As the frost settles in, you might be tempted to put away your gardening tools for the year. However, there are several plants that do well in cold temperatures. Let’s take a look at what vegetables you can plant during the winter.
How do I plant vegetables in the winter?
Depending on what type of plant you have planted in your vegetable garden, there are different techniques to grow them. First, you can plant a late-sown crop that will reach maturity before the frost hits. This way, the crop will do well in the cold weather, and you can harvest as needed.
Next, you can use tools to help prolong your crop’s life or help your winter crop to flourish. There are ways to protect your vegetables from a cold snap. A greenhouse, row cover, or cloche are great options to absorb heat from the sun and keep your winter vegetables growing.
Another option is to plant hardy vegetables in the late fall. They will begin to grow but not mature before the winter cold hits. These plants will then lay dormant until the days lengthen and the sunlight grows warmer. While you wouldn’t harvest in the winter, these plants would be ready to eat in the early spring.
Vegetables to Plant During Winter
There are several plant options for your winter vegetable gardening. Let’s take a look at some of the crops you can plant in the winter.
Beets are semi-hardy vegetables that can withstand temperatures as low as 28°F. They should be planted 6-8 weeks before frost is expected. If you plan to use the beet tops, you will want to harvest them before it begins to frost. The beet root is quite hardy and will do well in winter weather when mulched.
While brussels sprouts grow best around 60-65°F, they are a hardy plant that will withstand the winter. Typically, they are one of the final crops to be harvested in the late fall. However, brussels sprout stalks survive cold weather, and you can harvest the individual sprouts throughout the winter.
Cabbage comes in a variety of different kinds. Those that do well in the cold, like winter cabbage, are planted in the mid to late summer. With proper care, you can harvest the cabbage all winter long. While it is a successful winter crop, you may need to cover it to protect it from harsh elements and pests. You might also consider composting the cabbage if the growth seems too slow.
Carrots are one of the best vegetables to grow in winter. This is because as the earth grows colder and as frost settles over, the carrots become sweeter. The end of July into mid-August is the best time to plant your winter carrot crop. You will want them to mature before the frost sets in since they won’t grow much afterward. The carrot harvest will last all through the winter months.
Garlic is a crop that is planted later in the fall. The garlic bulbs will then lay in the ground through the winter and will be ready for harvest in the middle of summer. This crop needs to be insulated and uses a large amount of compost. This way, your garlic will be ready to go from farm to plate by midsummer!
Kale is yet another crop that sweetens with the cold in winter. Plant your winter kale crop in mid-August in alkaline soil. These leafy greens do an excellent job of surviving in below-freezing temperatures. However, if you are expecting a significant amount of snow, you may want to consider covering your kale to protect it from breaking off.
Onions work well as an overwinter crop. This means that they will lay dormant in the soil while it is cold and will begin to grow once the days lengthen and it warms up. You will need to choose winter onion varieties, such as Greeley’s, Kentucky Hill, Red, and Yellow.
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