Gardening in Winter (Cold-Weather Growing Methods) with Rick Stone

[Music] Hey you guys this is Josh with homestead And family and welcome to this week's Episode of The Pantry chat Food For Thought Carolyn is not with us today but I am really excited to have Rick Stone Here uh Rick considers himself a Gardening nerd he loves being in the Dirt and watching things grow he's a Master Gardener but says much of his Gardening knowledge came from and still Comes from learning from the mistakes He's made over the last 25 years he's Learned a thing or two and has become Passionate about teaching people to Start their own vegetable gardens that Will open the door to a world of Organically grown fresh fruits and Vegetables and you all know that that's One of the things we're all about here At homesteading family now Rick's the Principal author and creator of our Stoney Acres along with his wife AJ and Their goal is to help you become a Better Gardener so I'm really excited to Have Rick here today we're going to be Talking about ways to extend the growing Season in cool weather areas hopefully Help help you get your garden going Earlier this year hey Rick it is uh it's Really cool to have you here how you Doing good good to be here thank you for Having me oh absolutely this is just Such an important topic you know uh when

We first moved up here to North Idaho And some of the folks we're getting to Know heard we were we were growing out Of outside of the main growing season Like June to maybe early October they Thought we were pretty weird Um and and just most people you know put Seeds on the ground in June and got Going but there is a lot more we can do With our growing season you're in a cold Season right and outside of Salt Lake City yeah yeah yeah yeah and Um we are not just confined to warm Weather and this is actually one of my Favorite topics I I love season Extension mainly because I love the the Fact that I'm getting and growing Vegetables at times of the year that People just don't normally even think About it I mean right now in my garden I've got a A Cold Frame full of lettuce And other greens that are coming along That will start harvesting here in the Next week or so these are ones that we Overwintered for this time uh we're just Finishing up our carrots uh we've got a Big Cold Frame full of carrots that We'll probably finish harvesting up in The next couple of weeks and then we Kind of shift into spring planting extra Early and I know it sounds like you know March seems like a really early time to Be planting but uh if you you throw in a Few of these simple ideas uh it's pretty

Easy to actually really extend your Growing season yeah that is really cool You're harvesting fresh vegetables in Utah uh in early March what's your Elevation there so we're at about 46 600 Feet here yeah yeah so we're not super High but we're we're what we're Considered Zone 6B we live closer to the River and so we get our our frosts a Little bit earlier in the fall and later In the spring because we're down kind of In the valley but uh you know it's a It's a decent Cold War obviously not as Cold as a lot of people but uh you know We have a decently uh hard winter yeah Well that's a real encouragement if you Can be harvesting some vegetables in Early March in Utah 4 600 feet then a Lot of the folks out there can do that You know as well and I think the other Thing people should know about you is You are also in a I think Suburban Environment right yeah yeah so we we Live south of Salt Lake City and it you Know just in one of the the suburbs of Salt Lake City essentially on a quarter Acre lot so yeah you guys that's just And that's one of the things we try to Share with people if you don't have to Move to the country I mean a lot of us Want to and a lot of people are and That's good but there's so much you can Do right where you're at you know at Home there with the with a few skills

For sure so we're gonna we're gonna dive Into that a little bit today but um what What what's some of your favorite crops To grow Uh in the wintertime Out of season Um I I really like you know obviously Summertime Tomatoes potatoes are Actually one of my favorite part of that Is because I grew up working for a Potato farmer and and that just kind of Got ingrained in my my soul I guess but Um this time of year though our Favorites are Um kale and I know most people don't Like kale but if you haven't had kale in The middle of the winter it's a totally Different Beast Um it it changes the cold weather Changes the taste a lot we grow a lot of Spinach this time of year because it's Very hearty uh carrots uh winter carrots Are just amazing we call them candy Carrots my my all my family and in-laws Come to our house to try the carrots Just because they're so much sweeter This time of year that's one nice thing About off season is everything tastes Better because the cold usually causes Stress in the plant that converts Starches into sugars and so you usually Get a lot sweeter vegetables this time Of year so this time of year spinach Carrots kale Swiss chard

Um those those are the lettuce we're not Quite into the lettuce season yet Lettuce isn't as hearty as some of the Others but those are the things this Time of year that we're we really enjoy Growing and and coming up really soon We'll be you know planting our brassicas And and things like that as well right Nice do the carrots did you plant those In the fall and then you're yes Venturing yeah and that's a big part of The whole season extension is the timing And getting the timing right if I were To plant them in January they wouldn't Do anything right until March you know So those carrots were planted the first Of August in our area it's usually about Eight weeks before your first Frost is When you start doing that planting so we Planted those about August 5th and uh Then they you know they're we usually Start harvesting them about mid-october First of November right around there and And then we'll Harvest through the Winter Nice yeah that is nice to have a supply Of fresh vegetables and I know a lot of People do that we struggle with that Because the amount of snow that we get I Don't know how much snow you get there Or what you see people do but you know We will have anywhere from a foot to two And a half foot of snow on the ground All winter and so for us I haven't

