Tending a fall or winter garden can give you a new appreciation for usually bitter vegetables. Cool-weather crops react to frost by making more sugars resulting in deliciously different-tasting harvests.
Not sure what to plant for a cool-weather garden?
Beets, Carrots, Rutabagas, and Other Root Vegetables
Many of these veggies thrive in cold weather.
Plant carrots during the fall and harvest before temps are consistently cold. The cold can sap their color and taste. You can order specific varieties adapted for cold weather that you can grow during the most challenging part of the winter.
A cross between a turnip and cabbage, the rutabaga must mature in cold weather, so they are the first choice for a winter garden.
In addition to being cold hardy to 20℉, radishes can grow back from roots if their foliage is damaged by cold.
Cabbage and Its Spinoffs
Cabbage, Brussel sprouts, kale, cauliflower, and broccoli descend from the same plant. Cabbage and kale are focused on producing leaves. Cauliflower and broccoli are the flowers.
These are perfect for a fall or winter garden because they all thrive in cold weather. They can weather harsh weather, below freezing, and still be ready to pick and enjoy.
Celery and Swiss Chard
Living in a warmer climate like the South, you can grow celery in a winter garden. However, if you live in a cold environment, you must pick celery before a significant frost hits.
Swiss Chard is your pick if you live in a colder place. It can survive dips to 15℉ without protection and lower temperatures if you take precautions to keep the frost off its foliage.
Spinach, Lettuce, and Other Leafy Greens
Leafy greens grow well in fall and winter gardens, and those in frigid climates can get seeds for varieties well adapted for the cold.
Spinach does slow its growth during the winter but grows very well in the fall and spring.
For things like lettuce, you can simply remove any leaves damaged by weather and pick the young, tender leaves underneath. And your plant will continue to grow.
Extremely cold hardy, they will grow through the snow. And you can get 3 or 4 harvests off of a single bulb before you need to replant.
This is a tasty but overlooked veggie in the same family as garlic and onions. They are perfect for a cold weather garden because they are cold hardy to 0℉.
Fall and winter do not have to signal the end of your gardening year. On the contrary, planning and growing a fall or winter garden can keep you in delicious, cheap produce during the cold months. So what vegetables do you want to plant in your fall or winter garden?
Ali is a work-at-home mom of 5. She spends her time homeschooling, gardening, and relaxing at the park.