Vegetables To Grow In Winter – The Ones That Thrive In Cold Climate!
From kale to lettuce and peas to carrots, here’s what you can have in your garden
Winters shouldn’t be the reason for the growing season to come to an end. There are vegetables that can withstand cold temperatures, frost, and even snow. Some of the vegetables to grow in winter are kale, beets, lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflowers, etc.
These vegetables become tastier and sweeter if they endure frost. During the winter months, you can put aside your worries about the plants being destroyed. You just need a little planning and preparation to grow your veggies in the winter months.
When the vegetables that grow in cold weather come in contact with frost, they react to cold and naturally produce some extra sugar, turning even the bitter ones sweet. So, if you have been dreaming of a vegetable garden, fall or winter is the best time to actually start it.
Let us look at a list of winter hardy vegetables you can plant this fall. In addition to telling you about the best veggies to grow in winter, we will also talk about how to protect your veggies in winter, grow them in pots, and maintain greenhouse conditions to grow them in winter.
List of Winter Vegetables To Grow
Before deciding which vegetable to grow in winter, you should ideally determine your hardiness zone. Once you know the average winter temperature in your area, you can choose which vegetables to grow.
There are many cold hardy vegetables like leafy greens and root vegetables that you can grow in the winter season. Go through the below-mentioned list of vegetables that are best produced in winter.
Lettuce is one of the best vegetables to grow in pots in winter. You must plant lettuce seeds in spring so that by the time the freezing temperatures arrive, your plant is well established. The planting season for lettuce begins in late summer and goes upto mid-autumn.
The prime time is 3-4 weeks before the first frost date. It grows well in between the temperature of 60-65 degrees and prefers well-drained soil. It is best to plant them during winter as fewer pests will be there to bother them. During winters, lettuce should be given a thorough cover to grow well.
Cabbage is a versatile winter vegetable that is both a healthy and inexpensive option. These veggies can withstand frost to 20 degrees or even 15 degrees F. Cabbages are known to thrive in frost and are ready to harvest in winter. Overwintering cabbage varieties do well in the fall as there is no pest issue and their flavor improves during frost.
In early to mid-summer, plant them indoors, and later in late summer transplant them outdoors. This way the plant will become mature by the time freezing weather arrives. Winter varieties can withstand 10 degrees without protection. Savoy varieties can resist freezing much better than smooth varieties.
3. Brussels sprouts
Brussels sprouts are a cold-weather crop with a maturity time between 80 to 130 days, depending on the variety. It can do well in temperatures between 45 to 75° F and withstand frost down to 20°F.
They are included in the best winter veggies to grow. Quality Brussels sprouts are produced on sunny days with light frosts at night in 3 to 4 months.
Spinach is a winter green leafy vegetable that is a tough plant. During winter, you will see this plant die while in spring, it starts getting new leaves.
It thrives in the cool and shorter days of autumn and winter in cool and moist soil. In some areas, spinach can be planted in early spring, fall, and even winter. If you want to harvest spinach all winter, grow it under medium to heavy frost cover so it can keep producing.
Beets are another vegetable to grow in cold that is extremely easy to grow in fertile soil and grows quickly in full sun. Although beets thrive well in warm weather, the seeds are established in cold and brutal weather.
They make for a great fall vegetable as they can survive frost and freezing temperatures. Plant your beets one month before your last frost date. Seeds can be directly planted 4 months before your last frost date. Though beets can be grown in summer, the color, texture, and sugar content are the best in winter.
Broccoli plants thrive in cool temperatures and are frost tolerant. This makes these plants amazing vegetables to grow in cold climates. Broccoli can survive temperatures as low as 40 degrees F and some mature plants can survive as low as 25 degrees F.
The leaves can suffer frost bur, but the head will be edible. Broccoli can be planted as early as six weeks before the first frost-free date but is does best as a fall crop. Once you harvest the main head of broccoli, leave the foliage in place and you will see it produces several offshoots.
Carrots are one of the easiest winter vegetables to grow. They get sweeter after they go through some hard freezes. Their flavor improves after a few touches of frost in late autumn.
While planting them, ensure the soil is not cooler than 45 degrees F. They should be planted before the ground freezes.
Carrots can survive temperatures as low as 15 degrees F. Their tops are cold hardy and roots can take colder temperatures, especially if you cover them with a thick layer of straw mulch and insulate them.
Prolonged periods of cold make their roots turn long and pale. After you harvest them, store them in a cool and moist place.
Celery is a rewarding crop in your winter garden. It can tolerate light frost only. Celery needs 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight every day so plant them in a bright spot. The plant suffers from too much heat.
During its growing period, celery needs four months of cool weather. Avoid transplanting it too early. To grow celery, you must plant them eight to ten weeks before the last frost date. Transplant them when your celery has five to six leaves.
The soil should be warm up to about 50 degrees outdoors. Once the temperature falls below 30 degrees, your plants may suffer damage or die.
9. Green onion
Onions are as hardy as they come. They are the best winter veggies to grow. Frosts, freezing temperatures, and snow will not kill them. The seedlings are more susceptible to cold weather, while the mature plants are hardier.
They are best planted in the spring. Start planting them in early to mid-spring and seed again in mid-summer. Choose a sunny spot and a well-draining soil to plant them. When required water them deeply. Eliminate weeds as they appear.
Leeks are another vegetables to grow in cold climates. They are very cold-tolerant, most likely to survive plunges to 0 °F. They can withstand freezing temperatures. With protection, most of the varieties can survive even the hardest winters.