Figured out a way yet to you know you Know Grill those carrots and be able to Harvest them reasonably besides ground Freeze is about two foot deep as well So one of the things that will help is Some cold frames so we grow all of our Winter stuff either in a cold frame or a Hoop house for you guys you're probably A little bit too cold for a hoop house To help you through the winter at least But a Cold Frame if you can get it in a Good position where it's protected maybe Up against the south side of a building Or something like that where you know Where you can keep the wind off and Hopefully keep the snow down a little Bit Um those cold frames will actually stay Uh you know if you can and depending on You know if you have a cold snap like You know we talked about sometimes You'll have some temperatures that drop Down below freezing or below zero right Um at those times you actually want to Leave the snow on the culture that will Act as an insulator but when things Start to warm up you go out clear that Snow off and then the ground will very Quickly thaw inside the Cold Frame Because your temperature is in the Cold Frame are going to be 30 35 degrees Warmer than it is outside so your ground Will thaw and it makes it really easy to Harvest things like carrots and turnips

And stuff like that nice yeah you know That's real confirming of something We're working on we start playing with It last summer but we've created some Terraces right in front of our house and We had a slope that was just useless but It was south and Southwest facing and You know at First Years on the property We watched the snow melt first on this Slope it just had the right angle toward The sun and the right orientation as far As west southwest and so we actually Terraced those spaces and we've been Using them for kitchen Garden things Closer to the house but that's kind of The next iteration is thinking about Cold frames on there Um to accomplish that so that's that's Just that's cool to hear you say that Because yeah and I would definitely for For your elevation you know I I would Say you want to go with cold frames not Who passes who passes are great they Offer a lot of protection and they can Really help to extend your season in the Dead of winter they're just a a little Bit too unprotective so yeah for the way To go they wouldn't hold up to the snow And our Terraces we've got about five Foot of width so that's where cold Frame's done right kind of tucked into The slope part you know not the flat Part leaves us a walkway so I'm trying To figure out now like how am I going to

Engineer these because we could actually Have a lot of them they're not super big But we could do a lot of them on The Terraces so that's kind of a project Right now it's just in my mind and what Are we going to build them out of how Are we going to engineer them that Um That's that's good to know because That's definitely where we're headed to Try to extend season a bit So let's um let's dive in here to ways To extend the growing season and cool Weather areas And you know kind of we're just already There talking it through here is it Possible to grow some type of crop Year-round in an area like yours and Mine yes for sure so the colder you get Obviously the harder it gets people that Live in like zones three and zones four They're very they're it's really pretty Limited what you can grow in the Wintertime um you're down to the most Hearty crops which are going to be Spinach kale Swiss chard carrots And Um mosh which is a a green a leafy green It's also sometimes called yeah mosh or Sometimes it's called corn salad Um okay those those are the hardiest of The plants and and anybody should be Able to get some Harvest from those uh

Year round and and it'll only you know Obviously you're going to have access Issues with snow and things like that But um you should be able to get those To make it through the winter even in Those coldest areas once you move into Zones five six seven then it really Broadens out there's a lot more greens That you can grow a few more root crops That you can grow as well uh all year Long so the most important thing is to Get them planted at the right time Because they don't do a lot of growing During the winter time You have to have them ready to harvest Essentially Before that really cold weather settles In Otherwise they're just going to sit over The winter and and then start growing Again in the spring so as long as you You know get your timing right and Choose the right crops you know if you If you live in zone three and you want To grow broccoli in the winter time it's Not going to happen you know it's just Not Hardy enough but kale yes or mosh or Carrots you know those things will do Really well so you know broad range There's actually about 30 crops that Will grow during the winter time Um depending on where you live you know It just kind of ranges from where you Live

So if you're working in a Cold Frame and We're gonna we're gonna talk here in a Method about different methods but if You're working in a Cold Frame so you Got to start those seeds You know six eight weeks depending on The plant to get it to maturity or real Close to it you don't necessarily have To go by last frost Dough because the Cold Frame is going to extend your Season no that they'll still push it Back a little would that be right the The last frost date The choosing to plant six to eight weeks Before your last frost date gets you to The maturity at the right time even with The cold frames the prop the problem is Not the cold it's the light So once we hit about the first of November and that obviously that depends On how far up you are Um you know latitude wise but once we Hit about the first of of November we Drop below 10 hours of sunlight every Day and once we hit that 10 hour mark Everything except for mosh stops growing Okay okay there's just not enough Sunlight so so it will continue to grow A little bit But just a little there's no aggressive Growth during that time with the the Sunlight being so low and so that's the Key so we have to get them to maturity Before we lose that Sunshine

