How to Grow Vegetables in Cold Climates
Vegetable Growing With the Garden Tower® 2 Vertical Planting System During the Extended Season
The design of the Garden Tower® 2 vertical planting system allows soil temperatures to stay productive even in cooler climates for extended growing seasons. The soil in the Garden Tower® 2 planting system warms up earlier than conventional gardens. The high volume of soil present can also effectively maintain healthy growing conditions much longer than traditional container gardens. The Garden Tower® 2 planting system is designed specifically to maintain a stable internal climate for worm-driven composting. Taking simple steps to prevent the effects of frost and freezing on exposed plant tissues allow the user to keep producing food very late into the winter months.
In Indiana, veggies that tolerate low temperatures have been kept growing with minimal protection until nighttime lows fall below 25 °F! Results and requirements will of course vary according to regional climate and weather.
Daily Temperature Fluctuations
The chart above compares the daily internal temperature within a Garden Tower® 2 planting system to the daily ambient temperature change. On an average day in May in Indiana, the difference between the highest and lowest ambient temperature (daytime high – nighttime low) is about 25 °F. While the temperature outside of a Garden Tower® 2 system fluctuates by 25 °F, the average internal change is only 3 degrees °F. This demonstrates the capability of a Garden Tower® 2 vertical planting system to store heat energy and maintain a healthy internal vermicomposting environment.
Best Plants for the Garden Tower® 2 Vertical Planting System
Veggies and herbs such as spinach, lettuce, kale, collards, beets, dill, cilantro, and parsley all can be extended using a variety of methods. Breathable hoods can be purchased or constructed to protect plants from frost down to about 25 °F or lower in many cases. These hoods allow light penetration and help trap heat emitted from the Garden Tower® 2 planting system at night, thus protecting foliage from freezing.
Top Five Tips for Extended Season Growing
- Place the Garden Tower® 2 vertical planting system near a building that retains heat
- Minimize wind exposure where possible
- Purchase or make a breathable hood or tent for the Garden Tower® 2 planting system
- Plant greens, herbs, and other veggies that are cool-season producers
- Select plants appropriate for hardier climate zones
Caring for Red Wigglers During the Winter
- Red wigglers are most productive at composting in warmer temperatures (up to about 95 °F), but can tolerate near-freezing temperatures
- At the end of the growing season, removing the compost from the center tube and moving it to a well-drained hole in the ground covered with straw, mulch, or woody debris and adding some kitchen scraps will over-winter the Red Wigglers outside of the Garden Tower® 2 planting system
- Compost and worms can be relocated inside during the winter, where the composting process can continue productively and without odor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vermicompost)
- Red Wiggler are very easy to replace and will repopulate each spring if they do not survive the winter months