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Introduction on frost tolerant vegetables to grow in winter
You may have the impression that you will eat spinach and kale all winter long. But that isn’t necessary. Quite some vegetables can tolerate the cold quite well. Some are even more cold-tolerant than kale.
Many hobby gardeners stop growing vegetables in the fall. They don’t know, they can keep on growing vegetables through the winter.
So why settle for just a couple of vegetables if you can have more vegetables and more diversity. let’s check out 10 frost tolerant vegetables to grow in winter.
The first vegetable of the 10 frost tolerant vegetables to grow in winter, is the carrot.
If you are used to carrots in the summer, you’ll be really nicely surprised when you start harvesting your carrots in winter. Light frost makes the carrots sweeter. And they taste more like candy than a vegetable.
You could get so used to winter carrots that you don’t want to eat any summer carrots anymore.
You can start growing your carrots from June to have them grow through winter. This is just the starting date, so you can sow later.
If you plan it right, you can grow carrots through the winter and eat carrots all winter long.
Just make sure you have a plan to harvest the carrots when you need them. During the winter, the greens can die off. Especially, when you put mulch on top of the carrots. So make sure you have a way to find back the spot where you were harvesting.
If you want to know how to grow carrots in the garden, click this article.
Turnips are the second vegetable of the frost tolerant vegetables to grow in winter.
Just as with the carrots, the same goes for turnips.
Turnips can even be grown much later than carrots as it’s a fast-growing vegetable. You can start turnips as a second crop after you harvested crops like onions or potatoes. Through the fall you can sparingly cut off the tender greens to eat in a salad while the bulb is growing. Once the temperature starts dropping, cover the greens with a thick layer of mulch and this will store the turnips.
Sow in a spot where you know you can find back the plants when you want to harvest them.
To make sure the turnips stay alive, cover them with a good layer of mulch so the greens die off but the roots stay healthy in the soil. Just make sure the roots have developed so you have something to harvest. If the bulb isn’t there, it won’t grow when the greens are gone.
If you want detailed information on how to grow turnips in the garden, click this link.
This vegetable is a quite cold hardy plant. It’s easy to grow and you can harvest when you want to.
Swiss chard can withstand temperatures going as low as 15°F or -9°C.
Just make sure that the plants have developed quite a bit of leaf as the growth slows down with less light. Swiss chard will keep on growing when temps go above 8°C or 43°F but when temps drop it just kind of hibernates.
Only harvest the leaves when they are not frozen solid. So, if possible, try to harvest in the afternoon, if the temperature goes above freezing. When harvesting frozen leaves, the harvested leaves will wilt as soon as they are unfrozen.
Swiss chard is really a nice plant to have in the garden. It is really nutritious and it is a really beautiful plant.
If you want to know how to grow swiss chard, click through to this article.
Leek is also one of the frost tolerant plants to grow in winter.
Leeks can be easily grown from spring to fall. But they can also be grown from July on to live through the winter.
Leeks can be covered and mulched with a thick layer of hay or straw to prevent hard frost and wind killing off the plants.
Leeks will start to die at a temperature of about 12°F or -11°C.
Just as with Swiss chard, don’t pull out the leeks when they are frozen. The plant will wilt as soon as you put it inside.
If you want to know how to grow leeks, read on in this article.
Brussels sprouts aren’t as cold hardy as the plants above but they do survive light frost without a problem. The sprouts will even taste sweeter after a frost.
Brussels sprouts have to be started quite early in the season as they are slow growing. But this shouldn’t be a reason not to grow these magnificent plants.
To make sure they last longer in the winter, it’s possible to put them under a cover or some kind of low tunnel. The plants will appreciate the help and will keep on giving nice brussels sprout through a long part of the winter.
If you want to learn more about brussels sprouts, click this link.
Although many people consider this plant as a garnish plant, it has a lot of benefits. Parsley shouldn’t just be considered a beautiful plant to put on a meal. It can be a big part of a healthy meal. The plant is filled with nutrients.
The plant can withstand temperatures going as deep as 15°F or -9°C. So you can grow parsley almost through the winter. In a greenhouse or hoop house, it will keep on growing without a hesitation.
In our zone 8B, I can grow parsley all year long due to it’s hardiness. I use it in almost every meal and in all my soups. Even my chickens munch on it and love it.
If you want to read more about parsley and you want to learn to grow parsley, go to this article and read on.
cilantro or coriander
You can find a lot of articles on how to grow cilantro indoors in pots. But cilantro can be grown outside for a good period of time during the winter.
The plant can withstand temperatures as low as 15°F or -9.5°C. So it’s very much possible in many zones to grow cilantro through the winter.
I do understand that in low zones, people try to grow cilantro indoors. But for people from a zone higher than 8, the use of lights is a loss of electricity and money.
Growing cilantro is really easy, you can read everything about it in this article.
People tend to start their lettuce early in spring and early in fall. But some lettuce species can withstand really low temperatures.
Look for seeds of winter lettuce. Some of those plants can withstand temperatures as low as -9.5°C or 15°F.
Of course, the lettuce will grow a lot slower later in the fall due to a lack of light. But if you plan it right, you can easily harvest lettuce in the beginning of the winter.
I can easily grow lettuce through the winter in a greenhouse or under row covers, in our zone 8b.
Sugar Snap Peas
Start growing sugar snap peas from November to January. You’ll get a super early harvest in spring.
The plant is really easy to grow and gives an abundance of food. Best of all, you can harvest early in spring when there’s almost no fresh produce around.
I have to mention, there is some work to do before you can grow your peas. The seeds should be started indoors. The cold temperatures will make the sprouting time far too long. This could lead to rot.
When starting the seeds indoors, you have control over the environment. It will take some time to harden off the peas. So, be careful and harden them off slowly.
I personally grow every kind of peas in paper pots. That way I don’t have to mess with the roots. Peas don’t like their roots to be disturbed too much.
Last but not least, let’s talk about parsnips.
Parsnips can go as cold as -18°C or 0°F and still survive.
It’s a pity that not many gardeners grow parsnips. It’s a really tasty vegetable with lots of nutrition and vitamins. The plant is far underrated.
I still have to make an article about growing parsnips. The plant really is worth a spot in your garden.
I know it does take a while before the seeds germinate. And it does matter how old the seeds are but once you can grow a parsnip to seed, you can keep on growing the plants and you can harvest seeds every two years. The plant will easily go through the winter until you want to harvest it.
I should mention that parsnips are biennials, so they only flower in their second year.
The list on frost tolerant vegetables is certainly not ending here. There are many plants that can tolerate lower temperatures. But these are the most common to grow in the garden.
So that is it for this article about frost tolerant vegetables to grow in winter. I hope you’ve found it interesting. If so, please share on social media, with friends, and other gardeners.
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Thanks for reading and see you in the next post.