Um and and then and then we protect them Over the winter basically we put them in Cold storage using those cold frames all Right cool well let's talk about then Different methods for cold weather Gardening kicking off with cold frames We're already here and I think maybe Give an explanation of what a cold frame Is and then what are some options for Cold frames okay great so basically a Cold frame is a box that we put on top Of our Garden beds whether it be a raised bed An in-ground Garden whatever it is it's A it's a box that we put on top normally It will have wooden or some type of Solid sides with a glass top Um it can be plexiglass or it could be Glass and a lot of people use old storm Doors and storm windows to make those From that's a excellent option the ones I have when I built them I didn't have Any Windows available and so they're Just I just bought some plexiglass at One of the you know big box stores and And made the lids out of that Plexiglas But the idea is box that will keep the Weather out and insulate and then Windows that will allow light and warmth In on a sunny day to help those plants To to maintain themselves through the You know through the winter so and that The cold frames can be built out of all Kinds of different materials you can

Actually buy them online those usually Will be out of polycarbonate and they'll Have polycarbonate sides as well I haven't ever used one of those and I'm Not convinced that they're quite as good As a wooden sided one because that I Don't think that the polycarbonate is Going to offer you quite as much Insulating value and protection Um so I like my mine are all made out of Two by woods so so two by eight in the Front two bytes Um 12 in the back okay and so they've Got a little bit of slope to them and That thicker wood gives a nice Insulating value to it and then Depending you know again on what your Your Winters are like you can add some Insulation to that if you wanted you Could put some of that foam insulation In Um you could put straw bales or hay Bales around it I've also seen people That have just made cold frames out of Straw bales you know put four straw Bells together Some type of window on top and that's of Good use for you know old you know old Storm doors and windows and you just put Those on top and and that will work Really well too but the whole idea is to Keep the weather out And the sunlight in yeah okay cool well I like that I like the straw bales and

Just you know you can get really Scrappy With this you know you can certainly Make them look really cool and really Good but you can also get really Scrappy And stack up materials yeah to make it Happen as long as it keeps that wind out And lets the sun in you're good yeah Cool Um what are some other methods besides The Cold Frame itself here for cold Weather gardening so one of the easiest Things that you can do to extend your Growing season and this obviously isn't Going to Unless you live you know people that Live in like a zone seven or a zone Eight you can get away with a lot of Just the heavy fabric row covers so Those are sometimes they'll be called Agro Bond Um just the good thick heavy Frost Covers will extend your growing Seasoning an amazingly long amount of Time you know you could add six weeks to The end of of your season and the Beginning of your season just by using Those row covers depending on where you Live you know especially in those warmer Zones protect things at night so that's A really simple way to do it then we Have Mini Hoop houses which Um are really really good especially for Those of us that live in zone six seven And eight

Um you know seven and eight a lot of People that live in zone seven and eight Will be able to extend through the Winter just using hoop houses Um and those will be you know in size Will vary but usually you're going to Just put some hoops over the top of your Garden bed and then cover that with a Plastic and uh tack it down good so it Doesn't blow around in the way end and That will provide you with a lot of Protection and then of course when it Gets really cold you can always throw That heavy fabric row cover in as well For an extra layer protection and you Can do that in the cold frames also so When you say mini hoop house like range Of size because you're not talking High Tunnel no so high tomorrow is next on my List many hoop houses are usually going To be no more than about four feet tall Off the top of your bed mine are about Three feet tall but I I have them hinged So they open up away from the bed so That you can get in and work and Everything like that Um the nice thing about the hoop houses Is you can grow some of the taller crops Longer so things like kale and swiss Chard and things like that that get a Little bit taller and then in the spring Or in the fall it's a great option for You to extend your Brassica season as Well so you can grow your cabbages and

Your broccolis and your brussels sprouts Inside those hoop houses also nice so That's a really good option then then You've got the high hoops which I'm not so so don't take this the wrong Way because I live on a city lot I'm an Advocate for small and simple and Inexpensive Um but a high hoop is a great option so So if you have the space to to grow a in A high hoop those are going to be the Same scenario only they're going to be You're going to be able to walk inside Them you know so those will usually be Made out of like electrical conduit you Bend that into the hoop shape and then You're going to cover that with a with a Usually in that case you're going to use Like a a greenhouse quality plastic over The top you're gonna have to set up some Venting systems some door access and you Know things like that those those can be A lot of fun and and again those can Vary from 10 feet long to 800 long yeah I've got a friend who lives just a Little bit south of us that has one that That he grows in Um and he's got a couple of acres and so He's got the space for it and it's a you Know 6 by 25 foot Um hoop house that he's put together That's that's really really nice and Then of course you can grow in Greenhouses and so everything we've

