Thanks in large to the growing demand for farm-to-table local produce, farmers across the country are beginning to push through the winter months and continue to harvest — even in the most snow-prone regions. People want their locally grown produce, and their desire knows no seasons, so farmers are building greenhouses, high tunnels, and similar structures in order to meet this wintertime demand.
If you are one of these farmers struggling to meet this growing demand or are wanting to get a slice of the pie, here at our farm apparel company, Ag-Gear, we have compiled a guide to getting started with winter growing. We hope that when you’re ready to hit the frozen fields, you’ll come to us for all the best ag clothing and ranch wear around to keep you working harder, longer.
A Guide To Winter Farming
For starters, it is helpful to distinguish between the two primary methods of winter growing.
Winter Crop Harvest
This method involves planting your crops in the fall months, primarily in high tunnels, so that you can harvest these crops throughout the winter months. This is the primary method used by farmers supplying local produce and keeping up with the demand through the cold months. Since there aren’t likely to be as many farmers in your area doing this, you can become a major player in the local produce market.
This farming procedure entails planting in the late fall or early winter, either in the field or under low tunnels, where they are then left to grow throughout the winter. This allows you to have the earliest possible spring harvest that is sure to be earlier than most other harvests around, which has its own benefits as well.
Beating the Persephone Days
As you likely know, the key to successful plant growth is sufficient sunlight, and the short days of winter can create a challenging environment for plants to consistently grow and remain healthy. In order to have plants that push through the darkest time of the year, it is essential that you determine exactly when the winter days reach fewer than 10 hours of daylight in your specific region. The end goal behind this is to ensure that you plant your seeds in enough time prior to this period for them to be able to grow to at least 75 percent maturity once the Persephone days begin. While they may not grow appreciably after this point, they can at least be harvested while their maturity still holds.
Extending Harvest Periods
By carefully scheduling your planting periods in roughly one- to two-week intervals, you can ensure that your crops will be ready to harvest at different times, which in turn provides a longer harvest period. By successfully staggering these plantings, you can create a smooth transition from one harvest into the next with almost no periods of stagnation throughout the entire winter season.
We hope that these tips help equip you to tackle winter farming for yourself. If you’re in need of new farm apparel to rep your avid ag lifestyle, stop by our shop today!