Updated: Sep 19
In this blog, we cover a list of cool-weather-loving crops to plant in your garden—like broccoli, kale, celery, and “chill” herbs like parsley! Read through to check out these cool weather crops.
What Vegetables Prefer Cold Weather?
Cool-weather veggies prefer milder temperatures to grow, and most of them are great for both early spring and late summer planting since they don’t do too well in the scorching heat of July and August. There is a wide abundance to choose from, including turnips, mustard greens, leeks, and Irish potatoes! Let’s get into more about each of these individual varieties and how they thrive in the cold.
A mustard plant grows rapidly for a short time, then dips the scene. In late winter, you will want to direct sow with frost protection or without protection from early spring to late summer. It is possible to harvest both baby leaves and full-sized plants continuously by sowing short rows every three weeks.
Potatoes are actually very easy to grow in cool weather, hence why they were so popular back in history during times of famine! These versatile cold weather crops can tolerate frost, making them great for growing in the fall. Red Gold, Adirondack, and Irish potatoes are the best hardy potato varieties. Harvest before the hard freezing season begins, as this will ruin your potato crop!
In the fall, broccoli is best planted in cool weather, six weeks before the first frost-free date. Young broccoli plants should be hardened off before transplanting into your garden. You can do this by placing your seedlings outdoors for a couple of hours each day, gradually increasing the length of exposure each day. Finally, place them in full sun and water accordingly. In two weeks, they should be ready for the outdoor chill!
Kale grows best during the cool spring and fall months. This sturdy salad green is hardy enough to tolerate frost and even snow. In fact, kale grown in cool weather tends to have a better flavor! It grows best in areas where it is provided with tons of sunlight, so you’ll want to choose the placement area in your garden accordingly for this hardy sun-loving veggie. For summer to winter harvests, direct sow in early spring to mid-summer.
Celery is an annual vegetable that grows biennially. This means that you can grow it for harvest in the spring and the fall! The germination process occurs at temperatures as low as 41ºF, and it thrives in cool weather at nighttime temperatures of about 50ºF. Because Pennsylvania has colder winters, look to start your seeds indoors about 8-10 weeks before the last frost.
Plant leeks and shallots in autumn and spring. These cool-weather-loving vegetables are great for fall recipes, like hearty potato leek soup to savor by the fire or serve as a pre-Thanksgiving appetizer. Leeks are pretty frost tolerant and can survive just past the first few frosts of the season.
Turn up your fall garden with some turnips! These hardy vegetables are resilient as can be and can survive temperatures as low as 40ºF before saying goodbye for the season. Instead of pulling them out at the season's end, they can stay in the ground through the winter. You can even harvest individual roots through the season as desired!
Cold Weather Herbs
Compiling your list of cold-weather herbs? Be sure to include parsley, rosemary, mint, sage, thyme, and many others on that list! Many herbs can be planted in the fall in Pennsylvania and will surely provide your kitchen pantry with flavor all year long. Sage and thyme are both perennials, so they will keep coming back year after year!
Pennsylvania’s autumn gardening schedule is actually more versatile than you may have thought. Visit us at Lehigh Valley Home and Garden in Allentown, PA, for all of your gardening and landscaping needs today!