You guys all know me; I love planning ahead! It’s only October but I’ve already started planning (and planting!) my winter vegetable garden. I live in Utah, and we are known for our cold,crazy, snowy winters. If you are interested in getting your winter grow on, here are a few cold hardy crops, based on grow zone.
#1 Carrots: Carrots actually do well throughout the winter in almost ANY grow zone. Green carrot tops can withstand temperatures up to 18 degrees farenheit, and the actual root of the carrot can withstand temps much colder than that. However, if you live in grow zones 5 and up, make sure you mulch your carrots before the first frost. The mulch acts like an insulation!
#2 Leeks: If you reside in grow zones 7 and above, you can harvest leeks all winter long! But really, you could harvest them almost anywhere. Leeks can tolerate temps of 0 degrees. It is important that you choose the dark, green leafy varieties (such as Bandit and Bleu de Solaise) because they are known to tolerate the frigid temperatures even better.
#3 Spinach: If you live in an area higher than grow zone 6, you will need to cover your plants to offer them protection against winter’s worst. I like to use cold frames to keep my spinach edible and delicious.
#4 Lettuce: Do you love salads, but spinach isn’t quite your cup of tea? Grow lettuce this winter to get your source of fresh veggies. When grown in a cold frame, lettuce plants can tolerate temperatures of 10 degrees fahrenheit. Grow this plant in any grow zone, just as long as it is protected.
#5 Collard Greens: Plant the Blue Max variety in any grow zone, and watch it thrive throughout the winter. If you are expecting temperatures below 0 degrees, you’d better cover your plants, or run the risk of losing your harvest. With Collard Greens, you’ll have veggies all winter long!
#6 Swiss Chard: Swiss Chard is just as tolerant to chilly temperatures as Collard Greens are. This is another plant that can survive in temperatures below 0 degrees. If you live in grow zones 7 and above, it is best that you grow your chard in a cold frame.
#7 Turnips: Turnips are incredibly cold hardy, but they actually don’t tolerate freezing temperatures all too well. If you live in grow zones 9 through 10, Turnips can be planted and harvest all winter long without the help of a cold frame. Elsewhere, it’s best you use a cold frame, or mulch your turnips heavily.
#8 Cabbage: Cabbage only does well when planted in late Summer…it needs plenty of time to mature. But did you know that cabbage seeds can germinate in temperatures as low as 40 degrees fahrenheit. Grow in zones 5 and above.
#9 Parsnips: Parsnips take a long time to mature, but if you plan ahead for next year, you can have sweet parsnips on your dinner table! In grow zone 6 (and above) Parsnips need to be planted no later than the first of May. These babies take as long as 130 days to fully mature, but can tolerate temps of 0 degrees. Protect your Parsnips if necessary.
#10 Mache: You can grow the delicious salad green, Mache, unprotected throughout the winter in grow zones 6 and higher. These seeds do best when sown in the cold, and don’t have much success when planted in a Summer garden!