Cold-Hardy Winter Veggies to Grow

Don't limit your vegetable garden to the summer and fall. Grow cold-hardy winter vegetables that have proven they can take the cold.



Cabbage is a very cold-hardy vegetable.

Cabbage is a very cold-hardy vegetable.

This year, keep your gardening growing even after temperatures drop. There are many vegetables that will grow well in a winter vegetable garden. In many areas these plants can grow with minimal protection, but for the best chances of success, make arrangements to cover them in the most adverse weather. 

These rugged veggies will reward you with a healthful harvest to help ward off cold and flu and the winter blues:

  1. Arugula is at its best in cold weather.  If you have tried growing this popular salad green in warm weather and have been disappointed in the too-strong flavor, try again in winter.
  2. Broccoli will continue to produce side shoot florets once the main head is harvested. Well-established plants can produce these shoots throughout much of the winter.
  3. Brussels sprouts are the most cold-hardy of the cabbage family. They take a long time to mature, so plant early.
  4. Cabbage is very hardy, but heads will develop very slowly in the cold. Get an early fall start and stagger the plantings every two weeks to enjoy fresh cabbage most of the winter.
  5. Endive and radicchio are members of the chicory family and make wonderful additions to winter salads. They can also be cooked.
  6. Garlic planted in fall will grow “scallions”—known as scapes—that can be harvested lightly. Use them in the same recipes you would use garlic cloves or onion scallions.
  7. Kale, collards and mustard make delicious additions to winter soups and stews. As with the other greens, they also taste great in salads when the leaves are young and tender. They are contenders with spinach as the healthiest of all “greens.”
  8. Spinach is Popeye’s favorite for good reason. There are approximately 12 million ways to enjoy spinach raw, cooked or somewhere in-between.
  9. Swiss chard is in the same family as beets, but the greens have a milder flavor. It is often cooked,  but young leaves are good in salads as well.
  10. Turnips and rutabagas round out the flavor of winter soups and stews. They also taste great roasted in a root vegetable blend with carrots, parsnips, potatoes, onions and beets.

Bonus recommendation: Parsley is an herb to consider for the winter garden. The foliage of curled leaf parsley is hardier than flat leaf. In the kitchen, parsley mixes well with other veggies as well as meat and fish. It can be a garnish or partner of the main ingredient—think spinach parsley pesto.

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