Talked about you can do in the high Hoops and the greenhouses I don't Normally push them just because I'm an Advocate of cheap and and simple Um where you know greenhouses and high Hoops end up costing thousands of Dollars where cold frames and and Mini Hoop houses are in the hundreds you know Yeah I mean it's going to tell me a Little bit both on you know how much Land you have but also your needs your Family needs may not need to push that Hard and grow that far off of your Climate but we're like us where we'd Love to get to the point of having a High tunnel you know we're regularly Feeding 12 to 16 people at the dinner Table and would love to extend our Season better we do a decent job at it But that high tunnel would would help us With that a bit yeah what do you think If you're going to that scale this is Just a little off I know where you Usually go but it's helpful for people Thinking of it the high tunnel and then Being able even inside the high tunnel To do many hoop houses or you know row Covers to get those that double or even Triple layer yeah in these colder Environments like we're in so one of the One of the people that's kind of the Father of season extension his name is Elliot Coleman he does a lot of that and At first he the the work that he did was

High hoops with cold frames and then he Found that in his he's he's about a five I think he's about a five a five b Um he found that with the high hoop all He needed was Heavy fabric row cover Inside and for each of those layers you Gain about a zone so if you live in zone Five And you put a high hoop with heavy Fabric Roll Cover all of a sudden you're Gardening in zone seven inside that that Environment and so I I think that's a Fantastic idea if you have the space and You know I would love to have that much Space we're actually looking at a Slightly you know our families all Around here in the city so we're stuck Kind of in the city but um we are Looking for a little bit bigger lot so That we could do you know a little bit Bigger scenario there very cool Um okay so moving on and we started to Talk about this Um a few minutes ago how important is Timing and crop selection to season Extension so massively important that's The most important and the first step um Like I say there's about 30 crops total That can be extended further than we Think they're all cool season crops Um obviously the warm season crops your Squashes your your beans your tomatoes And peppers once it gets to freezing They're done okay but all of these cool

Season crops have varying degrees of Hardiness that we can you know use Engage so kale super super hearty Spinach super super hearty Broccoli Frost hardy but not really hard you know When when it gets down in the 20s at Night even the mid-20s at night all of a Sudden broccoli's in trouble okay but um Kale is is not gonna blink at 10 you Know it's not not going to have an issue With that at all and so you choose the Right crops and then getting them Planted so that they're harvestable Um at the right time is is super Important so if you know if you want a Fall crop of broccoli you're going to Get those in you know you're probably Going to want to put starts in the Ground about six weeks before your last Frost date and then you're going to Protect those with the hoop house that's Going to extend your your harvest season Probably into November Um and then you know once those are done You're going to move on to your spinach And your carrots and your kale and your Lettuce and and all of those different Those different crops but most of what We're talking about Give back all of what we're talking About is cool season crops so it's Brassica family leafy greens and the Root crops so carrots turnips beets

Radishes parsnips Um those those are the crops you're Going to choose and then generally Timing with the exception of the Brassica family the the timing is you're Going to plant seeds about six to eight Weeks before your last frost date is Kind of what you're targeting and that That should usually give you the time That you need to get those grown to Maturity then you protect them you put That when the cold weather starts Arriving you cover them up with the Cold Frame of the hoop house and Away you go All right I like it so what about utilizing micro Climates to extend your growing season So that's actually a lot of fun um and And you have to get to know your yard or Your your your land a little bit you're Always going to have areas in your Property that are warmer you know for us It's up against the house or you know Right up against the you know the wall Or or at our last place we had a big Fence and so you know obviously all of These were talking about south side of All those things Um in in you know in other cases you may Have an area where you have a hill that Protects from the wind and uh keeps Things a lot warmer you may have you Know up against a barn or some type of Outbuilding or something like that where

You can you'll find that it's Significantly warmer in those areas and That that's going to help you to extend That growing season and especially when You get into the colder zones those are The things you really want to start Looking for is you want to find those Places where the snow melts first and uh You know those are the areas that are Excuse me that are really going to do Well for you microclimatize yeah and That's a huge one in knowing your Property if you're new to a piece of Property you got to give a little bit of Time but observe you know in the spring I mean all through the year but in this Case observe in the spring and where Things are warming up and thought and Even go out and and walk around in a you Know you don't have snow on the ground Walk around on a on a cold day when the Sun comes out in the spring and you can Go find right your your areas like like You're talking about Rick that uh I mean Man just even five five degree gain can Be huge oh yeah Yeah that's that can be a big difference Especially when you throw a cold frame On top of that you know it's a huge deal Yeah and you know this isn't really in The notes but you can also create a Microclimate if you don't if you don't Have one and you're looking for one you Could put up a a fence or a boarded wall

