Winter Vegetables - a very late harvest

If you've never grown winter vegetables, then you're in for a wonderful surprise and a natural treat. I know it sounds odd, but it's true, vegetable gardening doesn't stop with the end of summer. You can harvest vegetables all year long if you grow the right ones, give them adequate protection, and harvest them correctly.

The skeptics among us sometimes have to see for ourselves, and that's just what I did in 2008. I conducted a little experiment in the spring and winter.



My experiments proved to myself that various types of lettuce, bok choy, turnips, Swiss chard and thyme could survive in colder weather - even sub-zero weather. You'll find that cruciferous vegetables are some of the best vegetables for the winter season.

I think you'll find that winter vegetables and greens are a joy to grow because they thrive in the spring and fall, and tolerate cold weather to provide us a bounty in the winter months as well.

Let's look at some of the crops that can handle cold weather, and with a little protection, can help feed us during the winter with fresh vegetables.

  • Beets
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli - a friend of mine questions whether you can kill this stuff.
  • Brussels sprouts - the sprouts get sweeter with a couple nips of frost.
  • Cabbage
  • Collards
  • Endive
  • Green onions
  • Kale - one of the most cold tolerant of all vegetables. It can survive a mild climate winter, sitting out there in the snow, without any supplemental protection.
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks - a very cold hardy vegetable that you can use instead of onions in many soup and stew recipes.
  • Lettuce
  • Onions - some varieties are designed to over-winter underground.
  • Peas
  • Radishes
  • Rutabaga - typically stores well if left right in the ground.
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Turnips

I can't see anyone complaining about the choices available. It seems that this list contains something for everyone. Keep in mind that you don't grow these vegetables in the winter so much as you simply harvest them.

Harvesting is the key concept with winter vegetables. You plant them in the late summer and early fall. Give them a chance to mature. Provide adequate protection, and enjoy a harvest during the winter.

Give these winter vegetables a try. I think you'll find it to be quite a rewarding adventure, without too much trouble involved. If you start out slow and easy with a few experiments, you'll soon get the hang of it.

While your friends and neighbors are buying produce from California and Mexico this winter, you could be harvesting and enjoying your own fresh produce out of your vegetable garden. Who says vegetable gardening has to be limited to the summer months?



Done with Winter Vegetables, take me back to List of Vegetables



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