The trick is finding specific varieties of each plant that can tolerate cold temperatures better than the rest. In my garden, the growing season is quite short. But if I’m able to grow cold-tolerant vegetables, it’s possible to stretch out the season. If you live in a milder climate, you may even be able to produce some of these throughout the winter.
Whether I choose to plant earlier in the spring under protection or extend my growing period into the fall (for a late fall and winter harvest), cold-hardy plants allow me to lengthen my gardening calendar. Planting winter vegetables in a region where the risk of frost is imminent will help you avoid losses when the weather goes haywire.
Below, you’ll find a list of 18 cold hardy vegetables capable of tolerating low temperatures (and even thriving in them!). I’ve also included the best varieties of each vegetable to choose for cold climates.
I love spinach, but I hate how difficult it is to grow in the heat. It’s perfect as a winter vegetable, though. In many zones (6+), spinach overwinters without much trouble. With a bit of protection and help, it can survive in colder regions. Overwintering might be an easier strategy for growing springtime spinach than early sowings, especially if you find you have to wait a while before the ground unfreezes. You won’t have to deal with annoying delays while you wait for your seeds to sprout.
Best variety for colder temperatures: Winter Bloomsdale
Like most root vegetables, beets produce sugar when exposed to cold temperatures as a way to combat the effects of a freeze. Leaving them in the ground to experience a frost will allow you to harvest sweeter beets. They’re not as cold hardy as other root vegetables (similarly to turnips), but you won’t lose your crop if temps randomly dip below zero in the fall.
Best variety for colder temperatures: Pick early types that are quick to mature.