15 Cold-Season Vegetables That Get Sweeter After a Frost

When individuals inform me that they take pleasure in consuming spring carrots or kale, I can’t assist however inform them to attend till the autumn. Certain, spring and summer time crops are nice, however cool temperatures result in supremely candy greens. Meaning for those who give me the choice of spring or fall roots and greens, I’ll select fall-grown veggies each time.

You’ll have heard that frost results in sweeter veggies. And that’s partially true. It’s not precisely the frost that causes vegetation to pay attention their sugars, however fairly the chilly temperatures accompanying these shining crystals. 

When vegetation sense chilly temperatures, they focus easy sugars of their cells. This course of prevents plant cells from freezing and bursting, which permits the vegetation to outlive into the winter. Research present that this focus of sugars happens in roots and leafy greens.

If you wish to capitalize on the sweetness that chilly temperatures trigger, you possibly can develop many cold-season roots and greens. The next greens are all sweeter after a frost.

Carrots

Carrots can profit from gentle to medium frost, resulting in sweeter roots resulting from sugar focus.

Carrots can survive a light-weight to medium frost, and they are going to be sweeter for it! Chilly temperatures trigger the vegetation to pay attention sugars of their roots, resulting in candy and crunchy carrots that a few of my prospects have described as “carrot sweet.”

Do not forget that most carrots take two to 3 months to develop from seeds into fats roots, so plant your carrot seeds nicely earlier than the primary frost arrives. I wish to plant carrots in August for an October or November harvest. Poor germination is without doubt one of the commonest issues gardeners face when rising carrots, so maintain the soil moist throughout scorching August days.

Laborious frosts could trigger carrot greens to die again, however the roots will stay protected and insulated by the cool soil. Nonetheless, you must harvest carrots earlier than the soil freezes to forestall coping with tender and mushy roots. So long as you take away the tops and retailer the roots someplace cool, they are going to stay recent for at the least a month.

Rutabaga

Close-up of growing Rutabaga plants in a snow-covered garden. Rutabaga (Brassica napobrassica) is characterized by its distinct appearance, featuring a cluster of large, rough, and crinkled leaves that sprout from a central stem close to the ground. The leaves are blue-green in color, forming a dense, low-lying rosette. At the center of this leafy growth, the plant produces a single round or globe-shaped root. The root is purplish on top and fades to a creamy yellow or pale orange hue at the bottom.
Rutabagas, sweeter after a frost, might be roasted after harvesting however want round 100 days to mature.

Typically described as a sweeter model of a turnip, the rutabaga actually shines after a frost. Pull the chunky roots from the bottom, reduce them into bite-sized items, after which roast them for a melt-in-your-mouth deal with.

Rutabagas take round 100 days to mature, so plant the seeds in late summer time so that they dimension up earlier than brief days arrive. Since they’re brassicas, the leaves are vulnerable to break from pests like flea beetles and harlequin bugs. Holding these pests off tender seedlings will give the vegetation a higher probability of rising into wholesome vegetation.

Laborious frosts typically harm rutabaga greens, however the roots can survive these intervals. So long as the bottom isn’t frozen strong, leaving rutabagas within the backyard is protected.

Parsnips

Close-up of freshly harvested Parsnips in a bed next to a large pitchfork. Parsnips (Pastinaca sativa) are characterized by their distinctive appearance, featuring a rosette of large, pinnately compound leaves with toothed leaflets that arise from a central stem. The leaves are deep green and have a fern-like or feathery appearance. Parsnips produce long, tapered roots which are creamy white in color, with a slightly rough texture on the outer skin.
To develop them efficiently, plant seeds immediately in early to mid-summer and maintain seedlings well-weeded.

Parsnips deserve the title of the king of fall greens. They’re unimaginable to develop throughout different instances of the yr and thrive when cooler temperatures arrive. And whereas prospects ceaselessly request them, they’re typically onerous to seek out since they take over 100 days to mature. However the roots’ candy, nutty taste makes their lengthy progress time value it.

Plant parsnip seeds immediately in your backyard in early to mid-summer if you wish to find yourself with fats fall roots. The greens develop slowly, so maintaining the small seedlings well-weeded is vital. With the correct care, you’ll find yourself with giant pale roots and vibrant greens in autumn. Parsnips can survive temperatures nicely under freezing, so don’t fear about leaving them within the floor throughout the fall and winter.

When it comes time to reap parsnips, remember that the leaves may cause a contact rash in some individuals. The rash is a kind of phytophotodermatitis that turns into activated by publicity to gentle. Carrying gloves and lengthy sleeves is a great plan for those who’re undecided for those who’re delicate to parsnip greens.

Spinach

Close-up of growing rows of spinach in a sunny garden. Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is characterized by its vibrant, deep green leaves that are oval in shape. The leaves are smooth, tender, and slightly crinkled, creating a textured surface.
Spinach is an important fall backyard inexperienced veggie, sweetening in cooler climate and shortly maturing in a few month.

