Winter Gardening: The best cold tolerant vegetables to grow in winter
It’s no secret that winter can be a tough time for gardeners. The cold weather and shorter days make it difficult to get outside and tend to your plants. But just because the temperature has dropped doesn’t mean you have to give up on your gardening dreams. In fact, winter is the perfect time to start planning your winter harvest.
There are a variety of winter vegetables that you can grow in your garden centres, including kale, spinach, and cabbage. These hardy plants are designed to withstand the cold weather, so you can still enjoy a fresh winter harvest even if the temperatures dip below freezing. Plus, growing vegetables in winter is a great way to get a head start on the spring planting season. So if you’re looking for a winter gardening project, why not give winter vegetables a try? You may be surprised at how much you can accomplish despite the chilly weather.
What is winter gardening?
Winter gardening is the practice of growing plants during the winter season. While most plants require cold temperatures to survive, there are a number of cold-tolerant plants that can thrive in winter conditions.
Winter gardening often takes advantage of cold frames, which are small enclosures that help to protect plants from the cold. Cold frames can be filled with soil and used to grow a variety of winter vegetables, such as kale and spinach. In addition, cold frames can also be used to overwinter tender perennials, such as petunias and impatiens.
By taking advantage of the cooler temperatures of winter, gardeners can extend the growing season and enjoy a bounty of fresh produce all year long. Here are a few more things that relate to gardening in winter.
Planting enough crops in the late summer and fall to last all winter.
These late-planted crops mature before the cold weather arrives, but they store well in the garden, allowing you to pick them after the rest of your crops have faded. They won’t grow much at colder temperatures, but they will keep in fine shape for fresh eating. That implies you’ll need to grow enough to harvest without having to replant in cold season. Root vegetables, winter lettuces, Asian greens, parsley, peas, kale, hardy vegetables, and spinach are examples of regularly produced plants in this group.
Planting short-season crops late in the ordinary gardening season so that you can enjoy them before the temperatures drop.
As your beds become vacant in your garden due to summer harvests, you can fill them with quick-growing early fall crops that you can eat before the cold weather sets in. Radishes, tendril peas, lettuces, turnips, arugula, and mustard greens are all examples of plants that grow in 3-6 weeks.
Using tools and techniques to protect crops so you can grow all winter long.
You can lengthen the time when your plants actually grow if you have a technique and the essential gardening tools to make your season’s heat stay longer, such as a greenhouse, mini hoop tunnel, cloche, or row cover. Many of the plants mentioned above will thrive if they are sheltered by one or two layers of cover in cold climates.
Planting slow-growing crops in late winter or early spring for harvest.
In this instance, your crops will not be fully mature when winter arrives. These overwintering crops go dormant as the days get shorter and the temperatures drop. Then, as the calendar shifts and the days lengthen, they begin to grow again, adding to the growth they achieved in the fall or early winter. Overwintered crops are normally ready to harvest about the time you begin sowing the following season’s crops. Onions, cauliflower, garlic, and several types of broccoli are examples of plants that do not require much winter protection.
Because there are so many alternatives, it’s typically preferable to tackle the winter gardening season with a variety of approaches. Plant vegetables that will mature fast, hold well in your winter vegetable garden, and overwinter to begin growing again as the days grow longer.
What kinds of winter veggies can you start growing now?
Planting times vary depending on where you live, but most winter crops are planted in late July and August in the northern section of the country. Extend the window to October in the southern parts for harvesting from your winter vegetable garden.
Here are some of our favourite crops to cultivate in winter.
Growing winter vegetables in cold winter weather outdoors
You can pick these vegetables as long as they remain accessible if you get them to a reasonable size before the first frost. Some types can also be overwintered for a late winter or early spring crop. Theses cool season vegetables are must haves for your winter vegetable gardening needs.
Plant beets 6 to 8 weeks before the first frost is forecast. Harvest as baby greens or leave to mature into tasty, vitamin-rich roots in the ground. Beets may usually be left in the ground all winter if they are mulched when the weather becomes bitterly cold.
Broad beans, which are slow to develop but excellent, can be planted in the fall and staked in locations where there is a lot of snow. When the pods fatten up in early days of spring, harvest them as they are cold tolerant.
Garlic is one of the easiest crops to raise, as it goes into the ground in the middle to late fall and is harvested in the middle of summer. Plant with plenty of compost and mulch for weed and cool weather protection.
You may harvest this pungent garden produce from summer to spring thanks to the several cabbage varieties available. Sow overwintering kinds in July and August (or even later in warmer places) and use a floating row cover to defend against winter pests if necessary. If growth appears to be stalling, surround the plants with compost and water thoroughly in cooler weather.
Start seeds indoors 16-20 weeks before your area’s last frost date. Transplants are ready to plant 12-14 weeks before the last spring frost. Brussels sprouts are planted in late May to early July for fall harvest. Plant the crop in early autumn for a late winter to early spring harvest if you’re growing this cold tolerant veggie throughout the winter in a really moderate climate.
Plant carrots in late July or early August to harvest in the winter, and allow them to grow until they are large enough to consume. Keep them in the garden over the fall and winter months, harvesting gently enough to keep them fresh. Carrots will not grow much larger as the temperatures decrease, but they will last for months in the ground. One of the nicest Christmas delights is a fresh carrot plucked in December.
Kale is a simple plant to grow, and the cold winter just enhances its flavour. Plant a large amount in slightly alkaline soil in early to mid August for a winter crop. Kale will normally tolerate freezing temperatures, but if you want to avoid breaking, cover the leaves from heavy snowfall.
Onions are another crop that will survive the winter if you choose kinds that do. The longer days will jumpstart their growth in cold season, allowing them to harvest in late spring. By late August, plant and protect seedlings in your garden with straw mulch or floating row covers if temps drop below – 10 F. (- 23 C).
