Vegetable in a winter garden

14 Vegetables to Grow in a Winter Garden Even If You have Snow

Here are 14 of the best vegetables to grow in a winter garden. Some can take light frosts, some hard frosts, but all of these can withstand cold temperatures and overwinter with the right care. These vegetable will reap a harvest all winter long.

Planting vegetables to grow in a winter garden yields a fresh harvest when usually there would not be one. Similar to growing heat loving vegetables in the summer, winter gardening all comes down to knowing what cold hardy, winter vegetables to plant and how to care for them.

I will not go into the cutoff dates, using a row cover, tunnels, first frosts and hard frosts in this article, but you can read about how to plant a winter vegetable garden here.

I’m not sure about you, but once the summer garden, apple, and high bush cranberry harvests are finished, it doesn’t take long before I’m craving something fresh. Cold-weather vegetables help to satisfy that craving long after the other vegetables have succumbed to the dropping temperature.

Vegetables to grow in a winter garden

What are the best vegetables to grow in a winter garden?

Proper selection is key when cultivating vegetables in a winter garden. You want plants that can handle the cold temperatures. In fact, some are even better in cold temperatures than when picked in the summer, such as kale and carrots.

You want to stick with cold hardy greens and root veggies.

Here is a list of some of the best vegetables to plant in a winter garden:

1. Kale

Kale is a very hardy plant. Not only does it withstand cold temperatures when growing, but it also withstands cooking temperatures. When most greens go limp when cooked, Kale keeps more of its shape and texture. This makes it great for making kale chips or adding texture to soups.

Sow at least 50 days before the 10 hour per day cut off.

You can buy seeds here: Dwarf Siberian Kale or Winter Blend Kale

2. Beets

5 beets laying on a cutting board

There are many things that can be done with beets. Roasted, sautéed, pickled, you only have to choose the method. Even the greens can be put in salads or sautéed as a side dish. By harvesting only the smaller leaves, you can enjoy the greens while the root is still developing.

Sow at least 55 days before cutoff, longer if you want a larger root.

You can buy seeds here: Kestrel Beet or Early Wonder Beet

3. Claytonia (Miners Lettuce)

claytonia flowers with a green background

Claytonia has beautiful pink-striped flowers. The leaves, with the texture similar to purslane, are rich in vitamins and can be eaten raw or cooked. You can also harvest the roots and prepare them like potatoes.

Sow at least 50 days before cutoff.

You can buy seeds here: Claytonia

4. Mache

Claytonia Miner’s lettuce in a bunch

Sometimes called corn salad, mache can withstand down to 5°F. People usually enjoy mache in fresh salads because fresh is the typical way to savor it. However, you can also enjoy it warm and wilted as a side or as a wilted salad.

Sow at least 50 days before cutoff.

You can buy seeds here: Mache

5. Swiss chard

Swiss chard can be used fresh or cooked, serving as a side dish on its own, in casseroles, or in soups. When harvesting, focus on the smaller leaves, as the larger they become, the tougher and stronger the taste of the leaves. Some people don’t mind that, so pick your preference.

Sow at least 50 days before cutoff.

You can buy seeds here: Swiss chard

6. Mesclun Salad Mix

Mesclun salad mix on a plate

This is a mix of arugula, leafy lettuces, mustard greens, endive, mizuna and kale. The mix may vary slightly between seed blends, but you get the main idea. Even though I have included many of these in the list, I include this here so if you are buying seeds, you know what you are getting. This is a great alternative to buying seeds packets of each one individually.

Sow at least 30 days before cutoff.

You can buy seeds here: Mesclun Salad Mix

7. Carrots

Carrots stay fresh in the ground. That is actually the best way to keep them long term. Although they last a long time in the fridge, in the ground is even better.

Sow at least 42 days before cutoff.

You can buy seeds here: Sprint carrot or Napoli carrot

8. Turnips

Turnips are a great choice for winter growing. You can eat not only the root, which is what we call the turnip, but also the greens. The greens are very nutritious. You can add them to salads or enjoy them cooked.

Sow at least 40 days before the cutoff, but earlier if you want large turnips.

You can buy seeds here: Turnips

9. Radishes

As with turnips, you can eat the entire radish plant. While the radish greens can be consumed raw, they are much more pleasant when cooked due to their texture when raw.

Sow at least 25 days before cutoff, longer for a larger radish.

You can buy seeds here: Radishes

10. Pak Choi

Pak Choi is a member of the cabbage family. It can be eaten raw or cooked. We like it cut in half, sprinkled with olive oil, garlic powder, and chili powder and roasted in the oven.

Sow at least 55 days before cutoff.

You can buy seeds here: Pak Choi

11. Arugula

With a slight peppery taste, arugula is a great addition of freshness to any dish. Use in salad or as a garnish on an entrée. Harvest the outer leaves as needed.

Sow at least 35 days before cutoff.

You can buy seeds here: Arugula

12. Endive

Endive comes in different varieties. Eaten raw or cooked, it becomes more mild when it is cooked. So even though you may not enjoy the bitter taste when raw, try it cooked before you right it off altogether.

Sow at least 65 days before cutoff.

You can buy seeds here: Endive

13. Spinach

We all have a sense of how nutritious spinach is growing up with the Popeye cartoons and that magic can of spinach. Although the effect of eating spinach is not that speedy, it is still super packed with nutrients. Enjoyed fresh or cooked, there are many ways to get the goodness from spinach.

Sow at least 40 days before the cutoff.

You can buy seeds here: Spinach

14. Green Onions

Using just the green tops or digging up the bulb as well yields the same great flavor. Both tops and bulbs add flavor to fresh salads. The tops make a great garnish and the bulbs sauté nicely with other vegetables or on their own.

Green onions hold their taste and texture even when frozen, so this isn’t something you need to rush to get out of the green house if temperatures are getting extremely low. If you do leave them in to freeze, you will want to harvest them before they thaw out completely or they won’t keep.

Sow at least 65 days before the cutoff.

You can buy seeds here: Green Onions

*Tip: if you get green onions from the grocery store, cut them off leaving a little green just above the white and plant the bulbs. The greens will grow back and you don’t have to start from seed.

This is not an exhaustive list of vegetables to grow in a winter garden, but these are the best and my favorites. Depending on what gardening zone you live in, you may be able to extend your growing season or grow these cold hardy vegetables in a winter garden all season long. You can reap a fresh harvest when the weather is cold and the days are short. These is nothing better.

What is your favorite winter vegetable to grow? ​Let me know on my Facebook page.

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