Frost-hardy vegetables can withstand frosty temperatures and even a light frost without damage. Many gardeners choose to grow frost-hardy vegetables so they can enjoy fresh, homegrown produce even during the colder months.
Frost Hardy Vegetables Allow You to Maximize the Amount of Food You Grow in a Single Plot
Growing up in the South, we didn’t really have a fall garden, and we didn’t have a winter garden. Most people were so worn out by the long, hot, and humid summer growing season that by the time fall rolled around, they just needed a break.
But now that I’m growing vegetables for an online store and farmstand, I need to squeeze out every bit of productivity from my 1/10 acre market garden plot that I can so I grow year-round.
My garden is as full of food in the fall as in the summer because I grow a wide variety of frost-tolerant vegetables.
We just had a rogue frost this October, 3 weeks earlier than usual. Most other gardens were killed off, but because my garden was already full of frost-hardy vegetables, I hardly noticed the frost at all.
The best cold-tolerant vegetables to grow
If you are ready to try cold-tolerant vegetables in your garden, try any or all of these vegetables during the cool temperatures of the fall and winter seasons. You’ll be rewarded with pounds and pounds of food that’s more delicious and more affordable than anything you’ll find in the grocery store!
Broccoli is a frost-resistant vegetable that thrives in cooler weather, making it a great choice for a fall home garden. It is also packed with nutrients, including vitamins A, C, and K.
Broccoli is a versatile vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked, making it a great addition to any meal. When cooked, broccoli retains most of its nutrients. However, it is important to not overcook broccoli, as this can cause the vegetable to lose its nutritional value.
With its many vitamins and frost resistance, broccoli is a great choice for anyone looking to add more vegetables to their diet.
Broccoli Varieties to Grow
This variety is a mainstay variety of broccoli. It is the heading broccoli that I recommend because it is well-adapted for most gardeners.
Cabbage is a great vegetable to grow in a home garden for several reasons.
First, it is a hardy vegetable that can survive cold weather and even some frost. This means that it can be one of the first vegetables to be planted in the spring, and it will still produce well into the fall.
Second, cabbage is a very versatile vegetable. It can be eaten raw in salads, cooked as a side dish, or even pickled for later use. This makes it a great option for those who want fresh vegetables year-round.
Finally, cabbage is relatively easy to grow. It does not require much care or attention, and it will often do well even in less-than-ideal conditions. One particular benefit of growing cabbage in the fall is that the pests that normally plague cabbage are not as active in the fall. For all these reasons, cabbage is an excellent choice for anyone looking to add some fresh vegetables to their home garden.
Cabbage Varieties to Grow
These cabbages are small, quick-growing lovely heads of 2-pound cabbages. They are perfect for one meal, and can be densely planted in your garden so you get lots of production in a small space.
I’m growing some as we speak and I can’t wait to harvest them. They are perfect for a single person or couple. Even in my family of 4, a regular cabbage is much too big because my daughters don’t like it the way my husband and I do.
Sprouting broccoli is a frost-resistant vegetable that can mature in as quickly as 35 days, which is at least 6 weeks sooner than other regular heading broccoli varieties. The tender stems are full of nutrients, making it a great vegetable to grow in a home garden. Additionally, the frost-resistant nature of broccoli makes it a great choice for gardeners in colder climates. Because it matures so quickly, sprouting broccoli is also a great choice for gardeners who want to plant in late summer and start harvesting their fall crop as soon as possible. Sprouting broccoli also sends out several side shoots along with the main stalk. I’ve gotten as many as 5 or 6 harvests off a single sprouting broccoli plant!
Sprouting Broccoli Varieties to Grow
Kale is a great vegetable to grow in a home garden because it matures quickly and produces all fall and winter. It is extremely cold-tolerant and can survive all winter with a bit of protection. It truly is one of the hardiest vegetables to grow.
Kale is highly nutritious and high in fiber. The leaves are dark green and textured, and the flavor is slightly bitter. Kale can be eaten raw or cooked, and is often used in soups and salads. Kale is a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium, iron, and potassium. Growing kale in your home garden is a great way to get fresh, healthy vegetables all year round.
Picking kale at different maturity levels allows you to use it in different types of dishes. Early tender leaves can be used as fall and winter replacement for lettuce in salads, and if harvested later they can be sauteed and braised as a side dish. Another benefit of kale is its unmatched productivity. A single kale plant can produce pounds and pounds of food for your family.