Or some panels or something south facing Yeah even if you don't have one where You need it you could create something Like that exactly Especially if you do something that's Brick or rock yeah you know because that During the daytime that's going to Retain heat at night it's gonna put it Off and and so those are you know those Are really good options Um yeah people sometimes take you know If you get into A uh a hoop house or you know High Tunnel people get in sometimes not just That mass but barrels of water you know And and but essentially creating that Mass right yeah yeah it can collect that Heat and then let it off through the Night now remember with season extension One of the most important things is That sunlight so don't just be just Because you've got an area that that's Nice and warm in the late afternoon that Might not be the best because it may be Getting that late Western Sun But it might only be getting three or Four hours of that late Western Sun During the winter time and that may not Be enough for you yeah you know so so Make sure that you've got a good even Exposure and you get sunlight hopefully All day long you know when we're talking About season extension during the summer You can cheat a little bit more but but

You know during the winter we have you Know some places have nine or less hours Of sunlight we gotta have all of that Sun hitting that Cold Frame so that was The question that came up is like you Put in that can you can you put an hour You know like generally regular season Most crops need six to eight hours you Know a lot of them uh direct sunlight But this time of year you're looking More for 9 10 directions as much as you Can you know as as much as you can Because the sunlight is so much less Intense and and even though even though An area might have eight hours of Sunlight in the summertime direct sun it Has light all day long in the summertime You know I mean it'll have like 12 to 14 Hours a day in the summer in the winter Time the max it's going to have is like Nine hours you know so we gotta have as Much exposure as we possibly can so no You know you know no trees no shade no Shadows uh you know it when we're Talking about beds that we're going to Be growing in the wintertime in yeah Cool Let's talk about extending the growing Season without additional structures Just you know for people and this is What we've done over the years as we've Gone through our Journeys just trying to Figure out how to do it because a lot of Times we haven't had the money for

Structures and still aren't ready to do Some of the advanced things or even Create enough cold frames for the amount Of food that we need that's actually Pretty sizable projects so we're Starting little ones but what are things That people can do to to help extend the Season Um you know without additional Structures Well without structures the first thing Would be going buy yourself some some Fabric roll covers Um that you know If if so for example right now first of March is when we're filming this video As soon as the snow melts we've got About six inches of snow on our garden Right now but as soon as that snow melts And the garden dries off a little bit I'm gonna go out and plant okay so I'll Plant some carrots I'll plant some Spinach and some lettuce and and some Kale and some Swiss chard things like That those are going to go in and then I'll throw a heavy fabric grill cover Over them and just let them go okay Those are all low light requirement Plants and I'm just going to let them Grow and they're going to grow Underneath that fabric row cover and I'll get a harvest weeks before anybody Else in our area because of that Protection

Um you know so those will really extend And they'll do the exact same thing on The other end of the season so if you Get the timing right and you get that Planted then cover you know with those Fabric row covers you're you're going to Be looking at you know an extra six we Weeks of harvest just Without structures you know without Anything else so you get three months to Your growing season six weeks on either End with some simple fabric Pro covers Yeah that's super simple and Unattainable right there yep very cool Um some other strategies what about Mulch So mulches will help They'll they'll help retain the problem Is is that that mulches can sometimes be Do the opposite for you so Um they'll if the ground's warn when you Put the mulch on it'll retain the heat But once that heat is gone then the Mulch is going to prevent the Sunshine From warming the soil up as quickly so You have to be careful with mulches There's a lot of different Excuse me a lot of different clutches Out there that you can use you know you Could you could do you could go just as Simple as a milk carton you know cut the Bottom off a milk carton and cover up Areas uh I have done some gardening Under uh clear totes so you know you get

Those big those big totes and turn that Upside down and you just they obviously Have to be clear Um and you just put that down in your Garden and you can grow under those uh There's a product called uh wall of Waters and and uh There's a whole bunch of knockoff the Original was called wall of waters and And they're a little bit hard to get but There's a whole bunch of knockoff Varieties that you know that are Essentially their uh water filled clutch And they have these little cells in them And you fill those cells up with water And those are great for extending both Your your growing season for greens and Cool season crops but you can also use Those to protect even things like Tomatoes and get an extra early Harvest Of your Tomatoes I plant tomatoes in Those Um about four to six weeks early every Year before I plant before my first Frost inside those those clotches and Then I'll have tomatoes you know in Early July and I don't do that for all Of my tomatoes but I'll usually put About four plants in under those Clotches so that's another great way to Extend your season without having to Have big structures is you know any type Of clutch or cover yeah very cool what About and we covered this but maybe if

