How to Plant Cold Weather Vegetables


Cool-weather vegetables are a way to extend the garden's growing season. Not only does this provide healthy vegetables during the winter months, but also promotes the fertility of your garden, says Hume Seeds. Key to the success of cold-weather vegetable gardens is knowing how long fall and winter varieties take to mature, and when the expected first killing frost will occur. Beans, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage are all possible to plant in the fall, says Washington State University.

Step 1

Choose cold-weather plant varieties according to their maturation time and plant according to their harvest time. Vegetables should mature before the first frost of the year.

Step 2

Plant your cold-weather vegetables near a wind-breaking wall. According to Hume Seeds, having a wind-breaking wall near your garden may raise temperatures from 10 to 15 degrees.

Step 3

Dig the soil down to a depth of 6 to 10 inches, recommends the University of Illinois Extension. This loosens the soil and allows better water seepage. Break up any large clumps of soil in the process. Spread 1 1/2 lbs. of vegetable garden fertilizer for every 100 square feet of yard.

Step 4

Plant seeds in a trench two to four times the size of the seed itself, says the University of Illinois Extension. Cover the seeds with soil and slightly press down the dirt.

Step 5

Harden off transplants by putting them outside for slightly longer period of time before planting them in the garden. When ready, bury the roots of the plants according to the plant variety and how much room it needs to grow.

Step 6

Place cloches over your plants if the temperature dips suddenly in the season. Cloches are small glass or plastic domes placed over the vegetables to act as a small greenhouse, retaining warmth and keeping out cold air.

Step 7

Plant your vegetables in a raised garden bed, where the soil is raised slightly from the rest of the earth around it. Soil in raised beds stays warmer during the winter than soil in the ground, says Hume Seeds.

Step 8

Mulch the garden around late October or early November to protect the plants, insulate them against the cool weather and retain moisture.

Step 9

Rotate winter vegetables every year so that you are not growing the same vegetables in the same portion of the garden every year. This prevents the spread of disease and prevents weakening of the soil, says Hume Seeds.

Things You'll Need

  • Plants
  • Mulch
  • Shovels
  • Fertilizer
  • Cloches


  • Hume Seeds: Fall and Winter Vegetable Plant Guide
  • Washington State University Extension: Fall and Winter Vegetable Gardens
  • University of Illinois: Vegetable Gardening Basics
Keywords: cold weather vegetables, plant winter vegetables, late season vegetables

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.