Six Vegetables You Can Grow in December-January
Just because the weather’s getting chilly doesn’t mean you need to stop gardening – these winter vegetables love the cold. Time to get planting!
While spring is traditionally the best time to plant, it certainly doesn’t have to be the only time. There are a host of wholesome winter vegetables that you can easily get started in the fall – so you have fresh produce ready for yummy home-cooked soups and stews. These six winter vegetables can all withstand a light frost and shorter hours of daylight – and they even thrive in cooler temperatures. So get your green thumb on and start sowing!
Rich in vitamins and minerals, broccoli is a great choice for a home garden – especially in the colder months. Eat it raw with a dip, steam for all sorts of dishes, or freeze to have on hand year-round.
Tip: Cool weather actually helps the flowers to firm – make sure to let the plants mature for a week or two before harvesting.
Winter Red is a tender salad kale that works well in a crop scheme with others for a continuous, year-round harvest. The edible flower buds (known as napini) from this cultivar arrive early, and are dark red, slim, and tasty. It was bred here in the Pacific Northwest and is highly productive in coastal organic vegetable gardens.
Tip: Winter Red Kale are a Red Russian type kale developed for good uniform colour and old hardiness. Winter Red makes excellent microgreens, baby salad greens, and mature leafy kale
Arugula adds heaps of flavor to winter salads. It can be planted by broadcasting seeds outdoors in healthy, well-drained soil. Although full sun is preferable, arugula can tolerate partial shade. Plant seeds a quarter of an inch deep and one inch apart in rows or squares, or broadcast them over the bed. Gradually thin to six inches apart. In seven to ten days, the seeds will emerge. Leaves will be ready to harvest 40-60 days after planting. Harvest earlier when the leaves are approximately two to four inches long and more tender and flavorful.
Tip: Pick off the outside tender leaves at the base of the plant, leaving the center growing for future harvests.
SNOW CROWN CAULIFLOWER
Snow Crown cauliflower seeds produce one of the easiest to grow of all early cauliflower varieties. The fully domed curds average 18-20cm (7-8″) across. Snow Crown holds its flavour in the garden.
Tip: Shade the developing curds from sun by tying up leaves or using newspaper. This is known as “blanching,” and will keep them white.
Another leafy winter crop, cabbage is packed full of antioxidants and has a lovely crunch. Eat raw in salads, or sauté to retain nutrients while softening and bringing out its flavors.
Tip: Cabbages can live in the garden year round in most climates – just make sure to plant with plenty of room around each head.
Milder and sweeter than its turnip-family cousins, Kohlrabi is great in salads, and can also be stir fried or pickled.
Tip: As long as it’s not freezing Kohlrabi will be fine outside all through winter.
The guide below shows seed planting and harvest times for winter vegetables in southern maritime British Columbia.
Planting & Harvesting Winter Vegetables in South Coast BC
|Winter Vegetables||Planting Date||Harvest|
|Broccoli||June – July||Winter, Spring|
|Brussels Sprouts||May – June||Fall, Winter|
|Carrots||July – Aug||Fall, Winter|
|Chard||April – June||Fall, Winter|
|Collards||July – Aug||Fall, Winter, Spring|
|Kale||July – Aug||Fall, Winter, Spring|
|Leeks||April – May||Fall, Winter|
|Parsley/Parsley Root||April – Sept||Fall, Winter, Spring|
|Parsnips||May – July||Fall, Winter|
|Scallions||June – Aug||Fall, Winter|
|Winter Salad Greens:|
|Arugula||Aug – Sept||Fall, Winter, Spring|
|Bok Choi||Aug – Oct||Winter, Spring|
|Chicory (Radicchio)||June – July||Fall, Winter|
|Lettuce||July – Sept||Fall, Winter|
|Mache (Corn Salad)||Aug – Oct||Fall, Winter, Spring|
|Mustards||July – Aug||Fall, Winter|
|Spinach||July – Oct||Fall, Winter|