The idea of year-round gardening can be very challenging for many gardeners because of distinct seasons and a lot of extra work that goes into it. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you think about year-round vegetable gardens. However, with careful planning and clever planting, you can grow vegetables throughout the year, and we are here to help you. In this article we will provide you with a year-round vegetable garden plan, so let’s get into it.
Your amazing year-round vegetable garden plan
In this year-round vegetable garden plan, we have provided you with strategies on how you can grow your vegetables in all seasons. So without further ado, let’s get started.
1- Start early
The first strategy of a year-round vegetable garden plan is to sow your seeds early. If you want fresh greens to get ready for early spring, then you have to sow seeds earlier in the year. While many vegetables, such as salad greens, can sprout quickly from a spring sowing, other vegetables, like onions, cabbage, chard, and tender vegetables, take a little longer to grow. Thus, you need to start early to get an earlier harvest. You can protect vegetables from outdoor temperatures by sowing under cover. You can also protect them by using a cold frame, tunnel, greenhouse, or sunny windowsill.
You can also grow many seedlings indoors under growth lights and can transfer them to a sheltered place outside after a month or two. Onions and peas can be sown into plug trays in late winter, and then can be transplanted to beds outdoors in early spring. Vegetables such as lettuce, other salad greens, coriander, and parsley will grow in a matter of weeks in the spring season.
2- Summer sowing
Sowing seeds in summer provides you with green leafy vegetables and organic salads. In summer, vegetables can be sown outdoors in a small well-prepared seedbed. You can grow expensive varieties in modules, trays, or pots to protect them from pests, such as slugs. Vegetables for sunny, summer sowing are kale, carrots, lettuce, French beans, spring cabbage, purple sprouting broccoli, and chard (beet leaf).
Along with growing vegetables for the summer season, it’s better to plant seeds in mid-summer if you want to have vegetables in the autumn and winter. Mid-summer is a perfect time to start growing vegetables that you can use in the winter season. These vegetables, such as kale, chard, and cabbage, will provide you with vitamins throughout the cold, grey months.
Here are some vegetables that you can sow in mid-summer: dwarf French beans and beetroot can be sown in mid-July. Spring cabbage, calabrese, chicory red, and Chinese cabbage can be sown in mid-August; endive in late August; and kale, spinach, and spinach beet in August.
See also: 10 Benefits of Green Vegetables
3- Extending the growing season
Mid to late fall brings the first frosts. During these coldest months of the year, plant growth is much slower and the season officially draws to a close. However, a lot of crops can still mature if they are provided a little protection. By providing necessary shelter from frost, you can extend the growing season of crops and vegetables. Summer salads, cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes can continue to grow. You can provide warmth and shelter by using row covers, fleece, low tunnels, cloches, and cold frames. You can cover pots with cardboard and pack them with bubble wrap.
4- Fill the ‘Hungry Gap’
The hungry gap is the time period at the start of the spring season where the crops of previous seasons are finished and there is no fresh produce available from the vegetable garden yet. There are minimal harvests during the springtime hungry gap. However, by planning carefully and planting cleverly, we can make sure that there’s plenty of harvest to enjoy during this time. You can sow vegetables like kale, broccoli, cabbage, and leeks in late summer. They will overcome the winter season, and you will get the yield in springtime.
5- Overwintering vegetables
Overwintering refers to the practice of sowing cold-hardy, healthy, established crops in the fall so that they will provide harvests during cold months of winter. Overwintering vegetables need to be planted between mid-summer and early fall. You need to protect them from the cold with greenhouse plastic or floating row cover. Overwintering requires only a few minutes per week from you to just check on crops. Vegetables that you can consider overwintering include: arugula, broccoli, beets, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, chard, carrots, claytonia (also called miner’s lettuce), fava beans, garlic, kale, leeks, lettuce (especially romaine types), mustard greens, scallions, and spinach.
See also: The Best Self-Watering Planters
6- Spread your harvests
You need to spread your harvests to have a steady cycle of harvests. To increase your harvests, you need to sow quick-growing varieties in small amounts and often throughout the spring and summer season to have a stable cycle of harvests. You need to select and sow a mixture of different varieties that you can harvest in early, mid, and late-season so that you can enjoy your vegetables for a longer period. This way you will be able to enjoy carrots from mid-spring to late winter and strawberries from early summer to fall, etc.
7- Succession planting for a year-round vegetable garden
Succession planting is crucial if you are thinking about extending your garden season for year-round harvest. After sowing your first crops in the garden bed, you must think about planting a succession crop. Succession planting is a highly effective technique in order to maximize your harvests. With succession planting, space left by a harvested crop will be filled by a new crop quickly. By creating a succession planting calendar and following it strictly, you can harvest and replant quick-growing crops up to four times a season. There are four methods of succession planting:
Staggered planting: planting the same vegetables every few weeks to have a steady succession of harvests.
Companion planting: planting two or more crops with different maturity rates together at the same time.
Two or more crops in succession: planting a different crop in the same place after harvesting the previous one.
Same crops, different maturity rates: planting several varieties of the same crops that have different times of maturation, in order to continuously provide harvest throughout the growing season.
You need to have pots, containers, or trays according to types of vegetables to enable you to grow crops from seed so that they are ready to plant when a gap appears in the garden after harvesting the previous crops. In this way, you don’t waste any of the growing season.
8- Prepare for predators
You must prepare yourself for pests and animals. Your garden can be full of predators who want to destroy your crops. You can keep animals out by doing fencing around the garden. To keep pests away from your garden, you can do multiple things. Start by using clean and healthy soil for planting because research shows that a fine quality of soil can withstand pest attacks. Keeping your garden clean is effective in controlling pests. Insect traps help keep pests and insects away. Planting a mix of onion, garlic, and chives in your garden helps keep insects and pests away from your garden as pests hate them and will try to avoid them.
See Also: The Best Cutting Board with Containers.
We have provided you with a plan for your year-round vegetable garden. Follow all these strategies mentioned above and you will enjoy your harvests throughout the year. It may require some time and effort, but you will succeed in having a year-round vegetable garden if you make a plan and then follow it strictly and remain consistent with your actions.