All growers are familiar with the guessing game that happens each fall when cool weather comes around: when is the first hard freeze going to hit this year? As the global climate continues to shift in unpredictable ways, the things we as growers thought we knew about our regions’ ecological rhythms are being thrown to the wind (so to speak). This roller-coaster effect has many growers turning to more controllable growing methods through the shoulder seasons and even into harsh winter weather.

Whether you’re looking to extend your farm income for a few more weeks, or just be able to harvest out of your garden for a little bit longer, the following are some useful resources that will help you get started with or improve your season extension.

Planning for Planting & Harvesting

Sources: High Mowing’s Guide to Winter Harvests. High Mowing’s Guide to Photoperiodism. Farmer Becky Maden’s Guide to Growing & Storing for Winter Markets.

Fall-Sown Crops to Try for Early Winter Harvests: Spinach, lettuce, arugula, cilantro, carrots, beets, turnips, radishes, kale, claytonia, leeks.

Overwintering Crops to Try for Early Spring Harvests: Spinach, onions, scallions, carrots, leeks.

Source 2.0: If you’ve already got some winter growing under your belt and are ready to kick it up a notch, we recommend diving into ATTRA’s resource on Season Extension Techniques for Market Gardeners.

How to Build a Cold Frame

Source: High Mowing’s Cold Frame for Many Occasions.

Fall-Sown Crops to Try for Early Winter Harvests: Spinach, lettuce, arugula, cilantro, kale, claytonia.

Overwintering Crops to Try for Early Spring Harvests: Spinach, onions, scallions, kale.

Source 2.0: If you want to take your passively heated growing space to the next level, read on for how to create low hoops/caterpillar tunnels.

How to Build Low Tunnels/Caterpillar Tunnels

Sources: Growing for Market’s article on low-cost caterpillar tunnels. Mother Earth News’ how-to on low tunnel construction in the garden, complete with a materials list and step-by-step instructions.

Fall-Sown Crops to Try for Early Winter Harvests: Spinach, carrots, beets, turnips, radishes, claytonia, leeks.

Overwintering Crops to Try for Early Spring Harvests: Spinach, onions, scallions, carrots, leeks.

Source 2.0: If you’re looking for even more winter growing space than low tunnels provide but aren’t ready to go for a full-on greenhouse, try constructing your own high hoops. The Vermont Vegetable & Berry Growers Association in partnership with the University of Vermont has curated an exceptional resource for growers looking to construct high tunnels. You can take it even further by researching how to heat your high tunnels with the Practical Farmers of Iowa’s guide to wood-heated season extension structures.

How to Manage Protected Culture Spaces

Source: High Mowing’s Guide to Disease Prevention in High Tunnels.

Crops Most Commonly Affected: Spinach, lettuce, arugula, beets, turnips, greens mixes.

Source 2.0: We always recommend keeping Cornell University’s Vegetable MD Online as a bookmark – you’ll find lots of great information on diseases by crop type, as well as regional disease alerts.