Winter gardening can be trickier, but it doesn't mean you have to stop planting your favorite crops in winter. If you love eating homegrown crops, there is no need to stop during the cooler season. Several winter crops thrive in cold conditions and handle frost on their own, while some need winter protection. However, you should follow the growing instructions and check each crop's requirements. Each plant has its own unique needs for water and sunlight.
Most winter vegetables like turnips and cabbages are sown in August and September when good light levels and warm soil ensure good germination. Some crops, such as Brussels sprouts, are planted in spring. Leafy crops, including parsley, rocket, and chard, are sown in late summer to autumn.
This blog shares 10 easy to grow winter crops that will yield delicious, ripe produce in chilly weather. These are some of the easiest and fastest-growing crops that will keep your garden blooming throughout winter.
Kale is super nutritious and a trendy, hardy crop that can grow in various temperatures. You can sow kale anytime in late summer and early fall. Kale is a leafy crop that flourishes in the cold and gets sweeter after being hit by 1-2 frosts. It is easy to grow and can continuously harvest at different stages.
The flowers and buds of this winter crop are also edible. Try kale steamed, baked, or stir-fried. Also, you can enjoy it in omelets, salads, smoothies, or wherever you use spinach. Its well-tended plant can live for six months or longer and then overwinter.
Garlic is one of the super-easy crops to grow in winter, requiring little to no effort. It is generally planted in the fall and harvested in mid-summer, requiring winter cold to properly develop a complete bulb. However, you should cover it with lots of mulch to protect it from extreme winter weather and against weeds.
Garlic is a kitchen staple that can be sowed in both spring and fall. Moreover, this winter crop suits all sizes of gardens and is simple to look after.
Another easy-to-grow and delicious leafy winter vegetable that you can consider adding to your garden is cabbage. Cabbage comes in multiple varieties. Its overwintering varieties are sowed in July and August. Both savoy and red-leaf cabbages are hardy. If you notice that cabbage growth is slowing down during chilly weather, watering the plant, and adding compost will spruce up its growth.
Broccoli is an excellent vegetable for winter because it can survive temperatures as low as 28°F. No cheesy soup or winter roast is complete without broccoli. You should plant it in the late summer season to get an early winter crop.
Broccoli is a brassica vegetable that bolts in scorching weather, which means the vegetable crop will produce seeds, reducing the harvest. However, if winters in your area are mild, you should plant broccoli in the fall to harvest in the winter.
Beets are another cold-tolerant crop that can handle temperatures as low as 10°F. They should be sowed at least 8-10 weeks before the expected first frost. In temperate climate areas, you can leave beets in the ground; however, in extreme cold, you'd need to mulch the soil to protect the roots.
You can harvest when baby greens mature into delicious roots. Also, their leaves can be used like spinach, so you'll get two harvests from one winter crop.
Turnips are fantastic winter crops that can be added to stews, soups, and Sunday roasts too. Like their cabbage and broccoli cousins, turnips can survive temperatures in the mid-20s without frost protection. However, the top purple varieties of turnips are the most cold-tolerant.
Additionally, Japanese salad turnips are the fresh-eating choice for temperate winters. You should sow turnips in August for winter crops and harvest when needed or when the turnip is around the golf ball size. Mulch is excellent for insulating its roots through the cold.
As one of the easy-to-grow and cold-hardy winter crops, radishes tolerate temperatures down to 20°F. Radishes thrive in full sun and slowly in shady areas. It is best to sow the crop in late summer and harvest before rugged forest when they're 3 to 4 in diameter.
In mild climates, radish is a great winter vegetable to plant in fall, but the vegetable can still thrive through frost spells. One of the best reasons radishes are easy to grow crops is that they do not struggle with pests and are frost tolerant. Also, they prefer spring or fall weather to grow.
Like radishes, carrots are the easiest-to-grow crop in the winter garden. As the temperature gets colder, carrots improve in flavor and become extremely sweet. The best time to plant carrots is mid-summer for winter harvesting, followed by deep mulching in November using a layer of shredded leaves or straw.
Sow carrots seed evenly into raked soil in rows. To make sure carrots survive during exceedingly cold weather, cover the insulating layer with a row cover or bed sheet. Remove the cover and mulch when it's time to harvest the crop.
Delicious, versatile, and generous yielders, broad beans are also one of the easy-to-grow winter crops. They stand extremely well in winter and grow healthy throughout the colder season.
Broad beans should be planted in the autumn. You need to sow the seeds 2-3 inches apart and 1 inch deep in trays or in pots. Make sure to protect its young plant from frost. Early spring is the best time to harvest this winter crop when its pods become fat.
Lettuce is one of the best easy-to-grow crops that can brave the cold. You can sow lettuce in the ground, pot, or windowsill though it grows well in a pot or container. All varieties of lettuce are easy to grow and quick to grow. You can harvest leaves within six weeks.
Another great thing about this leafy crop is that you can grow it all year in spring, summer and indoors in winter. With a good layer of mulch, the hardy varieties of lettuce can flourish even amongst winter snow and winds. Not only will you enjoy a fresh-picked salad from your garden, but you can give your winter garden a beautiful, refreshing look.
The Bottom Line
Blooming gardens are as important in the chilly season as it is during summer. You can make your garden refreshingly beautiful and colorful during winter by planting these easy-to-grow winter crops. Now you know which vegetables are cold-tolerant, the next step is getting them into your garden. You can grow all these winter crops in the small garden. Whether you want to start with seed or transplant, you shouldn't just put your gardening plans on hold this winter. These 10 winter crops will surely fit your garden plans this season.