Getting to know your local growing climate is one of the first steps to growing a thriving vegetable garden. But there’s a big difference between learning about your climate and feeling limited by your climate.
Your growing climate matters. It determines what veggie varieties you’re going to grow and when you plant and harvest them.You’ve probably heard that vegetables and herbs thrive in an “ideal” temperature range of 50-85 F (10-30 C). But how many places on Earth consistently stay in that ideal range? Not many!
You don’t have to live in ideal conditions to grow lots of food all year long.
There’s no denying great growing conditions help. But once you understand the language of plants and what they want, you can grow vegetables anywhere at any time of year. You just have to get a little creative!
“There are as many creative ways to grow your own vegetables as there are places on this earth” -Stacey Murphy
In this two minute video, Stacey shows you what’s possible if you want to grow food at an unusual time of the year OR in a less than ideal growing climate.
Related articles you may enjoy:
Vegetable Crops for Hot Weather Gardening‘
Getting Started Growing Your Own Vegetable and Herb Seedlings
Unusual Edibles for Your Front Yard Garden
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I can usually grow kale, Swiss chard and celery here in the Northwest (WA) during the winter, but this year, there has been an extreme problem with what I am assuming is rats or mice eating all of the leaves. I almost never see them, but occasionally, our cat catches one. Any suggestions?
I grew veg year round with DYI geodesic dome for 28 months straight through two of the worse winters on record 2012 and 2013 in NE Wisconsin. One was the most snow since 1905 and other was coldest. That could be switched, but they were brutal. I learned much from this pilot. I used at DYI Rocket mass heater (RMH). l Learn definitely how not to build a RMH totally rebuilding it from scratch at least 6 times in the first month(s).
I can confirm veg will grow if conditions are correct. However, growth in winter is not ideal. Insect pressure is immense in the winter. I hope to take what I have learned and finish my book and use this information to build a permanent facility.
I have just started fall gardening this year here in New England. I set spinach, kale and arugula in to protect with leaves and winter over for an early spring harvest. I am also harvesting radishes. I am experimenting with literal cardboard boxes with garden dirt in them on my semi protected porch with lettuce, kale and broccoli. I’ve been covering the boxes at night when a frost could form. I spent quite some time reading Caleb Warnock’s books and recommended investigating his seed site seedrenaissance.com to explore the heirloom winter varieties. This man lives in Utah with a limited growing season yet he grows the bulk of his family’s food year long.
Thank you so much for answering my question. I really enjoy your articles they are very comprehenssive. I now have grow lights in my greenhouse and some baby chickens running around in there (They have a heat light) I have decided to rgow my watermelons and cantilope in there this year becuse it gets so windy here. I love reading your posts. and our season is from middle of May untill September unless we have an Indian Summer . My greenhouse is heated and it is a four season one because Winter i too long in Alberta. It ia 20×30 feet so I can experiment in the off season. Thank you again.
In response to Jocelyn,
Growing vegetables in conditions that get snow is definitely trickier but certainly doable! Hardier Winter vegetables such as kale, celeriac, and rutabaga will give you an advantage, but it is important that these plants have time to establish themselves before these cold temperatures come – typically meaning they need to be direct-sown in early fall or transitioned outside as transplants in the mid-Fall. If the snow stays on the ground throughout the Winter, it is likely there isn’t much to be grown unless it is done indoors or in a greenhouse; however, many vegetables are able to survive a snowfall quite well.
Our Winter Gardening course may be helpful to you!
Thank you so much for being a part of the community we have here! Hope this helps you!
In response to Toni, I live in Oregon as well! I can certainly relate to what you’re mentioning. I haven’t yet found my ideal setup for our conditions, but here are some things that I’ve found to be helpful here!
– Cold frames: Cold frames are typically suggested for warmth to help you get a head start on the Spring season, but they can also be really helpful for preventing soggy soils around your plants during the rainy months. This of course doesn’t address the light issue you mentioned.
– Greenhouses: To both compensate for the over-saturation and the lacking supply of sunlight, a greenhouse is your best bet since these can accommodate grow lights and often control temperature enough to yield produce. If you are looking to save on costs, a greenhouse can be built relatively simply at home. Some people build “reach-in” greenhouses which aren’t big enough to walk into, but they have a door so you can reach in to work with your plants. The important features of a greenhouse are being airtight (to retain heat) and a good amount of either single-pane glass or polycarbonate surface area on the roof and walls of your structure to let sun warmth and light through. A heater may or may not be necessary based on what you are growing and how warm your greenhouse ends up staying.
I know it’s quite a process, but I hope this helps!
In response to Katie Johnston,
I can certainly relate! Of course, there will be different varieties of each vegetable listed that are better suited for Winter production, so it is always helpful to seek out a variety such as that; however, here is a list of the vegetables we recommend to choose from during the winter months!
– Fava Beans
– Pumpkins/Winter Squash
Quite appreciate you engaging in our community! Hope this helps!
Thank you for this message. I was planning to wait until spring to grow more vegetables, but now I will just continue. I live in Decatur, Georgia.
In the snow? It just started snowing today in Northern Utah.
Somehow I had missed in all the videos I listened to, including yours, that I needed to plant seeds before cold weather hit if I wanted to grow vegetables in my greenhouse in the Yukon in late fall and winter and probably also in my unheated attached garage. The house is fine even to grow some vegetables though I don’t keep temperatures very warm (18 C during the day and 15 C at night).
The good news is that while taking out all the the late greens from my outside garden boxes I noticed that some plants were still small so I dug those out and replanted them in prepared bins in the garage and bingo, they are growing well.
Some of the seeds that I planted in my unheated greenhouse in early September did start to sprout and even though they are covered with a clear plastic bin and a white garden cloth I am not holding out much hope. I will look regularly to see what is happening. If they don’t grow now maybe the seeds will grow in the spring. Thanks for your wonderful talks and videos. Carol Ann
Here in Oregon we get very little sunlight 7 months of the year. I have tried to grow food during the fall, winter, and spring without success. I am successful with garlic. I think if I had lights in some kind of shelter to regulate rain water, I would be successful. If you have suggestions, I would love to hear them.
Some veggies creat solinoids eg Tomatoes in low light we get maybe 7 hrs of daylight in the Winter. Do you have a list of things we can grow and eat in the Winter. or do we need to provide grow lights?
I grow some of my vegetables indoors and some outdoors. I’m in the process of preparing a ColdFrame. This will protect my collard kale and cabbage.