You can go through the list again just Those hearty crop choices just in case People missed it Um you know what are these earliest ones That you're talking about when the snow Melts you can get out there and and kind Of run with them okay so basically any Green So collards kale Swiss chard lettuce Spinach mosh or corn salad there's one Called claytonia Um and then you know then all of the Like the Chinese greens so bok choy and Bok choy the Napa cabbages all of those Are going to do really well really early In the season the hardiest of those were Will be spinach kale mosh Swiss chard Then lettuce and the Asian greens kind Of come in after that Um so all of those are going to do Really well then you've got the root Crops like Um Carrots parsnips turnips beets and Radishes all of those are going to stand Up well to the cold temperatures and Then you'll have the Brassica family Basically so here we're talking broccoli Cabbage cauliflower brussels sprouts Um Kohlrabi all of those are going to do Really well collards and kale are also In that family but they're even heartier And so you can get those in Um earlier than you would the others so

All of those are are that's a good Starter list for you you've got things Like rutabagas that do pretty well but Their timing is really kind of funky They're more of a ball crop Um and turnips are great especially in The fall uh they'll they'll be pretty Hardy as well so lots of fun stuff that You can grow and then there's dandelion And minzua and you know a bunch of kind Of random ones that we don't hear as Much about yeah do you ever grow any Perennials leafy greens like Um oh gosh now they're all gonna Evaporate out of my mind but good King Henry and Sorrel do you play around with Those at all for well good to Henry I'm Not familiar with Sorrel we have done Before Um and and our chickens loved the sorrel Um we liked it the problem is is you're Never gonna grow you're never going to Eat a sorrel salad You know yeah yeah it's it's kind of Really strong and stuff like that and so That would be something that you would Do on a fairly limited basis there are a Few other herbs Um parsley does really well and winners Winters really well Um Cilantro although it doesn't overwinter It's one that you can get planted really Early also uh and especially if you give

It some protection uh it will do really Well in the spring and you'll it won't Bolt as quickly if you if you can do That so yeah Yeah What um what are some crops that people Can grow indoors over the winter you Know if their Garden is in snow so this Is fun and I'm going to take another Drink here I apologize I've been Planning a cold for a week Um We have been doing a lot of Experimenting the last few years with That and especially we kind of upped our Game this year just because we we we're Mostly plant-based and so we eat a lot Of salads and a lot of greens and and uh Um lettuce prices have been out of Control and so we wanted to really Experiment with lettuce indoors and We've had a lot of success this winter Um just with the south facing window now We did admittedly we did start with with Starts so I I fired up my my seed Starter in November instead of in January like I normally do and we Started planting lettuce under the the Lights and then we moved them into a South facing window in our kitchen we've Got a kind of a corner window that has An east and south exposure to it and We've had greens growing different types Of lettuce

Um we tried some spinach as well and it Did well all growing just in that Sunny Corner window all you know all winter Long so Um my wife Said as long as it looks nice it's fine And so we got some nice some of the Nicer smart pot the the kind of colored Fabric smart pots and some clay pots and And just have that window loaded with With lettuces so if you've got a good South facing exposure you can do that if You really want to get aggressive about It you can buy some grow lights and you Can grow things indoors the problem I Have with that is I I feel like the input is probably not Worth the output Um in those situations you're you're You're putting so much energy and power To into those green those grow lights Just to get lettuce You know Do you think it would be Cost effective like talking about Lettuce prices going up if you were Growing and I'm asking because I'm Actually thinking about doing this this Fall and winter is actually just because We have our seed starting racks and they Sit empty all winter And I'm like you know what what about Taking some of the flats and growing Micro Greens in them under the lights

Just four to six inches tall bed of soil It's a couple inches deep just to get Some easy fresh greens right there off The kitchen is that um I mean is that Viable like cost wise but you're talking About the energy okay so so micro greens Different scenario okay well so let's go Back to really quickly I I and I've Never done an analysis and and I guess I Should because I'm a geek at this but Just those the the really powerful grow Lights put off so much power and so much Energy that I don't know that it's cost Effective when we start moving into Micro greens those don't need the grow Lights those can just grow under shop Lights yeah um and and then we're not Putting out nearly as much energy you Know in an LED shop light doesn't cost Very much to run and you only need to Run it for about 12 hours a day and so When we start talking about micro greens That's a different scenario because They're quick to grow so Um they're very dense they're very Nutrient dense so there's a super big Bang for the buck you know with that and So micro greens are a great way to do That um we've had a lot of fun this Winter experimenting we've grown micro Greens for quite a while about 10 years On and off but this year we got really Serious about it we started expanding Into things like sunflower and buckwheat

