I’ve always enjoyed gardening though I live in northwestern Ohio with its below freezing winters. And maybe there is no plant that can survive it being that cold, but some come pretty close. Its best to plant all the seeds in August or September when its still fairly warm out (though some years the cold comes early) in the same place you planted your Spring/Summer garden. Soil from it will already be fertile for other plants to take root. Some plants need to be picked before the first frost, however many green vegetables can tolerate freezing.
To get started prepare the growing site. A year-around garden needs all the same things as a Spring or Summer garden. The watering, pest control, and soil quality need to be kept optimal. As I said above, green vegetables such as asparagus, beans, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, and cucumbers all do well in excessively cold temperatures and sometimes even have a superior taste as a result of it. Other types of hardy vegetables are carrots, peppers, garlic, and okra. All of these plants may grow in cold but they still need at least a week or more of fairly warm weather. The garlic is an exception since it starts as an underground winter bulb and comes up in Spring.
Asparagus makes an excellent Fall plant though it can’t tolerate the depths of Winter. Its best to prepare trenches that are about seven inches deep with plenty of space between the plants. You simply fill the trench up with loose soil and water them casually, though when first planting make sure their watered down good. Its impertinent that the root crown remains undamaged so don’t pack the soil down. And the deeper the crown is planted the more asparagus will come up. The soil should have good drainage as its a drought-resistant plant. If you plant them in the fall they’ll come up in Spring and if planted in Summer they’ll come up in the Fall. The asparagus is one of the easiest vegetables to maintain. Another hardy green vegetable, broccoli, is started indoors 12-15 weeks before being set outside to grow amongst the elements. The growing site should have fertile, well-drained soil, and be in a very sunny location. Broccoli actually doesn’t thrive well in the tropics and is better suited to cold climates. Starting the seeds indoors gives your broccoli a better head-start growth. They grow up very fast so be sure feed the hungry little sproutlings an organic fertilizer such as alfalfa meal or compost tea. And its easy to get multiple harvests of broccoli since all you have to do is cut their heads off and another one will grow within a few days.
The carrot is another exceptionally hardy vegetable that thrives best in well-drained loose soils and do not tolerate drought. The roots become long in cold weather with hot weather turning them coarse. Its best to plant the seeds in Spring as carrots take a very long time to mature. You’ll need to start them outside as the long roots can be easily damaged by transplanting. Its best to mulch the growing site through the Spring and Summer in order to control weeds. While it should be kept moist, however, towards the end of Fall steadily decrease the amount of watering as this can cause the roots to crack. Carrots can be harvested when their finger-size or larger and when picked keep them in the refrigerator to preserve freshness. The small ones have the best taste.
Cabbage is a hardy plant as well being completely unable to tolerate very hot temperatures. The cabbage is in the same family as broccoli and is also a hungry plant that needs good fertile soil to grow properly. Start the seeds indoors for the first 6 weeks and transplant in Spring so they’ll be ready for the Fall harvest. They like moist, well-drained soils in direct sun. The roots are very shallow so there should be a good layer of soil and mulch covering their roots. The mulch also acts as a natural defense against weeds that might compete against the cabbage for nutrients. And its important the cabbage has a good supply of nutrients. These plants will survive the coldest of Fall days.
Creating a year around garden can be a very enjoyable experience and take no more work than what you’d spend on preparing a Spring garden. It actually takes less since you simply reuse the already existing garden. And the chilly Fall days naturally kill off most pests and keep plants from getting disease as easily. However, its important to know which plants can take an actual frost and what plants are to only be grown during the Fall. Some plants can’t tolerate the coldest days of winter. The ones who can come in bulbs and are tucked away underground ready to come up next year. Always check the seed pack information. Whatever you decide to grow in your year-around garden its sure to be fun.