Gardening in a Cold Climate
Knowing how to make the most of gardening in a cold climate can not only allow those who live in the coldest spots in Britain to enjoy fresh vegetables and lush green foliage, it also helps those of us who would like to spend more time with our plants over winter.
After the autumn harvest many of us enjoy the rest winter affords us as we spend the time planning spring, flicking through seed catalogues and preparing the ground, however the winters seem to be stretching further leaving us impatient to break free of the four walls of our home into the garden again.
Also, those of us who grow our own notice a significant rise in food bills over the winter, as being used to having a plethora of vegetables at our disposal we find it hard to compromise when stocks run dry.
Cold Climates produce Better Bounties!
There are many ways you can still enjoy home grown produce in a cold climate, the trick is to know what to plant, and how to make the most of the limited sunshine on offer.
Many plants actually thrive in colder climates as the limited sunshine encourages them to grow bigger leaves in order to maximize the absorption of the sun’s rays, even in the coldest parts of Russia, keen gardeners make a line in the snow to plant tomato seeds, enjoying the fruits of their labour when the concentrated bursts of daylight give the plants speedy growth spurts.
There are also a lot of varieties that would not be able to thrive in the warmer climes of the world, as they would wither and die before bearing fruit; these include the cherry, the walnut and squash which prefer a gentler introduction to spring.
Don’t Forget the Fungi
Mushrooms are another favourite for colder climate gardening, as they thrive in damp and dark conditions. The plugs can be bought from many garden centres and placed in stacks of logs adding a wild and wonderful twist to the ordinary harvest.
Use Psychology on Seedlings
With a little help most plants will flourish. Many gardeners trick their plants into believing that spring is already underway, by starting seeds off using a heated propagator, growing in a greenhouse and then hardening off slightly before planting in a warmer soil. Warming soil is not as difficult as it sounds, simply cover with plastic for a couple of weeks, until you are ready to plant. You can then plant your vegetables in holes you make; ensuring all of the heat is kept below the surface. This is also ideal for weed control, and a good leaf mulch of oak leaves (as they rot the slowest) around the base of the seedlings will keep them warm as they grow.
For very little money you can also buy cloches to help concentrate the limited sunlight, however if budgets are limited, you can make your own from milk bottles, juice bottles, or any clear plastic container.
Gardening in a cold climate may require a little more diligence and hard work, however, you will notice that your flowers and fruit grow much stronger and brighter than their southern couterparts!