Winter crops list

Here is the list of crops that do well in cooler weather because they are frost tolerant. They won’t survive a deep freeze, but they can withstand cooler temperatures down to around 28 degrees.

  • spinach

  • Walla Walla sweet onion

  • garlic

  • leeks

  • rhubarb

  • rutabaga

  • broccoli

  • kohlrabi, kale,

  • cabbage

  • chicory

  • Brussels sprouts

  • arugula

  • Fava beans

  • radish

  • mustard

  • Austrian winter pea

  • turnip

The following vegetables will tolerate 28 to 32 degrees. For beets, spring market carrots and parsnips, the tops will die but the roots will tolerate lower temperatures.

  • beets,

  • spring market carrots

  • parsnip

  • lettuce

  • chard

  • pea

  • Chinese cabbage

  • endive

  • radicchio

  • cauliflower

  • parsley

  • celery

I’ve heard that in cold weather areas, the snow can actually act as insulation for these root style vegetables. Adding a thick layer of mulch around the base of your plants will help insulate as well. The main issue with these vegetables is increased rain during this time of year. Row covers could help to keep them drier and reduce rot.

If you live in a place with heavy snow and brutal low temperatures, I would plan to get things planted with a layer of mulch and hope for the best, you never know, you may have a large bounty to harvest when that white stuff goes away!

Summer to Fall Garden Transition

By now your summer garden is probably getting wild out there. The vegetables tend to grow crazy and out of control over the course of several months. Weeds are also probably becoming a problem in your garden as well. If you have a large garden, it’s big job harvesting, watering, and managing a summer garden in the hot weather.

Usually at this point of the summer, I’ve about had enough of the garden. But I’m Farmer, so I can’t just quit! No, it’s time to get ready for the next season. The good news is fall is just around the corner. This time of the summer marks a turning point where we need to begin planning for the next season for our gardens.

Even better news is that a fall garden is less work compared to a summer garden. Most of the cool weather plants are root vegetables that take quite a while to develop, so it’s more of a hands off gardening method.

The weeds tend to slow down in cooler weather and bugs slow down too which is really nice. The cooler weather is much nicer to work in as well! You will still need to check in often and water/weed/manage, but it’s nothing like a summer garden.

Making Room for Your Fall Garden

At first frost, all of your summer vegetable crops are going to die without protection. You can keep your summer crops going through the end of summer, but keep an eye on the weather. Any warnings of frost should trigger you to either harvest any and all fruit left on the vine, or at least throw a tarp over your crops. This will get you through an initial, brief frost and possibly buy you a few more weeks of summer vegetable production.

If you’re like me, many of your summer crops are showing signs of stress and some really aren’t producing at all. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been pulling up the plants that are no longer producing. By this point in the summer, in my area, the bugs are almost impossible to control. If this is the case for you, be sure to pull the plants that are infested and throw them on the burn pile.

The main issue with keeping your summer garden up until your area’s frost date is space. You will need space to plant your fall garden, so this will require you to either start a new area or pull the old plants to make room.

Clearing and Soil Prep

Pull the summer crops and throw them on the compost pile or feed them to your goats! You do have goats, right anon? You can also pull the plants and drop them right there in the garden to break down back into your soil.

After you pull your old crops, it’s good to amend your soil with compost. For smaller gardens or raised beds may want to cover the amended soil with a thick layer of mulch or tarp to keep everything nice and moist until you’re ready to plant your fall crops.

For in ground and larger gardens, do the same, pull the crops that are done producing and throw them on the compost pile or drop them in the rows. Make sure to get the pest infested crops out of the garden and disposed of. Amend your soil with compost by scattering as much compost as you can over the top of the old soil.

I found a local guy with a gigantic pile of worm compost. It was unbelievable how much compost he has. I bought three tractor buckets of compost to shovel into my garden for amendment and it still wasn’t enough. Look/ask around for anyone that sells bulk “worm compost” locally.

If you’re a till method gardener, wait until a couple of days before your ready to plant and till up your garden mixing the dead crops and compost as deep as possible. You want to till when the ground is fairly dry, and when there isn’t a threat of rain for a couple of days so you can get the nice crumbled dirt rowed up and planted.

First Frost Dates

Determining your zone will help you find out how long you have until first frost.

As you can see, the month of September is the first frost date for most of the US. Therefore, starting now on fall prep is crucial.

The name of the game is getting your frost tolerant crops planted and established before the first frost so that they make it. Even frost tolerant crops can be stunted by a hard frost at a young age. The month of august will be your window to acquire seeds and prep your soil to have everything planted well before first frost.


Unless you already have a stash of seeds, you need to find good seeds for your garden soon. I’ll be honest, I’ve been looking at the bigger seed suppliers, and they are out of stock on many of these cool weather crops. There just isn’t as much variety available as I’m used to. I’m not sure why, I’m not a big doomer, but there is definitely something different about the seed stock right now.

Check these sites and use these affiliate links if you decide to buy seeds online, please. I appreciate it, I get a small commission of any qualifying purchases through these links.

Hoss Tools and Seeds - Affiliate Link

High Mowing Organic Seeds - Affiliate Link

If you can’t find what you’re looking for here, my best alternative has been eBay, they have a good selection with good prices.

When your seeds come in you’ll hopefully have every thing pulled and prepped ready for planting.

Get to work, it’s gonna be a great fall y’all!



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