There are many crops that thrive well in cool weather . In fact, quite a few of them can be grown in winter, including kale.
What’s more, some of these can not only survive in the cold (including snow with proper protection); they turn out to be more flavorful and sweeter!
Cool Season Crops
Below is a list of cool weather vegetables, herbs, and fruits to consider growing.
Harvesting just before the first frost is advisable but with proper protection, they can handle even a hard frost.
Harvest beans before the first frost, even a light one.
Beets grow better under cool, moist conditions. However, they require heavy mulching to withstand even a light frost.
4. Bok Choy
Bok choy is a very hardy plant that can survive low temperatures but protection is needed against the snow.
Broccoli loves the cold, though the mature ones have a better chance of surviving those temperatures than do the younger ones.
6. Brussel Sprouts
Plant Brussel sprouts in fall with sunny days and cool nights. Moreover, it can handle even snow with proper protection.
7. Green Onions
Growth slows in the cold and requires proper protection from the snow. In spring, they wake up and become prolific.
A hardy plant that can handle cool temperatures. It is suitable for fall but is also frost-hardy.
A root veggie that grows well in the cool season. They need around 3-4 months to reach maturity. They even get sweeter in winter.
Cauliflower is another one that can handle low temperatures.
11. Collard Greens
These lovelies are cold-hardy of all vegetables that can withstand winter temperatures. Moreover, they get more flavorful with the cold.
Garlic needs a full year to grow properly. However, it’s best if you plant it in late September to December and harvest the following year.
Covering them before the snow is recommended.
Not only does kale love snow, but it also becomes sweeter.
This one gets sweeter with exposure to frost but will not survive all winter.
You can harvest leeks in freezing temperatures with careful maintenance of the main plant.
It prefers the cold to heat, but it can be damaged by frost. The damage doesn’t make the plant inedible, however.
17. Mustard Green
A hard frost can kill this plant if it’s not properly protected with mulch and row covers to keep the snow off.
Like other herbs, parsley enjoys the cold season. However, it needs proper protection to keep a hard frost from killing it.
Parsnip is another one that gets sweeter with freezing temperatures as the starches in it are converted to sugars.
Celery enjoys cool climates, requiring 16 weeks of cool weather to harvest.
Radishes can handle frost, but not hard freezes.
Does well in the cold weather and likes rich soil. Can withstand light frost but a hard freeze will cause damage to low leaves and petioles.
Fall and Winter Fruits
There are some fruits that love the cold and will produce an abundance during cool weather.
Apples should be planted in late winter/early spring when the ground isn’t frozen anymore. Harvests will come in the fall. There are quite a few varieties, and some will even grow in warm climates.
Plant pear in the cool weather of early spring after the ground has thawed.
Winter is the best time to plant raspberries. They do not like the tropics or the summer heat.
The ever-bearing variety will survive winter, providing a wonderful bounty in the fall.
27. Sweet Cherries
Plant these in late fall. However, avoid planting near tall buildings or trees so they can get ample sunlight.
Surviving Low Temperatures
For plants to survive and thrive in low temperatures, experts recommend they be planted in sunlit areas on a slope with plenty of space between them.
This will allow them to soak up as much sun as they can while they get plenty of good drainage off their roots. Also, putting turf in-between the rows will help slow down, maybe even prevent erosion.
If you don’t have a lot of space and are forced to put the trees close together, prune the inward-facing branches and leave the outward-facing ones.
The inside ones aren’t much use since there will be little room for fruits. Additionally, the fruits on inside branches won’t be able to get much sunlight for ideal growth.
Mulching and Row Covers
Many of the listed veggies are somewhat delicate. Therefore, to help them survive the cold, we recommend that you mulch them heavily. This will help protect the tender roots.
Also, row covers will protect leafy vegetables from coming into direct contact with snow and freezing winds. This will shield them from frost damage as well as from dying by hard freezes.
There are many great winter vegetables and fruits that you can plant and harvest outside the seasons we normally think of as “the growing season”.
With some planning, some mulch, and a wide variety of cold-loving plants, you can have just as bountiful, and beautiful, a garden in the cool season as you can in spring and summer.
Also, planting times all depend on what you’re planting and where you’re planting it. To ensure you’re planting the right crops for your area, check with hardiness zone maps.