And beets we've got some cilantro that I've yet to try because cilantro tastes Like soap to me but my wife wants me to Grow some Um on top of you know we grow broccoli And radish and things like that and and So there's a lot and when you when you Start looking at like the buckwheat and The sunflower those are pretty bulky Greens yeah there's a lot to them and so Those you know those can really and the Other thing is if you want to you know Start your own business depending on Where you live because you've got to Live somewhere where it's trendy but There's a lot of people that grow micro Greens and make a pretty good living Growing microgreens as well so if you Wanted to grow and sell micro greens That's you know another scenario that You could do if you can find a market For it you know as well but if you're Just talking about providing your own Food you know start a tray of Microgreens every three days days you Know depending on your family size for Us we start about once a week because It's just the two of us now yeah and uh But you know if you're you know big Family like you you could start you know About every three days start a tray of Microgreens and you'll just constantly Have yep you know stuff to harvest and Then the other thing that you can do

Indoors is Sprouts so Um and and there's a lot of benefit to Sprouts the nice thing about Sprouts is There's the only input is a little water And the seeds Um so so you don't have to have light You don't have to you know have any of That you're you're just you know putting Some seeds in a jar and rinsing them off Twice a day and they they grow in about You know five to seven days you you've Got a harvest of of those as well so Those are good options too that makes a Nice salad right there some micro greens And some Sprouts yeah what's the lettuce From your window and yeah yeah the Window or like you said the shop lights And so yeah that's definitely we're Gonna convert our seed starting racks That sit dormant all winter to some Strategy this this next year right now They're they're filling up and that was One more I wanted to ask you Um for some of these strategies what About starting Early enough indoors in the flats under Lights to then transplant some of these Crops out at that early early snow melt Yes extend That season even more so that Instead of seeding like you're talking About how you can seed some of these Things as soon as the snow melts and you Know some of them are going to Transplant better than others and I

Realized how to dress that if you want But some of those can you go ahead and Start them indoors four weeks even Further ahead yes exactly soak them out So right now I have Um About the 15th of January we started uh Kale and um a Chinese green called tot Soy we also started a bunch of lettuce Some of that lettuce is going into the Window others of it is is is going to be Going out into the cold frame soon so Those are all all of those plants are About six weeks old now and so they will Be I'm waiting for this weather to break Because we're still you know as soon as We start seeing 50s again on occasion And you know it's starting to jump up Then then I I'm gonna start hardening Those off and those will go out in Either a cold frame or a hoop house Um really soon and so you can definitely Do that especially with the greens you Know all of your your kale your Swiss Chard Your Spinach your lettuces all of Those you can get started those indoors As long as you're careful to harden them You've got to get them because they're They're going indoors and loving the Fact that it's nice and warm and all of A sudden you take them outside and it's You know 20 degrees at night that's Going to be a problem for them so you do Have to spend some extra time making

Sure that you get them acclimated to That that colder weather before right Yeah yeah that'd be a little shock Factor there yeah for sure okay Um Let's see here tips for transforming a Garden from Summer to fall so a lot of Stuff we've been talking about you can Do right now people right here in March Can can get started and go for it super Simple Um but kind of thinking forward to Exiting kind of main crop season Um what are some tips for transitioning There and you know challenges people Face uh to help them start thinking About you know extending the season on The other end so one of the biggest Challenges in the fall is space Yeah because My my Prime planting date for most of my Fall crops is August 1st well you know My garden is full of stuff you know in August and our our first Frost isn't Until about October 1st and so you know I've got my tomatoes and my peppers and You know all that kind of stuff still Growing I do intentionally Um I I plant some potatoes extra early So that I'm able to have those harvested About the first of August so that I've Got some place to get some spinach and Some carrots and things like that Planted but the biggest challenge there

Is space and that's where your seed Starter comes in so my my seed starter I Usually turn the lights on about February I'm sorry about January 15th And they end up turning them off about October 15th Um and that's not including microgreens So You're you you're gonna use so so if I Say you know eight weeks before your First Frost you want to plant lettuce But you don't have anywhere to plant Lettuce in August and besides that it's Hot in August use your seed starter Same date August 1st you're going to Plant And then you'll transplant those out in Mid-september maybe even as late as the First of October you'll transplant those Out into the garden under the protection Of your cold frames and hoop houses then By by the you know the first of October You've ended you know your your summer Gardens kind of ended your cucumbers are Gone your tomatoes are gone you've got Space again and so using that seed Starting setup is a great way to take Advantage of that fall you know time Frame because you can get things started Indoors they're probably going to like It better anyways because it's not going To be 100 degrees right and then you'll Get those transplanted out as it starts To cool off and and progress into the

Fall I'm I'm trying to name now because We have the spot in our it's in a Hallway now for us it was in the kitchen For a while where we've got these two Racks and I don't know they've got eight Now ten shelves on them and it's pretty Much going to become a year-round Garden Itself you know thinking just doing some Of the things you're talking about here And and it's almost like its own other Garden now and sometimes it's feeding And Garden or sometimes it's just Feeding you directly but yeah exactly my Seed's starting set up this year because I was doing this experiment in the Windows I turned my lights back on December 1st so they were offered they Were off for about a month is all we're Not always back on December 1st and Started started growing so that indoor Setup can really be an important part of The whole exceeding extension well and I And I I really like that because you're Taking a space that you've probably got Dedicated anyways now and you're using It to provide more food for yourself and So a lot of people whether it's cost of Food or or just want a nutrient dense Food you've now got another area that You can put to work indoors we don't Tend to think of it that way so there's A little bit of a paradigm shift but how Useful that space becomes more than just Starting seeds once a year yeah

