We are still about 9 weeks away from our average first frost but I know a lot of you are already experiencing cooler temperatures so I thought I’d share with you fifteen plants for the fall garden that are frost tolerant.
Now, frost tolerant means that they can withstand temperatures down to about 26 degrees Fahrenheit pretty well. And as long as your ground is still workable they should be ok. If you live where you get 10 feet of snow for nine months of the year, you are going to need some kind of green house to grow food through the winter in. My friend Anna from The Northern Homestead lives in a gardening zone 3A (which means it’s cold most of the year) and has some great tips on growing food year round.
Carrots, beets, kholrabi and turnips actually improve in flavor after a frost. After the first hard frost, cover the root crops with an 18″ layer of straw or shredded leaves. Even if the greens die back, as long as the ground is workable you can continue to harvest the roots through the winter.
Photo from the Homestead Lady
Leeks are similar to the root vegetables in that you can mulch them with about 18″ of straw or shredded leaves to be able to harvest all winter.
Swiss chard and kale are some of the most important vegetables to grow in your garden. They are both packed with nutrients and both are heat and cold hardy. Kale can tolerate to 10 degrees Fahrenheit and Swiss chard can tolerate into the teens. They can also tolerate temps above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, so in many zones you can grow chard and kale all year long. They are the workhorses of my garden.
Spinach and corn salad are the hardiest of salad greens. Spinach can survive to 15 degrees Fahrenheit and corn salad to 5 degrees Fahrenheit! The edges of the spinach leaves might brown, but we just cut those off.
Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage are coniferous and the plants in this species are wonderful for the fall/winter garden. In fact, you can continue to harvest Brussels sprouts even after a snow. Broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage are tolerant to about 26 degrees Fahrenheit.
Parsley and cilantro are surprisingly very cold hardy. Cilantro will survive temps into the low 20’s and parsley to about 10 degrees Fahrenheit. And lest you think parsley is just for garnishing in restaurants and not really worth your time to grow, you should know that it’s great for soups, you can make a pesto with it, and it is a nutritional powerhouse.
Are you getting your garden ready for the fall/winter? I’d love to hear about it!