Garden School


Extending the Life of Your Summer Garden

We all love our summer gardens. Whether our gardens are meant to produce colorful blooms and fragrant flowers that delight the senses or plenty of vegetables that will keep our families fed throughout the long cold winter months, there is much to be said and enjoyed about keeping a summer garden growing and thriving. In fact, many of us look for ways to prolong the lives of our summer gardens in order to get that little bit of extra life from the flowers, plants, and vegetables that we plant in them. Keep reading to discover a few ways that you can prolong the life of your summer garden for a few more days, weeks, or even perhaps an extra month of color or vegetable production.

One thing you can do to prolong the life of your garden is by planting in a raised bed. This is basically planting your summer garden in a specifically designed garden box that rests above ground. These boxes will heat up quicker and cool down more slowly allowing a little extra growing time. For small flower or vegetable gardens these are often ideal allowing flowers to continue flowering and vegetables to continue producing after the initial seasonal frosts that often signal the end of growing seasons for those plants planted below ground.

If raised beds aren't going to work for you, it is possible to begin the plants in the warmth of the interior of your home or a smaller scale raised bed and then transport them once they have matured a bit and the frost season is over with. This gives your garden a bit of a head start though it will do little to prolong the life of your garden once the first frost hits. For that, raised beds are truly the most effective method for small vegetable gardens. Those with large crops often find alternate heating methods and acceptable expense to prolong the lives of their gardens or to ward off against frosts that occur either early in the fall or after the initial spring planting.

You could also invest in garden row covers to protect your plants and extend their life a little beyond the average growing season or at the very least protect your plants through the first frost or so. These covers keep the plants nice and toasty warm in fact, it is important that you monitor them closely when covered to avoid overheating and do not use the covers when not necessary as this can affect the growth of the plants and the yields negatively as much as it can impact them in a positive manner.

You should understand that there is no requirement that says you must prolong the life of your garden. Many people get what they want from their garden whether it be the enjoyment of beauty from the bright and colorful flowers or enough vegetables to last through the leaner winter months when vegetables come at either a premium price or lack in flavor to some degree. Once you've gotten what you want or expect from your garden there really is no reason to prolong its life. There is especially no reason to take extraordinary steps to do so.

That being said there are many families that feel an extra month of color will help get them through the long and drab winter months that seem to be absent of bright and vividly colored flowers and that an extra week or two to harvest their vegetables will provide an extra month of two of food. These are very valid reasons for making the effort to extend the life of a summer garden. My hope is that the information above will help you do just that. Good luck with your summer garden and hopefully you will be able to enjoy your summer garden well into the fall or at the very least beyond the year's first frost.