Eventually yeah especially if you you Know if you if you look at a lot of the Micro greens and the sprouts they're so Nutrient dense you get so much bang for The buck where you don't have the the Normal Fresh vegetables obviously you know We're all Tanners and things like that So we've got our canned vegetables and Our stored potatoes and things like that But we're missing some of those Nutrients and if you you know if you Utilize that seed starter setup for Microgreens and Sprouts you're you're Adding back those nutrients into your Diet yeah especially in Winter climates Like ours I don't know how it is there In Salt Lake City but we get we don't Get a lot of sun yeah and I really feel That right about late February early March and you're just like oh man So yeah so that that can I can add and Add a little bit Um let's see here how about just as we Start to wrap up any other like are we Missing anything any other must share Tips here Um that can help people out for growing These shoulder months and and into Winter Everything pretty well the the Thing that you've got to get out of your Head and it frustrates me I I literally Just yesterday we sent out an email

Saying you know here's what you can be Planting in March and I always get Responses back with people posting you Know they send me a picture of their Garden hahaha I'm not going to be doing Any planting in March well my garden Looks like that too and guess what I'm Going to be planting you know so so you Have to get over the mindset That you know that it's impossible in Yours your area you know now if you live In zone three it's going to be really Hard but if you live in zone you know Most of us live in zones four five six Seven There is so much that you can do uh in Season extension and even if you don't Want to go through the winter time Using you know a hoop house and those Fabric row covers to to stretch out that Season to add that extra three months I Mean literally six weeks in the spring And six weeks in the fall that's three Months that's some people's summer Garden you know that you can add to your Your growing season so Don't Don't think just because I live Somewhere cold I can't do this because You can you know I have students all Over the country and up into Canada that Are are very successfully growing you Know Gardens right now uh you know in in Very cold environments and and so you

Have to get out of that mindset of oh we Can only grow a Winter Garden or I mean We can only grow a summer garden in our Area you've got to get out of that Mindset and start experimenting you know If nothing else what are you gonna lose You know if if if you Buy a fabric Roll Cover you're going to Use that for a whole bunch of things Anyways you buy a fabric Roll Cover and You get those seeds planted and it Doesn't work you're out 50 cents you Know and because you're going to use Fabric girl can run other places so Start experimenting and start you know Getting after it and figuring it out Because there is so much you can do I Don't care where you live I mean you'll Be able to extend that growing season a Lot nice nice words of encouragement so Rick I mean Rick is just a wealth of Knowledge and so Rick I want to take a Few minutes here as we're wrapping up And just let people know what are the Resources you have to offer people where Can they find you what do you have going On for people that want to dive in Deeper here okay so um our main website Which is kind of what we started with It's our so that's our Main site we've got hundreds and Hundreds of different vegetable Gardening articles on there a lot about

Season extension there as well I'm on Facebook at our Stony Acres Instagram as Well and then we do have a YouTube Channel uh and that is our Stoney Acres You can just just search that and it'll Come up and and we've got hundreds and Hundreds of videos for you there as well Um and then we also have our education Website which is called the online Gardening school Um and it's a at and that's Where we have our you know for sale uh Courses and things like that so one Thing that I did want to talk about with This season extension I and this will Sound funny but we we teach I I have a Master course a year-round gardening Master course and we teach it in July And I know we just spent all this time Talking about winter gardening but we Teach that class in July because I want You to know what you need to know and Get ready for the fall planting season Which is for most of us you're going to Be planting sometime in August for that Fall planting fall and winter planting And so that Master course we have a Little mini course that kind of gives You a taste of it that will include a Link that you can go and it's a free Mini course it's about 45 minutes long Goes through a lot more about these Different crops and things and that's a

Good place for you to kind of get to Start Um on on that as well Cool well we will we will link to all of That for you guys down below and just Want to strongly encourage you to go Check Rick out he has been a huge Influence on Carolyn and I and our Gardens and some of the strategies and Even even some of the things that I'm Saying we're going to do or are coming From Rick outside this conversation so Um he can really help you guys uh learn A lot and boost your production and your Gardening efforts so really encourage You to go check out those resources and Rick it's been really exciting to hang Out with you and I'm looking forward to Meeting you in May uh as uh we you know Look at some future endeavors and maybe A class together so really excited about That and Um you guys all have a great day and a Great week and I will see you soon [Music]

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