Cold Hardy Plants: Grow Edible Fresh Greens Year-Round

For fresh greens in the winter, grow cold-hardy plants using these season-extending gardening techniques.


| August/September 2006



cold hardy plants - plastic tunnel

Using season-extending techniques in winter and early spring can help you produce an abundance of cold-hardy plants for great salads all year.


Photo by Walter Chandoha

Fresh greens of all kinds are a year-round staple in my family’s kitchen. We have learned to transform the traditional “lean time” of the coldest months into a time of abundance by growing hardy and semihardy greens adapted to each season and using season-extending techniques in winter and early spring. Try these techniques and you’ll be thrilled the first time you pick a fresh, crisp salad right from your back yard — in the middle of January.

Our most reliable cold-hardy plants are those that have had at least one season to develop extensive root systems. Regardless of your location, these “naturals” — cooking greens and salad plants that naturally overwinter — will always be your best performers. The naturals usually can survive winter on their own with no protection in our Zone 6 region in the mountains of North Carolina, and they are vigorous early producers. In colder zones, you can use the protection techniques described below and enjoy cooked greens and fresh salads prepared from a variety of tasty and nutritious greens all winter long.

You may already be familiar with many of the stalwarts of winter gardens:

  • kale (‘Winterbor’ hybrid is among the hardiest)
  • collards
  • spinach (‘Space’ and ‘Hector’ thrive even in cold climates)
  • winter-hardy lettuces (‘Tango’ and ‘Brune d’Hiver’ are excellent choices for winter gardens)
  • salad brassicas, such as tatsoi and rape

In addition, there are two other categories of cold-loving naturals:

Self-seeding annuals that will return from year to year: 

  • arugula
  • giant red mustard
  • mâche or corn salad (‘Piedmont’ and other large-leaf varieties produce the most greens per plant)
  • claytonia, aka miners lettuce (needs a little protection)

Perennial greens: 

steve@getipm.com
3/8/2007 8:18:18 AM

How to kill pests without killing yourself or the earth...... There are about 50 to 60 million insect species on earth - we have named only about 1 million and there are only about 1 thousand pest species - already over 50% of these thousand pests are already resistant to our volatile, dangerous, synthetic pesticide POISONS. We accidentally lose about 25,000 to 100,000 species of insects, plants and animals every year due to "man's footprint". But, after poisoning the entire world and contaminating every living thing for over 60 years with these dangerous and ineffective pesticide POISONS we have not even controlled much less eliminated even one pest species and every year we use/misuse more and more pesticide POISONS to try to "keep up"! Even with all of this expensive pollution - we lose more and more crops and lives to these thousand pests every year. We are losing the war against these thousand pests mainly bacause we insist on using only synthetic pesticide POISONS and fertilizers There has been a severe "knowledge drought" - a worldwide decline in agricultural R&D, especially in production research and safe, more effective pest control since the advent of synthetic pesticide POISONS and fertilizers. Today we are like lemmings running to the sea insisting that is the "right way". The greatest challenge facing humanity this century is the necessity for us to double our global food production with less land, less water, less nutrients, less science, frequent droughts, more and more contamination and ever-increasing pest damage. In order to try to help "stem the tide", I have just finished re-writing my IPM encyclopedia entitled: THE BEST CONTROL II, that contains over 2,800 safe and far more effective alternatives to pesticide POISONS. This latest copyrighted work is about 1,800 pages in length and is now being updated chapter by chapter at my new website at: http://www.stephen






mother earth news fair

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Oct. 21-22, 2017
Topeka, KS.

More than 150 workshops, great deals from more than 200 exhibitors, off-stage demos, inspirational keynotes, and great food!

LEARN MORE