Winter Growing & Season Extension

Video: Tips & Crop Recommendations for the Autumn and Winter Cold Frame • Tutorial with Niki Jabbour

Four-season gardener, author, and educator Niki Jabbour covers the basics, providing tips and crop recommendations for the fall and winter cold frame.

Hi, I'm Nikki Jabbour. A cold frame is a handy structure to have in a garden, as it allows you to extend the harvest of cool- and cold-season crops in late autumn and even winter!

I harvest many types of vegetables during the cold season, including scallions, salad greens, and root vegetables. And while we eat these crops beyond the traditional growing season, the seeds or seedlings are planted from mid summer to early autumn, depending on the vegetable.

Here I've got Salanova® lettuces, which form dense heads of tender leaves, and Kalebration Kale Mix, a blend of eye-catching green and red varieties, perfect for baby greens.

Greens like these are very quick to grow. Check your seed packets for specific days-to-maturity information

You can direct-sow seeds, or give them a head-start indoors under grow lights. Once the seedlings are 3–4 weeks old, they're hardened off and transplanted into the cold frame.

Other great options for an autumn or winter cold frame include arugula, mâche, and Asian greens like 'Amara' mustard and 'Red Kingdom' mizuna.

Once the seeds are planted, it's important to pay attention to soil moisture. Aim to keep the soil lightly moist, to promote healthy plant growth.

You'll also need to ventilate the cold frame on mild days, by opening up the top to release any buildup of warm air. I prop open the tops of my cold frames anytime the daytime temperature is above 40°F or 4°C. If it's going to be a very warm day, I'll completely open the frame, closing it up again later in the afternoon or early evening.

Once the plants have reached the right size, you can harvest by picking individual leaves and allowing the plant to continue growing for future harvests. Or, you can cut the entire head.

Happy growing!

Watch Niki Jabbour's Easy DIY Cold Frame Tutorial…