For a fall harvest, plant peas outside till mid-August or harvest in winter in a heated greenhouse. Peas will overwinter in warmer climates with some shelter and begin growing again in the spring. The parsley pea, planted for its green tendrils to add to salads, is a favorite. Grow this pea variety to harvest before the frost, or protect it to extend the harvest season into the winter temperatures.
Winter Vegetable Gardening
If you want to be a year-round vegetable gardener, a few things must be taken into account. During the sunny days, it will be fairly easy to grow food in your garden. Late summer is the time to plan your harvest for the colder temperatures.
An important thing to have in your arsenal is a green house or a cover of some sort. These help your protect seedlings and most vegetables from harsh weather cools. Combined to the right mulch, this can prolong the life of most winter crops!
How to grow vegetables in winter?
Winter Vegetable gardening is a hobby for a lot of people around the globe. some grow their own salad greens all winter long! A cold frame and protect your leafy greens from the harsh cold winter months. Cold hardy plants are your best bet for the early december time.
Growing food in the winter: Root vegetables in winter
Carrots and other root vegetables are your best friend when frost hits. from light frosts to full blow colder season, these vegetables stay protected and can thrive under a cold frame combined with proper mulching methods. When temperatures fall by a few degrees, mulch your vegetable and use a cold frame to protect them and to keep the plants warm.
Using a cold frame or row cover in your winter vegetable garden to grow winter crops
Cold frames, row covers, greenhouses, or a mini hoop tunnel all serve same purpose of protecting your plants. When combined with the right mulching, can fortify the protecting and help you harvest year round!
If you cannot buy a cold frame, it is rather easy to make with a PVC pipe or two and using bed sheets as covers over raised beds in your garden. Install this during late fall to get the best results of protection and grow vegetables all year round. Lets talk about some cold hardy leafy greens.
This nutty-flavored green features the distinctive oak leaf shape seen in so many’spring’ mixes these days. In chilly weather, though, arugula grows even better. It can grow all winter long if protected from frost. Plant in two-week intervals starting six weeks before your first estimated frost date. Cover with a cloche or floating row fabric as the temperature drops below freezing. Arugula grows well in a greenhouse as well.
Another quick-growing green that thrives in chilly conditions is bok choy. Sow every 2 to 3 weeks in August and September (plants will grow and go to seed quickly). When strong frosts and high temperatures threaten, cover your plants with a floating cover. Bok choy is abundant in calcium and makes a delicious smoothie ingredient or addition to a corn salad.
Vegetables of winter: Help your plants survive freezing temperatures
After you’ve picked your crops, there are a few more things to think about that can help you succeed in colder, wet weather.
Grow food in Cool weather: Winter gardening tips
For many gardeners, winter weather is a time to take a break from planting and caretaking. But just because the temperature outside is cooling down doesn’t mean your green thumb has to go into hibernation. With a little planning and effort, you can grow vegetables in cooler months. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Start seeds germination in trays
If you live in the northern United States or Canada, you’ll need to prepare ahead to make the most of your planting window. You can get a head start on the season by starting seeds in trays. Transplanting a healthy seedling into the ground when a bed in your garden becomes vacant saves you a few weeks of growing time. Grow in raised garden beds
A raised bed in the garden is a great option for gardeners who want to make the most of their space. A raised bed can be used to create a microclimate, which can be beneficial for delicate plants that require extra protection from the elements. A raised bed in the garden is also a great way to keep weeds at bay, as they can be easily trimmed and mulched.
Wind protection for crops
Protect your plants from the elements. Once you’ve chosen your plants, make sure to protect them from the wind, snow, and frost. Consider using a cold frame or low tunnel system to extend your growing season.
Some lettuce variants can survive in late summer and early fall without fear of bolting due to high temperatures. Seeding time might be challenging, because August plantings can still be in the middle of summer. Plant in sowing trays in a cooler location and then transplant when the weather cools, or use shade cloth if temps get too high. Soon, the season will transition, bringing lettuces exactly what they require: cooler days and plenty of moisture. Cover with cloches or floating row fabric when the cold season approaches. Lettuce grown in a greenhouse usually performs the best.
For fall and cooler temperature harvests, sow in mid- to late August. Because parsley has a taproot, it’s ideal to plant it in well-drained soil that has been supplemented with compost. Use the fresh leaves for vitamin-rich greens all season. Pick the exterior leaves and cover with a covering when the weather drops below freezing to extend your yield.
While spinach is tough to grow in the summer heat, it thrives in the cooler months and will continue to develop new leaves even with less light. In many areas, it is hardy enough to thrive outside until mid-October, so you may plant it later in the season (August to September), let it develop outside, and then cover it before the first frosts.
Chard, like spinach, is a resilient plant that can withstand lower weather far into October. While it does require protection as the colder months approach, its leaves may withstand some freezing and yet keep their flavour if left on the plant to defrost before harvesting. For the optimum growth, sow in early August and maintain moisture steady.
Protect garden beds that are dormant with cover crops
Cover crops replenish soil nutrients while also preventing weeds, erosion, and compaction. Instead of leaving soil naked until spring, consider growing a cover crop after harvesting a bed.
Growing and harvesting vegetables all winter
Choose the right plants. Not all plants are well-suited for cooler temperatures growth. Look for varieties that are low temperature tolerant and do not require a lot of sunlight.
Keep an eye on the moisture levels. One of the biggest challenges of maintaining a winter vegetable garden is preventing your plants from drying out. Make sure to water regularly, and consider adding a layer of mulch to help retain moisture.
With these tips, you can enjoy fresh produce even during the colder months. So don’t let the cooler temperatures put a chill on your gardening aspirations – get out there and start growing!