If there’s one inexperienced that everybody ought to have in a fall backyard, it’s spinach. This widespread inexperienced can survive temperatures into the 20s and turns into supremely candy throughout this cooler climate.

Spinach is comparatively fast to mature and sometimes grows from seed to child leaves in a few month. However keep in mind that day size has a big effect on plant progress! An excellent rule of thumb is to ensure your vegetation mature by the point you attain the ‘Persephone Interval’ or when the day size drops under 10 hours. Planting spinach seeds at the least seven weeks earlier than this era arrives ensures you’ll have massive, wholesome leaves to reap all through the winter.

Whereas spinach can survive onerous frost, keep away from harvesting frozen leaves. I’ve discovered the onerous method that frozen leaves will simply thaw and switch into an undesirable mush. Wait till the leaves thaw if you wish to find yourself with crisp leaves good for salads.

Kale

Close-up of a growing Kale plant in the garden. Kale (Brassica oleracea) is recognized for its striking appearance, featuring leaves that form large, leafy rosettes. The leaves of kale are deeply lobed, frilly, and ruffled, creating a textured and intricate surface. The leaves are elongated, wide, dark green with texture and frilly edges.
Kale might be candy, particularly after frost, so plant in late summer time or early fall for salad-worthy greens.

Kale typically will get a nasty wrap for being a bitter well being meals, however anybody who has tasted frost-sweetened kale will let you know this inexperienced doesn’t need to be bitter. When kale matures throughout cool temperatures, it concentrates its sugars and turns into noticeably sweeter. Meaning planting kale in late summer time and early fall will will let you take pleasure in salad-worthy greens.

Should you’re hoping to reap mature leaves after a frost, plan to start out your seeds three months earlier than the day size drops to 10 hours. Should you’ve missed this window, don’t fear! You possibly can direct seed kale all the way in which as much as six weeks earlier than this significant interval arrives.

Though all kale is frost-tolerant, some kale varieties can tolerate chilly greater than others. ‘Crimson Russian’ dies again when temperatures drop under 15°F, however ‘Dwarf Blue’ will survive. It doesn’t matter what number of kale you’re rising, you possibly can at all times cowl the vegetation with floating row covers to assist them survive nicely into the winter.

Arugula

Close-up of a gardener's hands in black gloves harvesting Arugula leaves in the garden. Arugula (Eruca sativa) is distinguished by its delicate, feathery leaves that form loose, rosette-like clusters. The leaves of arugula are elongated, deeply lobed, and divided into multiple small leaflets, giving them a fern-like appearance.
Arugula is a peppery salad inexperienced that grows greatest in cooler months, and fall frosts mellow its taste.

Arugula is a peppery salad inexperienced that serves as a superb salad base and pizza topping. Though you possibly can develop it all year long, it’s happiest throughout the cooler months. And since fall frosts assist tame the spicy taste, many individuals discover fall arugula extra palatable.

Many individuals take pleasure in consuming arugula when it’s a young child inexperienced. This child inexperienced matures inside a month, so planting seeds in October will will let you take pleasure in salads all through the winter. Though you possibly can harvest arugula as a cut-and-come-again inexperienced, I wish to make a number of succession plantings within the fall for a steady provide of recent greens.

Should you’re rising arugula beneath row cowl, take away the quilt throughout sunny days to extend airflow. Uncovering will assist forestall fungal ailments that usually trigger arugula’s demise. It’ll additionally will let you study your vegetation for sap-sucking pests like aphids and thrips.

Bok Choy

Close-up of Bok Choy growing in the garden beds. The plant consists of a cluster of thick, crunchy, and succulent leafy greens with a central stalk that's white and crisp. The large, dark green leaves are smooth, oval or spoon-shaped, and have a prominent midrib running through their centers.
Bok choy is a flexible, cold-hardy winter backyard staple, maturing in 40–60 days.

Whether or not you need warming ramen soup or spicy stir fry, bok choy is a must have in winter gardens. Its gentle taste and versatile nature make it simple to make use of within the kitchen, and its chilly hardiness means it’s simple to develop.

You possibly can eat bok choy at any dimension, however most varieties take 40–60 days to achieve maturity. Planting it in early fall permits it to mature earlier than the primary frost happens. After the vegetation obtain a light-weight frost, you’ll discover their taste is sweeter and milder.

Though I want to develop bok choy from transplants, you can too immediately seed it. It doesn’t matter what rising methodology you select, area or skinny vegetation so they’re 6–8 inches aside. This can give the vegetation sufficient room to broaden and permit useful airflow.

Cabbage

Close-up of a growing Cabbage in a sunny garden. Cabbage (Brassica oleracea) is a leafy vegetable. Its leaves are large, smooth, and tightly packed, forming a dense, round or oblong head. The color of the leaves is blue-green. The leaves have a slightly waxy texture. The outer leaves are more coarse, while the inner leaves are tender and paler in color. The head of cabbage is the central edible part, and it is encased by the tightly wrapped, overlapping leaves.
Winter cabbage has fewer pest pressures and sweetens as temperatures drop.

