Winter Gardening - Top 15 Vegetables To Plant This Winter - No Plant No Life

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Winter Gardening - Top 15 Vegetables To Plant This Winter

Hello beautiful gardeners, it's October, and the fall chill is in the air or around the corner but we are nowhere near calling a quit for the year.  Right now, a lot of gardeners are probably contemplating on what type of winter vegetables to plant and may be having a bad time deciding on that. So, that's why in this article am going to show you 15 winter vegetables to grow this fall. Without further ado,  let's jump right in.


No fall garden is complete without lettuce, however, not all types of lettuce are equal. Your Romaine lettuces are more heat tolerant and less cold hardy than your leaf lettuces, so for that reason, it is best to plant your Romaine lettuces out in mid-summer to late summer for an early to mid-fall harvest. While they're frost tolerant, they do not do well when the hard freezes start coming in and because these are a head type of lettuce that you usually harvest all in one shot, I like starting them as transplants.

Where I live, it starts frosting in early to mid-November but the truly hard freezes don't start coming in until mid-December, so we can plant these throughout September and October. I like to stagger my plantings because I don't want all of my Romaine heads to mature at once. So what I do is, start one seed tray and then stagger the harvest. When it's planted like that you will notice a few heads of Romaine forming differently, then what I do is follow up with the transplant I started two weeks behind them. 

Over a course of a month, I can get several dozen heads that will mature all at different times. Unless you're in zone 9 or warmer, you probably won't be able to grow many Romaine lettuces throughout the dead of winter because they do take damage with hard freezes. However, they make up for it by being a little more bolt-resistant. 

That's why they could be planted earlier into the summer for a fall harvest than your leaf types.  You also keep these in the ground and they will resist bolting all the way until late spring to early summer when you start getting those high temperatures, they will resist those initial heat waves. 

Your leaf lettuces on the other hand are much more cold hardy especially your red leaf lettuces. These can tolerate temperatures all the way down from  9-19°F~ -13-(-7)°C. Sometimes even a single digit if you put a light cover over them. So you can grow these all winter long all the way down to zone 7 and even colder zones with a little bit of protection erected around it. 

I don't like growing these as transplants because they're more of the cut-and-come-again variety where you let them grow then you cut them down with scissors, fertilize them and they grow back. So I like to direct sow them into the soil. Your leaf lettuces are much more prone to bolting than the Romaine types, so they do better when you direct sow them in cool weather.


Kale is one of the most cold hardy greens you can grow, they can survive all the way to a single digit uncovered (9°F~ -13°C). You can grow them way down to zone 7  if you're willing to cover them. I usually like to start my kale as transplants and then thin them down into a single plant and transplant them. I think they grow best like that than when directly sown, but you can direct sow them if you wish. 

Because kale is biennial, there is no need to have multiple plantings of kale all winter long because you will be able to peel off the leaves as you need it. However, for several reasons, I like to stagger my harvest, so I do about two to three small plantings just so I have them in various stages of tenderness.


Cabbage should be started as transplants because they're large heading plants and I think they do better like that than direct sown. I like growing the green and red variety of cabbage and I like to stagger the harvest. 

Because cabbage is harvested as a large head, I don't want all of my cabbage to mature at the same time. So for that reason, I think it's smartest that you stagger the harvest a few plants at once.


Plants 4 & 5 have similar names but they are different, these are broccoli and broccoli rabe. Broccoli is best grown as a transplant and started in mid to late summer for an early to mid-fall harvest.

While they're frost tolerant, they do not tolerate hard freezes very well. I also don't want all of my broccoli to mature at the same time because you have to harvest the whole head. If you think it's too late to sow broccoli, don't worry, if it's going to have a hard frost, simply cover them and you can extend the season.

On the other hand, we have broccoli rabe correctly called Rapini, this is more cold hardy than broccoli and actually does better when you direct sow it in rows in your garden. It grows very quickly and forms small broccoli-like heads that you can then go out and harvest as needed at your leisure.


Leeks are a member of the allium family, so they're in the same family as onions, garlic, and shallots. They're cold hardy and very pest resistant, how you plant your leeks depends on what your growing season is like and what your overall climate is. 

Regardless of what your climate is, you are going to want to start your leeks in a transplant tray and then when they're about 6 to 8 weeks old, transplant them out into your garden because they generally don't do well when they are direct sown into the soil. If you want to direct sow them you need to get a variety that is good for direct sowing. 

They're basically two different types of leeks, they're the spring types of leeks that are hardy to about 20°F and then they're the overwintering types of leeks which when matured can survive below 0 °F. These are leek varieties that can be grown all the way out into Vermont all winter and survive once they're fully matured. Which one you grow depends on what your strategy is. 

Because I want to try and harvest them in late winter or in the spring, I prefer sowing them now in transplant trays and then transplanting them out into my garden in November. They're going to grow throughout the winter, depending on your zone, in zone 8 it never gets below 20 °F and if it does it is better to cover them, then by the time the early spring rolls around I should be able to harvest my leeks. 

If you don't live in a warmer climate, another way you could do this is to get yourself a cold hardy leek and then sow the seeds in mid-summer and transplant them out in late summer so they can mature around late fall. Once they mature, if you get those super cold hardy leeks, you can let them sit dormant all winter long and just come out and pop them out as you need them. 

They're basically three different ways that you can grow leeks depending on your climate and depending on what time of the year it is. I prefer the full planting method and because I think it's warm enough where I live, I should be able to overwinter them for a very early-late winter-early spring harvest.


While these are two very different vegetables in terms of taste, they do grow very similarly. They're both super cold hardy and can be grown all winter long in most zones especially if you have a little bit of cover over them, they grow very quickly and they're best direct sown in the garden. These are super easy to grow and every gardener should be growing veggies like these throughout the fall. 


These root vegetables are all incredibly easy to grow, your radishes mature only in about 3-4 weeks. Your beets are super cold hardy and disease resistant and your carrots can survive down to single-digit temperatures, maybe below 0 °F if you cover them. They do taste best in the winter because they develop more sweetness and they're also very easy to grow with few pests and other things to worry about.


You can choose whether or not to start your swiss chard as a transplant or direct sow them. I started mine as a transplant but they can also do great when directly sown because the individual seeds are pods that are very similar to beets. Swiss chard is quite cold hardy. It tolerates light and moderate freezes pretty well, but it does start to take some damage during hard freezes. So when you start to get below 25
 ° or so, your chard will do best if you cover it with a frost blanket.


It pains me to say that so few people know about how cold hardy these herbs are. Cilantro and parsley are super cold hardy and easily tolerate 10 °F temperatures or lower. I can grow them all year long with ease in zone 8 and I imagine many people in zone 7 can grow them as well. Very few people know how cold hardy dill is, there are very few online resources that can even state how cold hardy dill is. 

Dill in my experience has no problem handling temperatures down to about 25-26 °F. They usually take some damage during the first hard freeze but then they will turn bronze and then stiffen up and they will be able to take those moderate to hard freezes even better. Last year my dill took temperatures all the way down to 14 °F. 

While a couple of my plants did die, more than half of them survived. So, even if you get down into the teens, you can still grow dill and I suspect that they can do even better if you were to cover them before a frozen precipitation weather event or a really deep freeze.

That right they are a whopping 15 vegetables that you can be planting right now in your garden. For the overwhelming majority of us, it is not too late to plant these things for a fall harvest and if you're lucky enough to live in zone 7 or warmer, I think you can plant these right now and grow the overwhelming majority of these things all winter long. 

So I sure hope you found this article helpful, if you did please make sure to follow us, share and drop your comment down below, see you next time.


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