Enjoy your favorite homegrown vegetables year round with fresh season-extension techniques from master gardener Bill Thorness.
Meet your instructor, author and master gardener Bill Thorness, as you whet your appetite for hearty year-round vegetables. Bill introduces you to various regional climates in the U.S., shows you how to use a calendar to extend your harvest, and suggests a variety of cool-weather plants to consider.
Discover the best ways to select a site, evaluate and enhance your yard conditions and nurture your plants throughout the fall and winter seasons. Bill shows you how to play detective as you look for clues in your garden that indicate good sun exposure, protection from wind and prime soil conditions. Next, he shares ways to create simple, cost-effective wind barriers and raised beds that help absorb heat.
Now that you've established your growing season and mapped out the best site for your plants, it's time to maximize the composition of your soil. Bill shares his vast knowledge of compost as he demonstrates how to make a nutrient-rich mixture that will help you fortify plants year-round, and won't attract unwanted pests. You'll gain confidence as you practice compost recipes, make your own worm bins and learn other soil-building techniques like sheet mulching and planting cover crops.
Discover the secrets to extending the seasons as you explore techniques for trapping heat in your soil. Bill discusses the best methods for raising soil temperature using plastic covers or floating row covers, which offer various benefits for warding off pests, retaining warmth and moderating moisture. Next, he shows you how to find or make inexpensive hot caps that provide microclimates for individual plants.
Move beyond the basics of season extension into more advanced techniques. Bill helps you embrace your inner carpenter as he demonstrates ways to build cloches and cold frames that can protect your harvest from harsh elements. Whether you want to make a simple hoop structure or a sturdy enclosed environment, Bill's tips will help you construct the perfect environment for finicky plants.
Put your new understanding of cloches and cold frames to use as you make a successful planting plan. You'll explore ways to harden off seedlings: a technique used to transition indoor starters from a controlled environment into harsher elements. Next, you'll learn the logistics of planting, watering and venting cloches and cold frames, with consideration to planting hearty and delicate vegetables side by side that will stay protected in harsh winter temperatures.
Complete the class with a thorough overview of other extended-season options, ranging from modest indoor gardening techniques to exquisite year-round greenhouses. Bill explains the range of greenhouses and polytunnels that you can consider, and breaks down the climate and plant types that work best in each one. You'll also gain new insight into selecting the best types of trays, covers and artificial lights for working indoors.