat, and aubergines, which adore heat and, because they are positioned on top, can eagerly absorb every bit of available sunlight. Melons are just one example of a plant created in this manner, and Aubergines are another.

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To help the plant feel more at ease, the lid of the heated bed, which includes a cover, may be adjusted to a lower or higher position. Altering the orientation of the top in any way will have the same result. Even if the heat source is still working, the cover can be removed if there is no substantial change in the temperature throughout the summer.

It is advised that both hotbeds and cold frames be oriented so that the southern side faces outward. Because of this, you will be able to make full use of the sunshine that is currently accessible. You can use insulating materials such as straw, wood piles, old boards, repurposed fabric, bubble wrap, or polythene during winter. Because of this, there is the potential for an increase in temperature.

The soil must be on a slope for it to be stable, and a significant number of plants must be able to climb up and reach the sun for it to be beneficial. In addition, irrigation is an absolute requirement because the hotbed can get relatively high temperatures during the summer months. If you use your outdoor compost heap as a source of heat and a free wall to build a cold frame, then you can do either of these projects on your own without the assistance of anyone else. You may supplement your garden's nutrients with the compost you make from your kitchen scraps.

The gardener can use any of these methods to shield sensitive plants from the destructive effects of cold weather and speed up the plant's growth before it is ordinarily allowed to be planted in the ground.

Conclusion

Extend Growing Season

Regardless of where in the world you now call home, it is my sincere hope that by now, you have figured out some strategies to extend the growing season that you have available to you. Cloches, greenhouses, and sunny windowsills are all beautiful places to protect what these fragile plants require while allowing their invigorating aroma to permeate the space in which they are planted.

Growers will benefit from extending the growing season by an additional week or more by using hotbeds and cold frames. That will help them to get more excellent harvests from their crops. It is possible to save trees and shrubs that do not perform well in cold weather by protecting them from them by covering them in cardboard, carpet, or fleece. That will prevent the cold weather from damaging the plants. Because of this, the plants will not perish due to the cold weather.

Your greenhouse may serve a dual purpose in that it protects more fragile plants while also allowing you to experiment with more hardy herbs and salads that will continue to thrive in a healthy manner throughout the whole year. Extend growing season possible that putting your greenhouse to use this way will yield many benefits. As a result, you won't have to limit your consumption of salads during any part of the year. Wrapping yourselves in blankets and bringing the more vulnerable individuals inside will provide you with protection from the cold weather. There is not the slightest justification for a gardener to take a vacation during the year's colder months.