How to Grow a Homestead Garden Year-Round

May 31, 2023

Hi, I'm Paige, half of the duo behind Fairway Stables™

This website is the one I've been searching for, for years; a compilation of knowledge on all things horsemanship, including practical advice on how to start an equestrian business.

No matter your experience level with horses or homesteading, I hope this is a place you can get lost in, and learn something along the way - we welcome everyone from vets, to lifelong ranchers, trainer, to nonprofits contributing.


How to Grow a Garden Year-Round for Your Homestead

Source: Unsplash

If you’ve been gardening for a while on your homestead, you know how much better your own produce is over what you can find in a store. Garden can also a valuable source of income if you plan to monetize your homestead.

But if you live in an area with cold seasons, you’re limited in how much you can grow and harvest to feed your family throughout the year.

Fortunately, growing a garden year-round is an attainable goal, but you have to plan right to make it work.

What Plants Can I Grow Throughout the Year?

Seasonal gardening is a great way to get variety in your diet and make the most of the different growing seasons. The USDA Hardiness Zone Map is a helpful resource to select the crops for your climate.

Source: USDA

Here’s what you should grow in each season:

Spring and Fall

Spring and fall have milder weather, but they’re ideal seasons for hardy and semi-hardy vegetables like:

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Collard greens
  • Kohlrabi
  • Mustard greens
  • English peas
  • Radish
  • Parsley
  • Leeks
  • Turnip
  • Spinach


Summer is ideal for fruits and vegetables that thrive in warmth and sunshine, such as:

  • Cucumber
  • Corn
  • Beans
  • Eggplant
  • Summer squash
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Melons
  • Okra
  • Gourds
  • Peppers
  • Summer squash
  • Pumpkin
  • Tomatoes


In regions with mild winters, such as Pacific Northwest and the Southwest, some vegetables can thrive in the winter like:

  • Salad greens
  • Swiss chard
  • Arugula
  • Endive
  • Tatsoi
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Potatoes
  • Beets
  • Rutabaga
  • Carrots

Some cold-weather vegetables thrive even in hard frosts, such as:

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Collards
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • Radishes
  • Turnip

Limitations with Year-Round Growing

If you live in a cold or four-season climate, you may rely on a lot of canned or dried food to make it through a harsh winter and adapt to the short growing season.

However, you can continue to grow food – even with extremely cold winters – if you can adjust to the challenges of ice, frost, and snow with low light. While there are limitations to what you can grow, you can rely on practical solutions to continue growing during the winter.

Source: Unsplash

Options for Cold-Weather Gardening

If you live in an area that has a mild winter, there are a number of solutions that you can use to protect plants from frost and extend the growing season.


Some overwintering plants can subsist with organic mulches that prevent the soil from freezing, such as straw, bracken, or leaves.


Cloches are ideal for protecting individual plants from the winter cold, but you don’t have to go out and buy a bunch. It’s easy to make your own cloches with household items like old milk containers or plastic bottles that would otherwise be recycled.

Row Covers

If you have larger planters that are difficult to protect, a row cover is a good option. You can find row covers in home improvement stores, or opt to make your own from reclaimed materials like bamboo, branches, or old poly pipe.


Greenhouses or high tunnels are the ideal for growing in any season. But how you design, build, and position your greenhouse depends on a number of factors.

Source: Unsplash

Passive Solar Design

Passive solar design is an option to make the most of the limited light and heat during a cold winter. This maximizes southern exposure in winter while providing shade during the hottest part of the day in spring and summer.

Another benefit of passive solar design is maximum thermal mass, which catches and stores heat energy from the sun during the day and releases it at night. Overall, materials with high thermal mass keep your greenhouse temperatures more stable. Some materials with high thermal mass include earth, brick, clay, and ceramic.


Insulation is important for your greenhouse, especially in areas with extreme winters. In milder climates, a plastic high tunnel may be sufficient but cold areas require glass or double-skinned plastic to keep the temperature warm inside.

If you experience unusual temperature lows, adding row covers or mulches can protect your plants over winter.

Wind Protection

Wind chill is a concern for heat loss in underground growing areas. Your greenhouse shouldn’t have areas where the wind cuts through in the winter months, which can devastate your plants. It may be necessary to add windbreaks with hedging to protect your garden.

