Short Season Gardening, Northern Gardening and Cold Climate Gardening. You've maybe heard these terms before but what do they really mean? What entails a shorter season garden? A growing season first of all consists mainly of the days in between your last frost date (end of Spring to Early Summer) and your first frost date (End of Summer to Early Fall).
These days make up the majority of your growing season when you grow your annual "hot" season crops such as: tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, corn etc. This time of year is also when the temperatures and sunlight are at their peak which helps to ripen and develop these crops better. These days are your main growing season and if your growing season (the days between the last and first first dates) is 120 days or less - then you're gardening in a shorter season garden.
To optimize these 115+ days (which is basically our growing season here in the central kootenay region) the first thing you can do that makes a huge difference in the garden is choose varieties with a short Days to Maturity. If you look up a Celebrity tomato for example it's Days to Maturity is 70 days. 70 days (I prefer 65 days) or less is great for tomatoes in a shorter season garden since you're still giving extra time for the plant to develop, form and ripen fruit which can take time. And you'll get a good harvest window with the days you have to grow.
Until a couple years ago - I didn't understand "Days to Maturity" I'd hear of a great sounding tomato or watermelon variety online that someone recommended in a completely different growing season then mine. I tried growing the variety and they just didn't have enough days (and humid nights) of heat to fully mature and ripen. When I started growing varieties that suited my growing days - then my garden started producing ten times better.
That's one of the main reasons I started Garden Girl Seeds. To provide a place for people to get varieties that would actually grow well in their shorter season garden. Because you can garden almost anywhere - you just need to know how to do it and what varieties to plant!