While many of us assume summertime is the prime growing season for vegetables, many of our favorite garden veggies are much more suited to the colder weather of late fall and winter. Hot summer sun can end up scorching some veggies or cause plants to flower prematurely instead of developing edible parts. Here are some of our favourite cool weather veggies to grow here in Powell River.
Vegetables to Plant in Winter
Salad Greens are classic cold weather vegetables that develop quite quickly, so they’re great for continually harvesting throughout the season. Arugula, spinach, and the many different varieties of lettuce are all fabulous options for planting in both garden beds and containers. Direct seed your salad greens in September, or transplant a starter plant as late as October, and you’ll have plenty of fresh greens to snack on during the colder months.
Cabbages are truly underappreciated cool weather vegetables. Not only are cabbages versatile in recipes, but they’re also quite beautiful. Their swirls of ruffled leaves in shades of green, purple, red, and teal make fantastic additions to ornamental container arrangements. They tend to take a few weeks longer to mature, so try to transplant your cabbage starter plants as early as possible in the fall. Water them consistently and thoroughly to avoid the heads from splitting.
Beets take about two months to reach maturity, so you can direct-seed them in September for a fabulous late-season harvest. Not only are the bright magenta roots delicious and sweet, but the leafy greens can also be harvested to add into salads, smoothies, and stews. For some serious winter comfort food that’s still super healthy and packed with vitamins, cook up some borscht with beets and cabbage from the garden!
Radishes are seriously fast-growing cold-climate vegetables, reaching maturity after one month, so you can keep sowing seeds over and over throughout the fall to keep the harvest going steadily. So long as they receive full sun and you water them regularly, you shouldn’t have much trouble growing these cold weather veggies. They’re one of the easiest edible plants to grow.
Broccoli and Cauliflower are both fantastic cold weather veggies to grow in Powell River. Their similar growing habits and maturation times make them a great pair to grow together in the same plot. It’s a little too late in the season to direct seed them, but you can certainly plant some starter plants for a late autumn or winter harvest. They tend to be a bit of a pest magnet, so to protect these cold-hardy vegetables from getting munched, you can cover them with some fine netting.
Brussels Sprouts take a while to mature, so starter plants are the way to go with these guys. After transplanting, you’ll still likely have to wait around three months until you can harvest. These tasty sprouts grow up along thick stalks and are ready to harvest when they reach one inch thick. Boil them, roast them, fry them, or top them with gourmet ingredients like truffle oil or a balsamic reduction.
Carrots are perfect cold weather veggies. Not only do they thrive in cold temperatures, but they actually taste sweeter after being exposed to some cold. Typically, it’s recommended to sow your carrot seeds in late August to early September, but that’s under the assumption that you want larger, thicker carrots. Truthfully, you could seed later in the season. They’ll be a little smaller, but they’ll still taste delicious. Always make sure to plant carrots in loose, uncompacted soil. When soil is packed down, the growth of the carrot roots gets stunted, and they will get all stumpy instead of growing long and tapered.
The cold temperatures of winter often leave us feeling a little sluggish, but nothing gives you an energy boost quite like fresh garden vegetables. Beat the midwinter blues by planting these cold-hardy vegetables in fall, so you’ll have an incredible fresh harvest ready for those grey months ahead. Check out the seeds and starter plants we have in store for you at Mother Nature, your garden centre in Powell River, and get ready to harvest a bundle of cold weather veggies!