Author Topic: Advice needed for growing crops is the cold northern mid west  (Read 4903 times)

CVT

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Advice needed for growing crops is the cold northern mid west
« on: October 14, 2008, 10:03:16 PM »
Does anyone here have some good advice, links, books or experience growing crops in the colder north of mid west of the country?

I search the net for books etc. but there seems to be fairly little that specializes in growing in colder environments. Granted I most likely won't be able to grow much from now until March/April but I would like to try at some point. May be someone here has some experience with green houses. We get a lot of snow and cold here but tons of sun in the winter.

Anyone?

dragonart

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Re: Advice needed for growing crops is the cold northern mid west
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2008, 07:09:31 AM »
Does anyone here have some good advice, links, books or experience growing crops in the colder north of mid west of the country?

I search the net for books etc. but there seems to be fairly little that specializes in growing in colder environments. Granted I most likely won't be able to grow much from now until March/April but I would like to try at some point. May be someone here has some experience with green houses. We get a lot of snow and cold here but tons of sun in the winter.

Anyone?

GRIT Magazine is an excellent source for not only a lot of gardening advice, but where to get seeds, equipment, and other items!

Kara

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Re: Advice needed for growing crops is the cold northern mid west
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2008, 06:04:02 PM »
Hi CVT,

I live in North Dakota, and it's generally mid to late May until fear of final spring frost is done. You can plant some seeds outside and they will do fine earlier, but you have to look at the tolerances of the plant. Even though it can get down to -30 here, you can still plant some things in the fall so they sprout in the spring, some garlics being an example of that.  Setting up a cold frame helps, as does starting your seeds indoors in March/April so they are ready to plant by the end of May. When you have such a short growing season, anything you can do to stretch growing time helps.

Something else to think about is how long of a growing season is needed for the kind of plants you are trying to grow. I don't know how far north you are, but you will want to make sure that you don't purchase seeds for plants that take longer to grow than the amount of warm weather you have available, including time your seedlings might have spent getting started indoors. Usually the seed packets or plant info tags will tell you how many days that particular plant will need to reach the point of harvest.

I haven't tried a greenhouse yet, but it's something in my future plans. Good luck!

Wintersparrow
« Last Edit: May 12, 2009, 12:38:24 PM by Sister Wolf »

CVT

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Re: Advice needed for growing crops is the cold northern mid west
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2008, 08:55:38 PM »
Thanks for the input. I am up in MN so were "neighbors" so to speak.

I will probably buy Elliot Colman's book "Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long" and he also has the "winter harvest manual" and take it from there. I will have all winter to line up my plans.

One question I am hoping someone might help me out with, does it make sense to till the soils and put some natural fertilizer in the ground before the winter's real freeze hits?

Offline spartan

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Re: Advice needed for growing crops is the cold northern mid west
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2008, 03:53:22 PM »
One question I am hoping someone might help me out with, does it make sense to till the soils and put some natural fertilizer in the ground before the winter's real freeze hits?

This is a great time to start your your garden.  Get the soil broken up, work in some fertilizer, and put a good cover of manure and straw over top to protect it for the winter.  When the ground is warm enough to work, rake off the straw, work in the manure, and you will be ready to plant.

Offline edhand

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Re: Advice needed for growing crops is the cold northern mid west
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2008, 04:53:24 PM »
Does anyone here have some good advice, links, books or experience growing crops in the colder north of mid west of the country?

I don't have any direct experience, but you might find Jackie Clay's book "Starting Over" to be particularly useful.  In the book she describes starting a homestead from scratch in Northern Minnesota.  She talks about techniques for starting stuff outside before the last frost of winter, using Wall-o-waters for example.  She also lists varieties she finds that work well in the northern climates based on her experiences in Montana.

She is a regular columnist with Backwoods Home and her book can be purchased at their website.

Her book "Starting Over"
Her column "Ask Jackie" in Backwoods Home magazine

Take Care,
Ed

Offline John Willis

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Re: Advice needed for growing crops is the cold northern mid west
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2008, 09:32:04 PM »
Does anyone here have some good advice, links, books or experience growing crops in the colder north of mid west of the country?

I don't have any direct experience, but you might find Jackie Clay's book "Starting Over" to be particularly useful.  In the book she describes starting a homestead from scratch in Northern Minnesota.  She talks about techniques for starting stuff outside before the last frost of winter, using Wall-o-waters for example.  She also lists varieties she finds that work well in the northern climates based on her experiences in Montana.

She is a regular columnist with Backwoods Home and her book can be purchased at their website.

Her book "Starting Over"
Her column "Ask Jackie" in Backwoods Home magazine

Take Care,
Ed

I would like to here Jack interview her on the program.

John Willis
www.SOEtacticalgear.com

CVT

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Re: Advice needed for growing crops is the cold northern mid west
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2008, 09:23:07 PM »
Cool book by Jackie Clay. Amazing that it's written about MN as well!

I looked it up in the local libraries but they don't carry it so I will just go buy it.

I am waiting for the weather to get a little bit warmer because the ground is already hard. If I can just get a couple of days of heat I can till it real quick and prep it a bit. I already cleared trees and branches etc. to make a nice clearing to get more sun on the new garden plot area.

Now all I need to do is read up all winter on how to make better gardens. So far we have just dabbled a bit with some results but nothing serious yet though.