I loved living in the north, but it did make gardening interesting the first couple of years I was there. I was so used to growing up in a much warmer climate that I had to find out the hard way when the best time to plant certain veggies was and which plants didn’t do well at all. Here are 5 tips on gardening in Wisconsin that might also come in handy to someone living in any of the adjoining states as well.
The growing season up north is much shorter than in the southern states. Plants that require a long growing season will need to be started indoors for best results. Make sure they have plenty of light, water, and are kept out of drafts to provide them an optimal environment to germinate in.
Peas, cabbage, and radishes all prefer cooler weather over hot steamy weather. Wisconsin is the perfect state for cold weather crops. They do very well and you should have very little difficulty getting them to grow successfully.
Cold frames are a life saver! These protect fragile plants and give them a head start outdoors. There is less chance of a rogue frost nipping your new plants when they are protected under a cold frame. The sunlight is able to help the plants grow and the sun also warms the air inside the framed area.
The spring thaw can render a garden spot un-tillable for quite some time. It’s best to run the tiller right before all the snow hits. This will give you a chance to break up the soil, turn under any dead plants, and mix in any compost or manure too. You can still run the tiller once the ground has dried out quite a bit. If you till in the fall, then you can always use a small trowel to get started planting even if the ground is too wet for the tiller.
Some plants need to have protection from winter weather, such as strawberries. Wait until the frost has killed all the leaves and stems, then cover all strawberry plants with a thick layer of straw. Be sure to not uncover the plants too soon in the spring.
I hope these tips are useful ones or that you know someone who can benefit from them. What other tips would you give to someone starting a garden in Wisconsin or another state with a short growing season?
Top Photo Credit: andrews.larsen
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