Kale Varieties to Grow
I find that slugs seem to avoid this particular cultivar, possibly because the edges are not regular and the slugs have difficulty grabbing the leaf. Regardless of why, in my experience of several years growing it, Red Russian kale is the one to grow if you have a lot of slugs around.
Blue Curled Scotch Kale This variety is fabulous for kale chips!
Scarlet Kale This variety is my favorite to harvest early in my daily kale chopped salad. It is very flavorful and tender for this use, and is quite delicious.
Chinese cabbage is a hardy cabbage that can be grown in cool weather. It is easy to grow and produces a savoyed leaf that is quite tender with a mild flavor. Chinese cabbage can be harvested in as little as 30 days, making it a great option for gardeners who want to get a quick crop. The hardiness of this cabbage means that it can withstand frost and still produce a good harvest. So, if you’re looking for a cabbage that is easy to grow and produces a tasty leaf, then Chinese cabbage is a great option for you.
Chinese Cabbage Varieties to Grow
Turnips are a great vegetable to grow in a fall/winter home garden for a few reasons. First, they are vegetables that survive winter, so you can plant them in the fall and enjoy them through the colder months. Second, turnips can be eaten raw in salads, or roasted. They are especially versatile because you can stir-fry the green tops or eat them in a salad. Finally, turnips are relatively easy to grow and don’t require much care. With just a little effort, you can enjoy fresh turnips all season long.
Turnips to Grow
Hakurei turnips are the single variety that I recommend. They are a salad turnip that can also be sauteed. They are mild in flavor and delicious.
Parsnips are a hardy root vegetable easily grown in a home garden. They love cool weather and get sweeter as the temperatures dip below freezing. Parsnips are also packed with nutrients, making them a great addition to any diet. In addition, they are relatively low maintenance, requiring only regular watering and occasional weeding. For these reasons, parsnips are an excellent choice for anyone looking to add some variety to their home garden.
Parsnips Varieties to Grow
Arugula is a cold hardy leafy green vegetable native to the Mediterranean region and southern Europe. It has been cultivated and gardened for centuries in Britain. Wild varieties can also be found across southern Europe. It is particularly popular in German and Italian culture. Arugula just gained popularity in America over the past few decades.
Arugula plants prefer cooler, damp weather and can survive a light frost. Heat creates a strong and bitter flavor in the leaf. The leaves can be harvested six weeks after planting. Any leaves left on the plant after it flowers will likely be bitter. The flowers tend to be white to yellow. The leaves have purple “veins.”
Arugula is a nutritious leafy green vegetable high in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as antioxidants. It has a peppery flavor popular in salads, sandwiches, and pizzas. Try adding some arugula to your next meal for a flavorful boost of nutrition!
Arugula Varieties to Grow
Collard greens are a leafy green vegetable in the same family as cabbage and kale. They are cold hardy, meaning they can withstand cold temperatures better than other vegetables.
Collard greens have been grown for over 2000 years, dating back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. Today, collard greens are still enjoyed all over the world and are even the state vegetable of South Carolina.
Collard greens are most commonly eaten in the winter months when they peak in flavor and nutrition, so they are a natural pick for winter gardening.
When stored properly, collard greens can stay fresh for up to five days. Some health benefits associated with collard greens include cancer prevention, detox support, anti-inflammatory properties, heart health, and digestive support. If you’re looking for a nutrient-rich vegetable to add to your garden, collard greens are a great option.
Collard Varieties to Grow
Winter gardening can be a great way to get fresh, healthy produce even when the weather outside is cold and snowy. Another type of winter green particularly well-suited to winter gardening is mustard greens.
Mustard greens are a cruciferous vegetable related to kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower.
Studies have shown that mustard greens are powerful cancer fighters thanks to glucosinolate, a plant chemical with anti-cancer properties.
Mustard greens are also associated with lower cholesterol, healthy skin and hair, and boosted immunity. Thanks to their high levels of vitamins K and C. So if you’re looking for a winter green to add to your garden, consider mustard greens.
Mustard Varieties to Grow
Japanese Giant Red Mustard
Lettuce is a crop that does well in the winter, and many people don’t realize it is one of the cold hardy vegetables. Lettuce can thrive throughout the fall into the winter in many zones. Lettuce is also a popular crop whose prices continually rise in grocery stores. Therefore, it’s a good idea to grow lettuce in your home garden to reap the benefits of inexpensive, delicious greens.
Lettuce Varieties to Grow
Green Forest romaine lettuce is a wonderful variety that is a great year-round lettuce to grow if you want to settle on growing just one variety. It holds up well in cold weather and especially well in the hot and humid summer.
