The Complete Winter Vegetables Chart: What To Plant In Winter

vegetables to plant in winter


As mild as North Carolina winters tend to be, I have to take extra care when I’m considering what to plant in winter and how to best take care of winter vegetable seedlings once they’re in the dirt.

planting vegetable seeds in winterIf you’ve been gardening or homesteading for any length of time, chances are you’re wondering about the possibilities of growing fresh produce even when the weather gets colder. You’re not alone, as we homesteaders like to grow our own food regardless of the weather.

As a minimalist living in a tiny home, my indoor growing space is limited, so I’ve needed to get a bit creative to keep my homestead producing through the winter. Let’s take a look at some vegetables to plant in winter and some of the best ways I’ve found of keeping them healthy all season long.

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Hi, I’m Ryan

Thanks to the mild winters in my area, I’ve learned what to plant in winter — even outdoors! With some trial and error, I’ve discovered how to successfully shield my winter vegetables from occasional freezes with row covers and cold frames. At the same time, I can grow less cold-hardy plants indoors for a rounded winter selection of fresh veggies.

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Wondering How, Why, And What To Plant In Winter?

How Why And What To Plant In Winter

Let’s dive into the specifics of what to plant in winter and the basics of how to care for your winter vegetables.

can you grow broccoli in winterThe chart I’ve provided below will give you a good range of dates to plant each of these cold-hardy winter garden vegetables, but you’ll need to factor in your local climate when choosing what to grow over the winter in your location.

Everything concerning what vegetables to plant in winter really depends on climate. If your winters average around 40° F, you’ll have a wide variety of options in your planting dates. But if you live in a slightly colder climate, you’ll want to plant your winter vegetables either at the very beginning of winter so they can germinate before it gets too cold or at the tail end of it so they won’t have to combat too many freezes.

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If you live in a harsh winter climate with long, frequent freezes, you’ll probably need to focus on indoor planting so that your little sprouts aren’t killed off by the extreme temperatures. I’ll get into more details about caring for indoor and outdoor winter vegetables, but for now, let’s look at a chart of approximate sowing dates to get an idea of what vegetables and timetables to consider.

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Caring For Your Outdoor Winter Garden Vegetables

If you’re planting outside in the winter, even if you live in a mild climate, row covers, cold frames, and greenhouses are all great ways to give your winter vegetables some added protection from the elements. If a frost is coming, give your outdoor plants some extra water and pack compost around them. The damp soil will take longer to freeze.

Keep composting and adding fertilizer to the garden all winter long, as crops that grow in winter will be deprived of some of the nutrients present in the soil during warmer months.

Keep your garden free of fallen leaves and debris, and monitor the weather to be prepared for any frosts coming your way. Forewarned is forearmed, and even cold-hardy vegetables that grow in winter will need some extra care when the temperature drops.

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Winter Vegetable Seedlings

Winter Vegetable Seedlings

Asking what vegetables to grow in winter isn’t quite enough — you also need to ask how to grow your winter vegetables. Some of these veggies will survive well when seeded directly into your outdoor garden, while others will need to be nurtured as indoor seedlings before being transplanted into your garden toward the end of winter or the beginning of spring.

These winter vegetable seedlings are best sown indoors.

Seedling Vegetables To Plant In Winter

  • Onions
  • Mustard Greens
  • Chilis
  • Broad Beans
  • Kale
  • Tomatoes
  • Microgreens
  • Wasabi
  • Corn Salad
  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Winter Gem Lettuce
  • Celery
  • Celeriac
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Asparagus
  • Coffee Plant
  • Chives
  • Cress
  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Mint
  • Lemon Balm
  • Parsley
  • Dill
  • Cilantro
  • Chives
  • Oregano
  • Sage
  • Sorrel
  • Tarragon

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Caring For Your Indoor Winter Vegetable Seedlings

Indoor vegetables to sow in winter will need some extra care, even though they’ll be sheltered from the frosts and freezes outside. When deciding where you’ll grow your seedlings, try to keep them in a place that is void of extreme temperature changes. Avoid drafty places or rooms where you tend to turn the heat way up or down and instead opt for a location where the temperature stays relatively even.

Keep your winter vegetable seedlings watered and give them as much access to sunlight as you can with the shorter days. Prune and repot them as necessary, making sure no pests have ventured indoors to eat away at the leaves or roots.

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FAQs About Vegetables To Grow In Winter

FAQs About Vegetables To Grow In Winter

I get so many questions about what to plant in winter that it’s impossible to answer them all here. So, let’s zoom in on three of the biggest ones, and hopefully, the answers will boost your confidence in deciding which winter vegetables to plant.

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Do Winter Vegetables Have Varieties That Are Hardier Than Others?

Definitely! I created my chart of winter garden vegetables based on what vegetables are cold-hardy enough to plant in winter and which ones will die at the first sign of frost. Some of the hardiest crops that grow in winter are spinach, sweet onion, kale, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, cabbage, arugula, fava beans, leeks, rutabaga, rhubarb, and broccoli.

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Some other vegetables that grow in winter but are less cold hardy and require more attention include cauliflower, parsley, celery, parsnips, beets, carrots, lettuce, and certain varieties of other veggies. The reason I’ve included these plants on this list is that some of us have fairly mild winters where these plants can still flourish or are able to do our winter planting indoors.

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What Are The Fastest-Growing Crops That Grow In Winter?

I love knowing I can count on some of my winter garden vegetables to pop up quickly and keep me well-supplied with fresh nutrition throughout the coldest months. Some of the fastest-growing winter vegetables are carrots, spinach, leeks, radishes, lettuce, kale, swiss chard, and mustard greens.

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What Vegetables Will Be Harvested During The Winter Months?

Many crops, even if they’re planted in the fall, will be harvested in winter or else might continue to yield well into the winter. Crops known for this include kale, spinach, collards, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and broccoli, along with loads of herbs.

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Feel free to print off this chart at the beginning of winter each year and clip it to your fridge or your garden shed door for a quick and easy reminder of what to plant in winter and when you should get started. Happy planting!

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Your Turn!

  • What vegetables have you grown in the winter in your climate?
  • What measures do you take to protect your plants from the cold?

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