Q&A: Lettuce in the Winter?

Follow this tip to grow green vegetables during winter.

Q: It's mid November, USDA Zone 4, and I'm growing lettuce and other greens in my well-insulated cold frame. How long can this last? Can I add a light bulb, a string of Christmas lights or other heating device and continue to grow greens through a Minnesota winter?

A: Depending on how well insulated your cold frame is, the microclimate of its location, and on the weather, you should be able to keep cold-tolerant greens growing for quite a while into the cold weather. Some may slow down almost completely and then start growing again in very early spring.

You are right in thinking that a simple heat source such as a light bulb can extend the season significantly. I would caution you that whatever you use should be of good quality and made for long-term operation so that it's as safe as possible; there are in fact heating cables made for such a purpose. In the old days gardeners would build a cold frame over what was essentially a hot manure pile and capture the heat from that. These days we have more options!

Next Up

Cool Veggies for Cool Weather

Growing attractive edibles right into, and even through, the winter.

Ways to Extend Your Harvest This Winter

Get the most out of your garden this winter with these simple tips.

Q&A: Overwintering Bananas

Tips for growing banana plants in cold weather.

Winter Vegetable Garden

Discover easy ways to keep your winter vegetable garden growing strong—and savor a long harvest.

Year-Round Gardener and Creative Genius: Niki Jabbour

See how this seasoned gardener grows fresh produce all year long.

Growing Winter Vegetables

Save money and grow food even when it's cold outside by growing your own fresh crop of winter veggies.

Winter Vegetable Garden Growing Guide

With a few steps and some planning, you can enjoy garden fresh vegetables all winter.

Ornamental Edibles: Winter Veggies Pack a Pretty Punch

The great thing about winter veggies is the wide variety of texture they offer.

The Cold, Hard Facts on Protecting Potted Plants

Get tips for helping your potted plants survive winter.

Plant a Winter Window Box

A window box planted with hardy flowers and foliage offers a garden view when it's too cold to stay outside.

On TV

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.