If you are looking for a lettuce variety that does extremely well in cold winters, the Landis Winter Lettuce is the one for you. This lettuce survived the Polar Vortex in 2013/2014. Butterhead lettuce with large but tender leaves.
Carrots are a cool-weather crop that can be grown in most home gardens relatively easily. They are frost tolerant and can even be grown under snow, making them an ideal winter crop.
Carrots also have several health benefits, including being a good source of fiber and vitamins A and C. Carrots can be stored for long periods without losing their flavor or nutritional value, making them a great addition to your winter pantry. When choosing carrots for your garden, look for varieties that are suited to cooler weather and that have been bred for storage. With a little bit of care, you can enjoy fresh carrots all winter long.
Carrot Varieties to Grow
Napoli carrots are perfect for overwintering. The starches in the carrots turn to sugar, acting as antifreeze in the plant.
Atlas carrots are a Parisienne carrot variety that is perfect for growing in shallow or heavy soils. They are small, round, and sweeter than other types of carrots. We love to roast these at our house.
Peas are a cool-weather crop that can actually take a light frost.
They’re a delicious addition to your fall garden with very little effort. You don’t have to fertilize peas because they fix nitrogen from the air and put it in the soil.
Peas love cooler weather and will germinate quickly in cooler soil temperatures. For a fall crop of peas, sow peas in late July or early August. Peas require full sun and well-drained, fertile soil.
Since they’re a climbing vegetable, they need something to climb on like a fence, trellis, or netting.
Use fresh pea tendrils in salads for a special treat while you wait for the peas to grow big enough to pick!
Harvest peas when the pods are full but before they turn yellow. You can also eat snow peas when the peas are still immature and the pod is flat.
To store peas, keep them in the fridge in a perforated plastic bag for up to a week. Frozen peas will last 8-10 months.
Pea Varieties to Grow
Favorite all-around pea, hands down. Prolific yields, large pods stay stringless for a long time on the vine.
A gorgeous fancy-looking pea that grows tons and tons of long tendrils that can be harvested and eaten on salads. These are a show-stopper in the garden, and I highly recommend them.
Beets are a cool weather crop that is easy to grow. They can be roasted with other root vegetables, eaten raw, or pickled. Beets need full sun and well-drained soil.
Beets can be harvested when they are two to three inches in diameter.
To roast beets, wash them and wrap them in foil. Roast at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Let them cool and then slip the skins off. Eat them plain or with your favorite dressing. To eat them raw, simply wash, peel, and slice.
Grate them into salads or eat them as is with a dip. To pickle beets, wash and peel them. Cut them into thin slices or cubes. Place in a jar with vinegar, water, salt, and sugar. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours before eating. Enjoy your fresh beets!
Beet Varieties to Grow
Swiss chard is one of the hardiest vegetables to grow. It can be easily grown in cool weather and does not require much maintenance.
Swiss chard is a versatile vegetable used in soups, salads, and stir-fries. It is also a good source of vitamins A, C, and K. Swiss chard is relatively easy to grow.
It can be grown from seed or transplanted from an existing plant. Swiss chard prefers full sun but will tolerate partial shade. The soil should be well-drained and rich in organic matter.
Swiss chard can be harvested as early as six weeks after planting. The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. Swiss chard plants will continue to produce new leaves throughout the growing season.
When the leaves are harvested, the plants should be cut back to about four inches above the ground. This will encourage new growth.
Swiss chard is a hardy vegetable that can be easily grown in cool weather. It is versatile and nutritious, making it a valuable addition to any garden.
Swiss Chard Varieties to Grow
Beautiful multi-colored stalks of swiss chard are prolific, delicious, and beautiful in the garden.
Fennel is not the most popular vegetable out there, but it IS unique and is rather expensive if you have to buy it at the grocery store, so it’s a good idea to have some fennel growing if you need it.
Fennel loves to mature in cool weather and can take a light frost, so it’s ideal for a late summer/early fall garden.
Fennel Varieties to Grow
This variety yields the big bulb you’re used to seeing in your grocery store, and it’s open-pollinated, which means you can save seeds for next year. If you let a bulb or two bolt and go to flower and seed, fennel does a great job of self-seeding.
A vigorous, high-yielding hybrid variety with massive bulbs that is perfect for late summer to fall harvesting.
Frost-hardy vegetables are a great addition to any garden. They are easy to grow and can withstand colder temperatures than most other vegetables. Some of the best frost-hardy vegetables to grow include beets, Swiss chard, and Brussels sprouts. These vegetables are versatile and packed with nutrients. So get out there and start growing your own frost-hardy vegetables today!