Which Vegetable Crops Survive Cold Weather?



I’ve long been interested in just how cold-tolerant various vegetables are. Each spring I update my Winter-kill list of cold-hardy crops. You can find Winter Kill Temperatures of Cold-Hardy Vegetables 2019 at the link. Here I’ll describe some step-by-step observations as temperatures dropped one winter.

14 Degrees FahrenheitF (-10C) in mid-December

A few years ago (in the 2013-2014 winter), we had two nights at 14F (-10C) and several others in the teens in December. What survived that temperature? We had Tyee spinach under rowcover, and Vates kale in the open. The senposai was still alive, but some of the midribs had brown streaks. Sadly we didn’t have any leeks that winter, as we lacked enough workers to tend them in late summer. Still alive were a nice bed of Deadon cabbage intended for January harvest, and some small heads of Melissa savoy that missed the bulk fall harvest. The Gunma cabbage stumps had some leaves and tiny heads still alive, but the Tendersweet were definitely dead. We had cut off all the chard leaves in November, and it seemed to be dead. Some winters it hangs on later, if we leave some foliage to help it regenerate.

Savoy cabbage is very cold-hardy. Photo by Lori Katz

The oats cover crop we sowed in August and early September was pretty much dead. All the broccoli looked dead. That’s as expected for the temperatures. Often we don’t get nights this cold till January – the cold came early that winter.

The hardneck garlic tops looked to be in good shape. The Polish White softneck tops were considerably smaller, but they had suffered a bit. They will grow back if they have died. Some of our Chandler strawberry plants looked dead. Either that or they were extremely dormant! The deer were killing them off by eating the leaves. Too many deer!

12/25/2019 7:36:46 AM

This is such an informative post. I have just learned a new cool type of veggie--Savoy cabbage! Thanks for sharing it.

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