7 Easy Vegetables for Cold Climates

Easy Vegetables for cold climate gardens

Growing your own vegetables brings immense joy! And it doesn’t really matter whether you have a large vegetable garden or a small balcony garden. The main difference is the amount of vegetables you can grow, not the variety.

When you plant your own seeds and watch them sprout and grow, you will be able to connect with the earth and nature around you in a unique way. A garden brimming with edible vegetables will also bring you one step closer to self-sufficiency.

Growing vegetables in a cold climate can however be challenging. You will be facing a short growing season, lots of rain, and cold winters. This means you need to choose vegetables that can withstand the cold and are able to complete their growth phase in a relatively short timeframe.

Many new gardeners start with popular vegetables like carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and lettuce. These are all great choices, but why not try some lesser-known vegetables that are just as easy and tasty? Here are seven easy vegetables that grow well in a cold climate. Choosing vegetables like these will add more diversity to your garden.

  • Chard (Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris)
  • Savoy Cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. Sabauda)
  • Black Salsify (Scorzonera hispanica)
  • Jerusalem Artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus)
  • Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa)
  • Broad Beans (Vicia faba)
  • Rutabaga (Brassica napus subsp. rapifera)

Chard (Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris)

Chard is a colorful and nutritious leafy vegetable from the Mediterranean. It can handle cold temperatures and thrives in temperate climates. Chard should be sown early in spring as soon as the soil is ready. It needs regular watering and does best in a sunny to partial shady spot. Harvest the outer leaves first and let the inner ones keep growing.

Chard is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals like magnesium and potassium. It also has a high antioxidant content.

Savoy Cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. Sabauda)

Savoy cabbage, a variety of cabbage with crinkly leaves and a mild taste, also originates from the Mediterranean. It’s a hardy plant and ideal for colder climates. Start seeds indoors early in the spring and transplant them outside after the last frost. Savoy cabbage needs plenty of space and protection from pests. You can use nets to discourage pests from getting to the plants. It requires well-drained soil and regular watering. Harvest the cabbage when the heads are firm and compact. It is rich in vitamins C, K, and folate, and also contains fiber and antioxidants.

Black Salsify (Scorzonera hispanica)

Black salsify, or scorzonera, is a root vegetable with a mild, nutty flavor from Southern Europe. It requires loose, well-drained soil. And it needs a long growing season, so sow the seeds directly into the ground in early spring. Keep the soil moist and weed-free.

Harvest the roots in late autumn or early winter by digging them up carefully to avoid damage. Black salsify is rich in vitamin E, potassium, and dietary fiber. It also contains inulin, which is beneficial for the digestion.

Jerusalem Artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus)

Jerusalem artichoke is a tuberous plant in the sunflower family, originating from North America. It will grow abundantly in almost any type of soil. Plant tubers early in the spring. The plant requires minimal care other than regular watering.

Be aware that it can spread, so it’s best to plant it in a contained area. Harvest the tubers in late autumn after the frost has killed the parts above ground. Jerusalem artichoke is rich in iron, potassium, and vitamin C, and contains inulin, which is beneficial for the digestion.

Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa)

Parsnip is a sweet and flavorful root vegetable which has been grown since ancient times. It thrives in deep, loose soil and tolerates cold well. Sow the seeds directly into the soil in early, as parsnips need a long growing season. Keep the soil consistently moist and weed-free. Thin out the seedlings to give the roots room to develop. Harvest parsnips in the autumn or early winter, preferably after a frost to get the best flavor. Parsnips are rich in fiber, vitamins C, E, and K, as well as folate and potassium.

Broad Beans (Vicia faba)

Broad beans, also known as fava beans, are an ancient crop that grows willingly in cooler climates. Sow seeds directly into the soil early in the spring as soon as the ground is frost free. Broad beans need full sun and well-drained soil. They require little maintenance but may benefit from support as they grow.

Harvest the beans when the pods are full but before they become too hard. Broad beans are rich in protein, fiber, iron, and vitamin K, and are also a good source of folate and manganese.

Rutabaga (Brassica napus subsp. rapifera)

Rutabaga, a hardy root vegetable from Scandinavia and Russia, is adapted to cool climates. Sow seeds directly into the soil early in the spring. Rutabagas need full sun and well-drained soil. Thin out seedlings to give each root enough space to grow. They require regular watering throughout the growing season. Harvest rutabagas in the autumn when they reach the size you want. Rutabagas are rich in vitamin C, fiber, and potassium, with a sweet, mild flavor suitable for various culinary uses.

Choose Unique Easy Vegetables

Growing your own vegetables provides fresh and healthy food and fosters a deeper connection with nature. By trying lesser-known vegetables, you can help preserve unique and local varieties that might otherwise disappear.

In addition, you can create many nutritious meals from your garden. Embrace the challenge and bring greater diversity to your garden!

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