With cooler weather just around the bend, you might think it’s time to put away your gardening gear for the year. But cold weather doesn’t have to bring an end to the growing season. If you’re used to raising your food in the summer, you should try planting even after the summer harvest. Many types of flowers and vegetables thrive even better in cooler temperatures. Here are a few examples of the best vegetables to grow in a cold climate.
Lettuce is a leafy green vegetable that’s a staple of any salad. This crisp vegetable loves temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. So it’s perfect for planting around the start of autumn. Lettuce seeds tend to be small. If you choose to grow lettuce from seed instead of transplants, use tweezers to place the seeds into your growing medium so that you don’t drop them.
Broccoli is a familiar member of the cabbage family, with its dark green flowers and thick stalk. While broccoli is sensitive to extremes, it can grow at temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit. You can grow broccoli from transplants or seeds. To increase the chance that your broccoli seeds sprout, submerge them in cool water for a few hours before planting.
Spinach is one of the hardiest vegetables you can grow. Established plants thrive in temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. But spinach seedlings can handle temperatures as low as 15 degrees Fahrenheit—well below freezing. This iron-rich vegetable features flat or crinkled leaves that go well with any salad.
Kale is another hardy vegetable that can withstand temperatures as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Kale is a superfood because of its high levels of antioxidants. You can grow kale from seeds or transplants as well. You can use an all-purpose organic fertilizer to supplement any nutrients the plant needs. But keep in mind that kale is a heavy feeder, meaning you’ll need to fertilize the plant every week.
Remember to research frost tolerance before deciding which vegetables to grow in a cold climate. Try to avoid pepper and tomato plants; these do better in warmer weather. It might take time to find suitable varieties to plant later in the year. But the end of summer doesn’t have to mean the end of your garden.