Leeks can grow well even in the shorter days of winter. The dark blue-green varieties are hardier than the light-colored ones, surviving down to 0 degrees. Start seeds indoors and later transplant in spring.
Adding protection such as a thick layer of mulch around your plants can improve their lifespan. The key is to protect the base of your plants and roots from the freeze.
11. Mustard Greens
These are cool-season vegetables that germinate well in cooler temperatures. They can survive a light frost, but hard freezes can affect them. Plant them in full sun or afternoon shade in well-drained soil. While harvesting, chop the leaves at the base before any hard freezes.
The greens that are not harvested should be folded back into the soil. The residue left is significant in suppressing roundworms. So, mustards are good to plant before potatoes. There is no need to feed mustard as they use the nitrogen left by the summer crops.
Arugula is a tremendous fall-winter vegetable often included in the list of winter vegetables to grow. It can survive the moderate level of winter and light frost. They can survive in temperatures as low as 45 degrees F. Plant them in full sun or afternoon shade in fertile and moist soil.
Wild arugula is slower growing but colder tolerant. They have a more robust flavor. Make sure to use protective mulch while planting them in extreme cold.
Peas can withstand freezing temperatures and love mild to cool temperatures. They make a great choice for your fall garden. They are one of the earliest crops to harvest in spring. They can tolerate temperatures from 31 to 33 degrees F.
You can plant them four to six weeks before the last frost date. Water them well and once they emerge provide them with something to climb.
You might also like to check out these winter vegetables that you can grow indoors.
When To Plant The Vegetables That Grow In Cold Weather?
Cold hardy vegetables can be planted mid to late summer for harvest in fall and winter. Warm weather helps them to germinate, and the longer days let them develop and mature when winter arrives.
You can also plant your seeds indoors earlier in spring and transplant them outdoors when the weather is perfect for them. Many winter vegetables can be started indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost.
How To Protect Your Winter Crops?
Determining which vegetables to grow in winter and how to protect them is difficult. When temperatures drop, the lifespan of plants that dwell outside is threatened.
This means you have to take measures to protect your precious plants from the cold and frost. Read our tips on protecting your cold hardy vegetables throughout the winter season.
- Harvest cautiously during the daytime
- Whichever vegetables you choose to grow, it is a good idea to cover them before the arrival of frost.
- Change your watering schedule as plants need less water during winter as compared to summer.
- Build a wall around veggies
- Mulching is the cheapest way to grow fresh vegetables in winter. For harvesting, lift the cover, push back the mulch, and dig roots.
- Creating cold frames – A hard frame is a bottomless case with a transparent or plastic cover to place over the plants. The transparent cover lets the sunlight in and creates a greenhouse. It holds heat, so it helps to keep the plants warm during cold nights. Cold frames can be made using wood or old windowpanes, or plastic.
- Mini tunnels – You can buy mini tunnel kits or make them using PVC or metal hoops. They are ideal for small spaces, in-ground gardens, or raised beds. If you use PVC conduits, it is easy to bend them and make durable hoops. They can protect your plants from snowstorms and can also be used in spring, summer, and autumn. These hoops can be placed over your vegetable garden by slipping them into rebar stakes for stability.
Which Vegetables To Grow In Pots In Winter?
Some of the winter vegetables to grow in pots are root vegetables and leafy greens. Roots veggies include carrots, beets, and potatoes. Other veggies to grow in pots during winters are cabbage, spinach, and broccoli which can survive mildly cold temperatures.
These vegetables to grow in winter can be planted in pots with proper care.
- Container vegetables need proper sunlight, so select sunny locations where your plants will get direct sun for at least six or eight hours a day.
- The pots should also have good drainage.
- Plants grown in pots need well-drained soil, so check your soil daily and water often to keep the soil moist. Ensure to water gently until the water drains out of the drainage holes. Avoid allowing your vegetables to wilt before watering. Try to water without wetting the foliage to avoid diseases.
- Weeds should be removed promptly. You can use slow-release fertilizer for potted plants.
Which Vegetables To Grow In The Greenhouse Over Winter?
Various vegetables to grow in greenhouse over winter, such as chards, collards, kale, carrots, beets, turnips, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, garlic, leeks, etc.
Greenhouses are great for providing your vegetables with the perfect environment for growing in winter. It is an enclosure with transparent roofs and walls that lets sunlight in during the day and keeps your plants warm during cold nights.
Sound insulation is required for a greenhouse to do its job correctly. You can use horticulture bubble wrap to protect your plants and an electric heating system to keep your greenhouse from freezing. A paraffin heater is also another good option.
With insulation, ventilation is equally important to protect your plants from becoming leggy and avoid disease or mildew buildup. Make sure to open the greenhouse doors in the morning and close them before sunset.
Q. What is the most cold-hardy vegetable?
Ans. Vegetables like cabbage, kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts, carrots, etc., are cold and hardy to be grown in winter.
Q. What is the easiest vegetable to grow in winter?
Ans. Kale, spinach, and other greens are the easiest to grow in winter.
Q. How to harvest winter veggies?
Ans. Some winter vegetables are ready by the first frost, but you can wait till the winter. For root veggies, check out if you can see their bulb bulging out of the topsoil. If yes, it’s time to harvest them.
Determining when and what to plant during winter can be a little tricky. But you can never go wrong with these vegetables to grow in winter. They are meant for winter growing so that you may enjoy their produce in the colder months.