Although winter typically isn’t thought of as a gardening season, it is possible — with the proper arrangements and precautions — to plant and grow a handful of vegetables during the colder season. Of course, that depends on exactly how cold and snowy your winter gets, but thanks to climate change, who knows what a “normal” winter looks like anymore.
If this is your first winter garden, you may be looking for recommendations on what to plant. Fortunately, in an article for Hunker, expert gardener Teo Spengler provides some examples. Here are a few to consider, and why.
Turns out, there’s a variety of the leafy veggie called Brassica oleracea — also known as winter cabbage. Unsurprisingly, this is your best bet for a winter garden, Spengler says. But even this seasonally appropriate cabbage comes with a caveat: While it’s frost-tolerant, winter cabbage can’t survive any hard freezes without protection, he explains.
We tend to associates salads with summer, and leafy greens with salads, so it may seem a bit odd to include them in a winter garden. But Spengler says that they can withstand frost and moderate freezes, and suggests planting arugula, mustard greens, Swiss chard, collards, and spinach.
Winter field peas
Also known as Austrian peas, these veggies-in-a-pod can handle temperatures as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s why in some places, they’re planted as a cover crop. “These winter peas will be happy in any average well-drained soil but require a full-sun location,” he writes.
Described as a cross between a turnip and a cabbage, rutabagas are one of the most under-appreciated root vegetables. Not only are they delicious, but according to Spengler, their flavour is best when they mature in cool, frosty weather.
Like rutabagas, this formerly trendy vegetable tastes better when it’s grown during the winter. And best of all, Spengler says, it doesn’t need any type of protection throughout the cold season.
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