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  • 3/14/2011

How to Grow Vegetables Outdoors in the Cold Winter


By Jessica Jewell

Cold-hardy vegetables are vegetables that do not succumb to a moderate amount of cold; some can survive freezing weather. Vegetables that do well in cool climate conditions include cabbage, broccoli, carrots, leeks, some lettuces, Brussels sprouts, sugar snap peas and even garlic. With the proper planting and care, you can grow vegetables outdoors in cold winters and harvest them throughout the cold and warm seasons.


Plant the seeds, seedlings or root bulbs in a location that receives abundant, warm sunshine during the day. Because you are trying to grow vegetables in harsh conditions, they need all the help they can get from the sun. Plant them in well-draining soil. You don't want water to get clogged in the soil and freeze the vegetable roots. Also, if you can, select a location that has protection from the wind, such as near shrubs and fences. While the planting instructions vary depending on the type of vegetable, aim to plant the vegetable seeds, seedlings or bulbs 1/2 inch under the surface of the planting soil.


Water the planting location as soon as you plant the vegetables. While you don't need to water as frequently as you would need to in the summertime, make sure that the planting soil remains moist. Do not flood the soil with water, however, as it could freeze the vegetable roots, which could damage or kill them.


Fertilize once a month with a well-balanced, water-soluble fertilizer, such as a 13-13-13. If you are planting leafy vegetables, you may want to choose a fertilizer that is higher in nitrogen, such as a 15-3-3.


Install floating row covers over the vegetable rows if you are expecting extremely harsh winter conditions. You can buy floating row covers at a gardening center or make them using a large sheet of lightweight fabric or clear polyethylene. Place short stakes along the row of vegetables, and then attach the cover to the stakes so that the vegetables are protected from the wind and frost. Do not cover with any material that will restrict sunlight.


Tips & Warnings

Plant the seeds before the ground freezes, sometime in the early fall.

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