Growing Cold Weather Crops

A homesteader moving to Montana gets some expert advice on good cold weather crops to grow in a cold climate.
By Helen and Scott Nearing
January/February 1983
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Broccoli is one of nearly a dozen cold weather crops recommended by Helen and Scott Nearing.
Photo by Fotolia/Givaga


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I’m a vegetarian, planning to move to a homestead that’s located near Glacier National Park this spring. I’ve never tried to grow my own food in such a cold climate before, though, and — frankly — I’m a little worried: How will I “keep myself in greens?” 

We can best answer your question by telling you how we deal with cold-climate vegetable production. First, we don’t attempt to grow any tropical or semitropical crops, which require a longer growing season than we have here in Maine. Instead, we base our garden planting — and thus our diet — on hardy greens and roots such as kale, spinach, peas, turnips, rutabagas, celery, beets, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli, to name a few. For fruit, we grow apples, pears, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. Our other cold weather crops include corn and tomatoes and — in good years — muskmelons.

Obviously, you’ll have to adapt to your climate and discover what will grow best in your area. Ask your new neighbors what crops will do well, and help them garden if possible. At the very least, watch, listen, and learn from the old-timers in your new neck of the woods.


Helen and Scott Nearing began homesteading, in 1932, on a run-down farm in Vermont and then later moved to the Maine coast.  







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