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Vegetables and Herbs for Cold Climate Gardens

frost on collard greens

Vegetables and Herbs for Cold Climate Gardens

Frost-covered collard greens, a cold-loving leafy vegetable. Photo courtesy of Bonnie Plants.
Frost-covered collard greens, a cold-loving leafy vegetable. Photo courtesy of Bonnie Plants.

Edible garden plants that defy Lady Autumn and Old Man Winter.

Conventional wisdom says that late fall and early winter mostly spells the end of gardening in Zones 1 through 7, but there are cold-hardy edibles that stand up to and even thrive in the harsh climates—with and without help from greenhouses, row covers, cold frames, hoop houses or movable containers.
So which ones can take the chill? Try mustard and collard greens, kale, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, chard, carrots, onions, parsley, broccoli, cauliflower, radish, peas, brussel sprouts, basil, thyme, chives and mint.
Some varieties of these tough veggies and herbs don’t mind being planted after the frost or even in frozen ground, and most will be ready for harvest well before you even think about starting your spring garden.
Learn more
For details about gardening in cold-weather environments, see these must-read resources:
Kathy Purdy’s Cold Climate Gardening blog
Cold-Climate Gardening: How to Extend Your Growing Season by at Least 30 Days by Lewis Hill
The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener: How to Grow Your Own Food 365 Days a Year, No Matter Where You Live by Niki Jabbour


  1. Kathy from Cold Climate Gardening
    November 12, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    Thank you for including me as a resource. To make it easier for your readers, here’s a link to the Vegetable Archives on my website.

    1. The Editors of Garden Variety
      November 12, 2013 at 3:03 pm

      You’re more than welcome, Kathy. Thanks for the link! 🙂

  2. steven1111
    November 23, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    So far my Red and Southern mustards, 5-colored Chard and Red Russian Kale are all loving it after the first frosts here in Seattle. I’m waiting for them to turn the Kale sweet again. It’s so wonderful to have fresh greens from your garden in November and later. But basil will never grow outdoors here in winter. It’s too cold.
    Great post.

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