Cold Hardy & Frost Tolerant Vegetables

Once you learn what vegetables, fruits and herbs grow in which season, gardening will become much easier. When it comes to cool season vegetables, there is a range of temperatures vegetables can grow in. With the Gardenary method of kitchen gardening, the cool season temperatures range from 35 to 65°F. As a certified Gardenary Garden Coach I teach this method of kitchen gardening with the Arc of Seasons.

Cool Season Plant Families and a few vegetables from each:

  • Amaranthaceae – beets, chard, spinach
  • Amaryllidaceae – garlic, leeks, onions
  • Apiaceae – carrots, celery, fennel
  • Asteraceae – endive, lettuces, and radicchio 
  • Brassicaceae – broccoli, cauliflower, kale
  • Fabaceae – beans, peas  
  • Polygonaceae – buckwheat, garden sorrel, rhubarb 

Within these plant families vegetables can withstand different temperatures. Below are a few select vegetables and their needs based on low temperatures.

Vegetables that can tolerate a light frost include roughly 32°F:

  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Shallots 
  • Onions

Vegetables that need to have some sort of frost protection if the temperatures fall between 29 – 32°F:

  • Broccoli 
  • Carrots 
  • Cauliflower 
  • Lettuces

Vegetables that are cold hardy and frost tolerant:

  • Beets
  • Brussels sprouts 
  • Cabbage 
  • Chard – temps below 15°F will kill it
  • Kale
  • Spinach 

I have grown kale, spinach and chard over winter in my raised beds as well as carrots and beets. If you want to try growing any of these, I suggest planting transplants for best growth. You want to have well established plants before the daylight becomes too short or you reach the Persephone Period/Persephone Days. (When your area reaches less than 10 hours of sunlight and plant growth stops.) If your plants are well established before this time you can harvest from your plants, but keep in mind their growth will have stopped. Once temperatures warm up in spring, growth will resume. 

For those vegetables that need frost protection you can use frost cloth or agricultural plastic used to wrap green houses, etc. Frost cloth comes in varying weights, with heavier weights helping to hold higher temperatures underneath the cloth. You can drape frost cloth gently over the plants or over hoops. I prefer using hoops because it makes it easier to harvest plants under snow. 

I hope this information helps you choose what you can grow in your cool season garden this autumn. Let me know in the comments what is on your list to grow for your autumn garden.

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