Fall Gardening and Season Extension

fall gardening season extension

Did you know that when planting crops for fall harvest, just a day or two’s delay can add two to three weeks to the time until harvest? That’s one of many points about fall gardening and season extension that David Redhage covered in a recent webinar on season extension.

As the season shifts from summer into fall, the length of daylight gets shorter with each passing day. That means plants are able to grow less and less per day as they get deeper into fall – which is where the two-week factor comes in when calculating fall planting and harvest dates.

Eventually, as Redhage points out, plants cease growing altogether due to daylength alone, even if they’re protected from freezing temperatures by season extension structures like cold frames or greenhouses.

In the webinar, Redhage reviews the history of season extension work at the Kerr Center, with a focus on the most recent effort, involving a small cold frame or hoop house with roll-up sides.  With a frame made of metal pipe, and skids for the base, it can be dragged from one location to another.

He also gives an overview of various other approaches to season extension from different places around the U.S. and the world.

The webinar is only the latest of the Kerr Center’s resources on fall gardening and season extension. Others include:

  • spreadsheet-style planting guides that enable the calculation of planting and harvest dates for various fall crops. (These are calibrated for specific first-frost dates, but include the information needed for the simple conversion to others.)
  • extensive and detailed plans for building an economical hoop house design.

This article is from the September 2021 issue of the Kerr Center newsletter, Field Notes.
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