photo of garden house
For the market gardener, extending the season means getting more and better income from commodities that are in short supply locally during late fall, winter, and early spring.

URBANA, Ill. – Home gardeners and market gardeners alike can overcome the short Midwest growing season by implementing gardening extension techniques to enjoy fresh local produce well into the winter months.  

University of Illinois Extension small farms educators Laurie George and James Theuri will share cultural techniques and crop species selection tips to help home gardeners and market gardeners extend their growing season in the upcoming webinar, Season Extension for Gardeners on Thursday, Sept. 11 at noon CST. 

“Extending the gardening season for market gardeners means arriving at the markets with produce long past the traditional season of other vendors, giving them a clear financial advantage,” said Theuri. “For home gardeners, it means enjoying greens through fall and into the winter.” 

The webinar will explain what season extension is, and how to extend it through implementation of specific cultural techniques, equipment to use and whether to use in grown or raised beds. Extension experts will also define high and low tunnels, cold frames, and even touch on construction. Identifying and selecting the best crop species, seasonality, soil management, watering, climate control, food safe management and pest management will round out the program into an all-inclusive guide to lengthening the season. 

Season Extension for Gardeners is free, and requires advanced online registration by Sept. 9. If reasonable accommodation is needed to participate, or for more information, contact Theuri at jtheu50@illinois.edu or George at ljgeorge@illinois.edu. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time for meeting access needs. 

SOURCEJames Theuri, Small Farms Educator, Illinois Extension 
WRITER: Carissa Mann, Communications, Illinois Extension, cdmann@illinois.edu 

ABOUT EXTENSION: Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.