Even as temperatures start to drop and mittens seem more appropriate than gardening gloves, there's still some hope for Wisconsin gardeners looking to stretch out the growing season as much as possible.
Barb Larson, a University of Wisconsin-Extension horticulture educator for Kenosha County, said there are a few ways to keep a garden going throughout fall and even winter.
Planting seeds that mature quickly is one way to maximize growth, Larson said. Lettuces and spinach are a few examples that can be put in the ground now and be harvested fairly soon — about 40 to 45 days later.
The hardest part may actually be finding the seeds late in the season. Larson suggested buying extra seeds next spring when ordering or saving some back for fall plantings.
To help vegetables flourish in colder temps, she recommended floating row covers to keep the soil warm.
"Garden centers carry them, or if you do a lot of it, I would look for one of the mail-order companies that you can get even big rolls of it for fairly reasonable costs," Larson said.
An even better option is creating a really low hoop house for gardens, she said. It’s especially easy to do for those with raised beds.
It’s as simple as placing PVC or metal hoops over the beds and then putting floating row covers over the hoops. Larson provides a more detailed explanation in one of her UW-Extension publications.
For most Wisconsinites, Larson’s tips will keep gardeners happy through November.
And those in the southern part of the state can continue to enjoy fresh vegetables until the end of the year, according to Larson.
"You can definitely extend and harvest things for your Thanksgiving dinner. And depending on where you are in the state and what the weather’s like, you might even get a little Christmas dinner." Larson said.