Spring and summer may feel like they are the best planting seasons for vegetables, but the winter garden can also provide some wonderful winter vegetables. Growing winter vegetables takes a bit of practice and timing, but the results are very rewarding.
Your winter vegetable garden can provide healthy alternatives to store-bought food well into the winter months.
The trick to creating a good winter garden is choosing the right plants. Many vegetables like broad beans, broccoli, broad beans and some varieties of lettuce grow quite well in the winter garden.
Understanding when to plant these vegetables will make your gardening efforts much easier. You can begin by visiting your local nursery to choose seeds or seedlings for your winter vegetable garden.
Some of the easiest plants to grow include broccoli and purple sprouting broccoli. Since broccoli appreciates a bit of cold weather, it is an optimal plant for a late season garden.
- Plant your broccoli in raised beds toward the end of the month of August.
- Broccoli requires plenty of water and does attract pests, so monitor the plants closely.
- You can then harvest the broccoli generally until mid-December.
- Sometimes, late plantings of broccoli can last straight through the month of December.
Brussel Sprouts and Beans
Brussel sprouts and beans are also excellent choices for that late summer planting. Both plants should be in the ground by the end of August and will provide vegetables through the winter season until December ends. January and February are generally the coldest months in most climates, so expect the freeze to end your harvest season.
Garlic, Rutabaga and Leeks
Garlic, rutabaga and leeks are also wonderful winter plants. Planting in the fall will allow you to harvest for at least several of the winter months. Leeks and rutabaga are known for their cold-resistance and both store really well.
Cornsalad or lamb’s lettuce and endive are two lettuce varieties that retain their growth through the colder weather. If you spend some time mulching your lettuce, the internal leaves can be harvested through November and into December.
Onions and Kale
Onions and kale are some of the most hardy of the cold-weather vegetables. Onions can actually stay in the ground throughout the entire winter. They do very well under snow cover and can be harvested until late in the winter months. Kale survives above ground in most cold places.
Kale, except for the blue variety which yellows during the winter, is also excellent ground cover during the spring. Both kale and onions survive the winter better than almost any other vegetables. Beets, turnips and Swiss chard will also do well in a cold climate.
Since most root vegetables are able to survive a frost, check with your garden center for the once that are best for your soil.