Don’t let the chill in the air dampen your gardening spirit! Cold weather doesn’t mean the end of your harvest. There are plenty of crops that thrive in cooler temperatures and can add fresh flavors to your winter meals. Here are 25 cold-weather crops that you can plant to keep your garden productive and your kitchen stocked even as the mercury drops.
Kale is a powerhouse of nutrition and one of the hardiest cold-weather crops. It can withstand frost, which actually enhances its flavor, making it sweeter. Plant kale in early fall; you can enjoy its leaves throughout the winter. Remember, the more you harvest, the more it grows!
2. Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are perfect for winter gardens. They take their time to mature, but the wait is worth it. These little sprouts actually taste better after a few frosts. They’re great for roasting and can be harvested well into the winter months.
Carrots planted in late summer or early fall can survive the winter. As they mature in the cooler weather, they become sweeter. Make sure to mulch heavily to protect them from the harshest temperatures.
Parsnips are another root vegetable that sweetens with frost. Sow them in the late spring; they’ll be ready to harvest after the first frosts of winter. They’re perfect for stews and soups, adding a warm, earthy flavor.
Spinach is incredibly frost-resistant. Plant it in the fall, and you’ll find it can survive through winter under a blanket of snow. Come spring, it’s one of the first plants to pop back up. Fresh spinach leaves are great for salads and cooking.
6. Swiss chard
Swiss chard can tolerate cold weather and even light frosts. Its vibrant leaves can add color to your garden and your plate. You can harvest the outer leaves throughout the winter, and the plant will continue to grow.
Collards are tough and can handle frosty conditions. They have a flavor similar to kale but are a bit heartier. Collards can be harvested throughout the winter months, and like many cold weather crops, a touch of frost makes them taste even better.
Broccoli loves cooler temperatures. Plant it in late summer for a fall harvest, or in early fall for a late winter or early spring crop. It’s a versatile vegetable that can be used in a variety of dishes.
Leeks are perfect for winter gardens. They require a long growing season, so plant them in the spring and harvest in late fall or winter. They’re frost-tolerant and become sweeter after a good chill.
Radishes are quick growers, perfect for late fall planting. They can survive frosts, and mulching can help them last through the winter. Enjoy their crunchy, peppery flavor in salads and dishes.
Garlic is planted in the fall and harvested in the summer. It’s one of the easiest crops to grow over winter. Garlic needs a period of cold to develop bulbs, making it ideal for cold climates.
12. Mustard Greens
Mustard greens are cold-tolerant and fast-growing. Plant them in late summer or early fall. They add a spicy kick to salads and are great cooked as well.
Cabbage thrives in cooler weather and can be stored for months after harvesting. Plant in late summer for a late fall or winter harvest. It’s versatile in the kitchen, perfect for slaws, stews, and fermenting into sauerkraut.
Turnips are great for both their roots and greens. Plant in late summer for a fall harvest or early fall for a winter crop. They can be roasted, mashed, or added to stews.
Beets can survive winter temperatures and snow. Sow them in late summer for a fall harvest or early fall for a winter crop. Their sweet, earthy flavor is perfect for roasting or adding to salads.
Rutabagas are a hardy root vegetable similar to turnips but with a sweeter taste. They grow well in cold climates and can be harvested throughout the winter. Rutabagas are excellent in soups, stews, or roasted.
17. Winter Squash
Winter squash, including varieties like butternut and acorn squash, can be grown in late summer for a fall harvest. They store well and can be used throughout the winter, offering sweet, hearty flesh for a variety of dishes.
Arugula, a peppery salad green, is surprisingly frost-resistant. It grows quickly in the cool weather of late fall and can often survive mild winters. It’s perfect for adding a fresh, spicy flavor to winter salads.
Endive is a leafy green that thrives in cooler temperatures. Plant in late summer for a fall harvest. It’s excellent in salads, adding a crisp, slightly bitter flavor.
20. Mache (Corn Salad)
Mache, also known as corn salad or lamb’s lettuce, is a winter salad green that prefers cool, damp conditions. It has a mild, nutty flavor and can often be harvested throughout the winter.
Horseradish is a hardy perennial that can be harvested in late fall and through the winter. It grows well in cold climates and adds a spicy kick to dishes.
Parsley, while often used as a garnish, is a robust herb that can survive cold temperatures. Plant it in the late summer, and it will continue to produce leaves through the winter.
23. Asian Greens
Asian greens, such as bok choy and tatsoi, are quick-growing and cold-tolerant. They can be planted in late summer or early fall and harvested throughout the winter for use in stir-fries and salads.
24. Winter Rye
Winter rye is not just a cover crop; its young, tender leaves can be harvested for salads. It’s extremely cold-hardy and can provide fresh greens even in the snow.
Sorrel is a perennial herb with a lemony flavor. It’s frost-tolerant and can be harvested in late fall and early winter. It’s great in soups and salads for a citrusy tang.
Becky is a wildlife enthusiast and pet and livestock care expert with a diploma in canine nutrition. With over a decade of experience in animal welfare, Becky lends her expertise to Simple Family Preparedness through insightful info about pets, livestock, bee keeping, and the practicalities of homesteading.