Cold Weather Crops – Is it too soon to plant them?
There is a time and a season for everything. It could be your time to raise children, become obsessed with genealogy or be an empty-nester. Your stages of life might change but there are rules to be followed if you want to successfully plant your crops. Now is the time, while it’s still cold outside, to begin planting (and planning for) your cold weather crops.
These cold weather crops can be planted now and again in the late summer for fall growing. They will taste best, and last longest, if they can be grown to maturity in the cool weather. The goal is to plant them very early so they will mature before the summer heat sets in and they “bolt”, become bitter, and set seed.
Considered frost tolerant, some vegetables like brussel sprouts and collards are even better tasting once they receive a slight frost. Some crops like beet, mustard, lettuce and chard are so hardy they can be planted directly outside in cool soil.
The Sunset Western Garden Book is a standby for reliable information at my house. This page from their website on Cool Season Crops is worth a look.
Cool-season veggies grow best at temperatures averaging 15° cooler than those needed by warm season types. You can expect to plant out in the garden once your soil reaches the 45-50° range.
Many have edible leaves or roots (lettuce, spinach, carrots, and radishes); others (artichokes, broccoli, and cauliflower) are grown for their immature flowers. A few (peas, broad beans) produce edible seeds.
In warm regions, plant cool season crops from late summer to early fall for harvest in late fall, winter, or early spring.
Bonnie Plants has a great “How to Grow” page for each kind of cool weather crop.
Cold Weather Crops to Plant Right Now
|Plant Name||When to plant outside||How to plant|
|ARTICHOKE||Dec-Apr||crown or plants|
|BROCCOLI||Feb-Mar, Jul-Aug||seed or plant|
|BRUSSEL SPROUTS||Feb or July||seed|
|CABBAGE||Feb-Apr, Jul-Aug||Seed or plant|
|CELERY||Feb-Mar||Seed or plant|
|CHARD||Year round||seed or transplants|
|FENNEL||Sept-Apr||Seed or plant|
|KALE||Feb-Mar, Jul-Aug||seed or plant|
|ONION, GREEN BUNCHING||Mar-Apr||sets|