Fall is upon us in Chicago and this episode and weblink are focused on season extension for vegetable gardeners in the Chicago area USDA hardiness zones 5 and 6.
Season extension can add at least 30 days each to the front and back ends of your garden season if you apply the strategies outlined here.
Quickly, I would like to announce that we are substituting a new term for the backyard garden. The term we will be using moving forward is home and kitchen or home-kitchen garden. The reason for making this change in jargon is the desire of many of my colleagues and me to accommodate an array of opportunities to grow food at home.
We no longer want home gardeners to feel confined to gardening in their backyards or for households without backyards to feel as if there are no opportunities to garden. There are porches, stoops, rooftops, basements, front yards, and of course backyards, expand your horizons, home-kitchen gardeners! The CPHP garden education series will be researching and reporting through this series on how to vegetable garden in multiple venues where you live.
The kitchen portion of the new jargon is pretty obvious as the goal is to encourage the growth of home gardening as a way to supplement your household's access to food, based upon the site(s) available where you reside. Do what works for you, herbs for cooking, you want to grow tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, whatever you decide based on how much space you have, how much sunlight is available, or if you are going to do aquaponics indoors because you only have access to a basement, then go for it!
Home and Kitchen Greenhouses are an option if you have the money to purchase the equipment. What we have learned is that the purchase of the greenhouse is not the only expense you will incur.
You will need to build out the site you select for your greenhouse providing a platform or foundation for it. For example, we decided the site we selected required landscape fabric, then several inches of pea gravel. Another crucial consideration is anchoring your greenhouse and it is something we did not consider prior to purchasing the greenhouse.
Purchase your greenhouse from a reputable dealer rather than a big box online operation. Call and talk to company representatives and make sure your model is complete with an anchoring system. Again do not forget the extra costs for building out where your greenhouse will be located.
Pros & Cons of Mesh Tunnels, Cold Frames, Low & High Poly Tunnels
Greenhouse Gardening: Easy Tips for Beginners
Low Tunnel on a Budget
26 Cold Frame Plans
4 Ways to Use Your Cold Frame
Quick Hoops to Grow in Winter
Growing a Cool Season Garden in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 & 6
Top 10 Cold Hardy Crops to Grow in Your Garden in Zones 5 & 6