Added Heat

In some climates, temperature extremes may be too much for even a greenhouse or high tunnel. If you’re set on growing through the winter, you may need to invest in some eco-friendly heating solutions like:

  • A hot bed that uses compost to heat plants
  • Piped hot-water heating using solar or wood-fire boilers
  • Ground-to-air space heating, which pumps warm, humid area from a network of pipes under the soil
  • A solid-fuel space heater
  • Electric space heaters that run on renewable energy

Related: Regenerative Farming

Adjoining Housing

If you have livestock on your homestead, keeping them in the greenhouse in adjoining housing can keep both warm during a cold winter. Animals like chickens and other birds give off body heat that’s contained within the greenhouse, helping to keep the plants warm. The animals are also more comfortable with the residual heat in the greenhouse and the shelter from the elements.

Indoor Growing

If you’re working with limited space and can’t rely on a greenhouse in extreme climates, you can grow some crops indoors. As long as you have space for containers, vegetables like scallions, carrots, salad greens, hot peppers, and herbs can thrive inside.

Plant your vegetables or seeds in pots or DIY containers made from storage containers or old food containers. Make sure to use a tray or saucer to catch any drainage. Use indoor potting soil, which is specially designed to help plants grow indoors with limited light.

Once your plants are potted, you can place them in front of a window to get some sunlight. If you don’t have adequate space to get sunlight, invest in some grow lights for your vegetables. Most vegetables require four to six hours of sun, while others may need up to eight hours.

Low humidity is another challenge for indoor growing. Mist your vegetables each day to keep them moist.

Source: Unsplash

Tips for Year-Round Gardens

Here are some tips for success with your year-round gardening:

Extend Your Growing Season

Mid- to late fall is the first sign of frost in many climates. The growth begins to slow and the harvest season comes to a close, but many crops can continue with some weather protection. Delicate plants like cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes will continue to ripen if they’re protected from the frost, giving you a higher yield.

Overwinter Your Vegetables

Once your warm-weather crops are finished, you can turn your attention to cool-season staples. Several crops will continue to grow through the winter, such as endive, winter lettuce, mustard greens, and leafy greens like spinach and chard.

Focus on the “Hungry Gap”

The “hungry gap” is the period when the previous season’s crops are finished but the current season’s are not ready. With careful planning, you can ensure that you have a harvest through the hungry gap with vegetables like cabbage, leeks, and broccoli.

Give Some Crops an Early Start

Some vegetables take a little longer to establish, such as cabbage, chard, and onions. It’s best to give these crops an early start, which leads to an early harvest. Some seedlings can be started indoors under lights before being moved outdoors.

Plant Succession Crops

Once the first crops of the growing season are harvested, don’t take a break! Continue the process by sowing or planting succession crops. These crops are planted from midsummer forward, including many fall- or winter-maturing vegetables that can be stored.

Related: How To Start Homesteading (Legally)

Harvest Crops All Year Long

Gardening year-round takes some more work and planning than seasonal gardening, but it’s worth the effort to enjoy your own homegrown food in every season. Prepare for some research, setup, and trial and error, but once you get the hang of it, gardening in each season will become a breeze.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Year-Round Homesteading Gardens

Learn more about gardening year-round on your homestead.

Can You Garden Year-Round in a Greenhouse?

If you set up a greenhouse correctly, you can grow fresh produce throughout the year and extend your growing season. If the outside temperatures drop significantly, however, your greenhouse is at risk of frost that can kill tender plants. Consider your climate and invest in heating options if subzero temperatures are common.

How Do You Grow Vegetables in Extreme Cold?

Though there some limitations, you can grow vegetables in extreme climates by implementing protective measures like cloches, row covers, mulch, and greenhouses or high tunnels. Depending on the usual temperatures, you may need to rely on hardy vegetables and a greenhouse with supplemental heating to prevent frost.

How Do You Winterize a Garden Bed?

Winterizing a garden bed is an important part of preparing your homestead for winter. If you don’t plan on planting, you should clean up dead plant material and weeds after the summer harvest, refill the soil, and add a protective layer of mulch to keep the moisture and nutrients locked in. When your planting season comes back around, you’ll have a garden bed that’s primed and ready.

Leave a note

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


To inquire into legal services, consulting services, or overnight boarding availability and options, please fill out the form  or send a note directly to 


Your message has been received, and we'll be in touch very soon. 

In the meantime:

Thank you.

Read our latest blog posts

Our Most Common Questions

Visit the Shop

Follow along on Instagram at @paige.hulse

This website is solely intended for the purpose of attorney advertising, and for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, in no way establishes an attorney-client relationship. An attorney client relationship is only formed when you have hired me individually and signed an engagement agreement. No past results serve in any way as a guarantee of future results.