It can be a sad time for gardeners when the winter rolls around. As temperatures drop and fall crops start to die back, schoolyard gardens can begin to look bare and empty. However, KCCG offers a solution for schools that are interested in extending the fall season: row covers!
Row covers are a useful tool for a schoolyard garden. They boost the inside temperature of a raised-bed allowing cold-hardy crops to continue to mature into early winter. KCCG offers two options for row covers: 4’X4’ row covers with frames specifically designed for raised-bed gardens or fabric row covers that can be draped over an entire bed.
At this time of year, any cold-hardy greens are good candidates for covers, including spinach, mustard greens, brussel sprouts, kale, and collard greens. For schools whose broccoli, cauliflower, or cabbage are just beginning to head, row covers can be especially useful to keep the temperature high enough for the heads to continue to form. KCCG recommends getting covers on these crops on as soon as possible so that they have enough time to head before the temperature drops too low.
If you decide to continue to grow crops into the wintertime, it is a good idea to adjust your watering practices to better suit the winter climate. This means watering only in the morning when the temperature is above 40 degrees, and checking the soil periodically to see if watering is needed. Only water if the soil is dry to touch, which usually ends up being about once a week.