Best Vegetables To Grow in the Winter
If the thought of giving up gardening during the winter is more chilling than the weather, we are here for you. With the right care and planning, you can enjoy gardening with cold-hardy vegetables throughout winter. Keep reading to learn how to grow vegetables in the winter, which veggies to grow and which other plants can tolerate the cold.
How To Grow Vegetables in the Winter
Successful winter gardens are the product of three elements - planning, timing and overall attentiveness. If you’ve decided you want to plant winter garden vegetables you’ll need to start planning in mid to late summer. There are quite a few cold-tolerant vegetables, so do some research and create a list of your picks. Some winter veggies will need to be started indoors and then transplanted, while others can be planted directly in the soil. Pay special attention to each vegetable’s requirements when you do your research so you can start growing seedlings at the right time.
Clean & Prep Soil
Once your summer harvest has finally wound down, you’ll need to prepare the garden bed for winter. This will include cleaning out dead plants and tilling the soil. Finally, we recommend adding organic matter or compost to your soil well before you start planting. This will ensure your soil has plenty of nutrients available during the colder months.
You will need to decide how you are going to insulate the winter vegetable garden. Setting up a shelter is a great way to protect your veggies from freezing temperatures. One option is to build a shelter such as a mini tunnel, quick cloche or straw bale cold frame. Another option is to cover your garden bed with mulch and a gardening row cover. If you have a container garden, you will need to insulate it as well, and you can use any of the methods already mentioned. Whatever you choose, be sure to have the materials ready and installed before the first frost.
Time it Right
As far as timing, you’ll need to pay attention to your area’s weather patterns. You will need to be sure that all of the winter veggies are planted before the first frost, especially if you are starting any plants indoors. This is a crucial step, as some plants may die if they aren’t given enough time to get established before the frost.
Once you have all your winter veggies planted and ready for the cold weather, most of the hard work is done! Many claim that winter gardening is easier because it requires less maintenance. While this is true, it can be misleading, as you’ll still need to be attentive and observant for a healthy winter garden. Winter gardens require much less water because of the excess moisture in the air. However, if you experience a warm spell, you’ll want to check in and water any dry areas. If you live somewhere with a long cold season, try thoroughly watering your garden before winter to ensure the garden has enough moisture to last through the cold months. If your winter happens to be unseasonably warm, you’ll need to adjust your strategy, as an overheated garden invites trouble, like worms for example.
Lastly, harvest your winter veggies as soon as they are ready. Leaving them unattended for too long can deplete the flavor and lower the quality. For a lot of winter vegetables, you can tell they are ready just by looking at them, but be sure to do your research if you are unsure.
Best Winter Garden Vegetables
You will need to choose cold-tolerant vegetables for your winter garden. There are many to select from, but the following are our favorites:
Other Outdoor Winter Plants To Consider
If a winter vegetable garden just isn’t enough, the good news is there are plenty of flowers and herbs that can also withstand the colder months. Check out our favorite winter flowers and herbs for a robust winter garden.
- English primrose
- Algerian iris