Boy oh boy, do I like winter cabbage. Possibly it’s my Polish roots, however discovering a extra comforting meal than a bowl stuffed with sauteed cabbage and mashed potatoes is difficult. Fortuitously, this hardy vegetable grows nicely throughout cool climate and sweetens as temperatures drop.

With that mentioned, some cabbages tolerate chilly higher than others. Varieties like ‘Copenhagen Market Cabbage’ and ‘Deadon’ can face up to frost, snow, and below-freezing temperatures with out lacking a beat. Snow may help insulate the vegetation and assist them survive temperatures as little as 0°F.

Should you discover that the outside leaves of your cabbage heads are slimy or discolored, don’t fret. Peeling off these layers typically lets you reveal an in any other case stunning cabbage. You need to use this observe with cabbages you’ve saved rising within the area and people you’ve harvested and saved in chilly storage.

Though cabbage can survive chilly temperatures, it gained’t develop a lot when shorter fall days arrive. Planting it in your backyard in late summer time or early fall will assist it dimension up by winter. And, as a bonus, fewer of the most typical cabbage pests are lively right now of yr!

Tatsoi

Close-up of a growing Tatsoi in a sunny garden. It features small, dark green, spoon-shaped leaves that form compact rosettes. The leaves are glossy and have a tender, succulent texture.
Harvest tatsoi as a cut-and-come-again crop, permitting frozen leaves to thaw earlier than choosing.

Should you like bok choy, you’ll most likely like tatsoi. This tender Asian inexperienced has lengthy, skinny stems and small, rounded leaves. Tatsoi is much more cold-hardy than bok choy—the vegetation can simply survive frosts and temperatures down to fifteen°F.

You possibly can take pleasure in tatsoi as a mature plant or a child inexperienced. Should you’d wish to take pleasure in bigger vegetation in stir fry and kimchi, get your seeds in throughout the finish of summer time. Nonetheless, you possibly can direct seed tatsoi for child greens into the center of the autumn.

If you wish to deal with tatsoi like a cut-and-come-again crop, harvest the biggest outer leaves from every plant. Like with different frost-tolerant greens, ensure you let frozen leaves thaw earlier than harvesting.

Radicchio

Close-up of a growing Radicchio in the garden. The plant forms a compact head composed of tightly packed leaves, featuring deep maroon or red leaves with white veins. The head of radicchio is small and globe-shaped, and its leaves curl inward to form a dense, attractive structure.
Radicchio’s chilly temperatures and frost make it candy with a touch of bitterness.

Many individuals appear to stray away from radicchio resulting from its repute for unpalatable bitterness. And whereas some sorts of radicchio are undoubtedly bitter, I’ve discovered that chilly temperatures and frost result in candy and flavorful greens with only a contact of bitterness.

There are many radicchio varieties, and a few are extra cold-hardy than others. These varieties range in days to maturity, so take note of this quantity to find out when to set transplants out in your backyard. I discover that planting radicchio seedlings in July and August will result in full heads when frost arrives.

When you can harvest unfastened radicchio leaves, these crops will produce tight heads in the event that they’re given sufficient time to develop earlier than day size fades. Laborious frosts could trigger the outer leaves to show brown and mushy, however don’t let this seemingly ugly look deceive you! Merely reduce the radicchio on the base and clear off the messy outer leaves to disclose a young and exquisite inside.

Many individuals are acquainted with deep maroon radicchio varieties, however you can too discover shiny pink choices like ‘Rosalba’ and speckled inexperienced vegetation like ‘Lucrezia.’

Radishes

Close-up of freshly picked Radishes in a garden bed. Radishes form round, globe-like bulbs in bright pink color. The plant produces lobed or pinnately divided leaves that are a deep green shade.
Some bigger radishes are greatest grown throughout fall to keep away from bolting in heat spring climate.

Whereas all sorts of radishes are milder in cooler temperatures, some bigger radishes will solely develop in autumn. Should you attempt to develop them within the spring, you’ll discover that lengthy, heat days will trigger these longer-day varieties to bolt.

I like planting the seeds of radishes like ‘Inexperienced Luobo’ and ‘Miyashige White Daikon’ in late summer time. Because the vegetation develop, they develop giant roots that mellow in taste when colder temperatures and frost arrives. The crunchy roots lack the sharp style of warm-weather radishes, so you possibly can take pleasure in them uncooked or cooked.

Frost could harm radish leaves, however the roots sometimes stay unhurt. Nonetheless, prolonged intervals of below-freezing temperatures can harm the roots. Due to this fact, harvesting your radishes earlier than true chilly climate arrives is greatest.

Brussels Sprouts

Close-up of growing Brussels sprouts in the garden. The plants feature a tall central stem lined with a striking array of small, globe-shaped, cabbage-like heads called Brussels sprouts. These miniature cabbages cluster tightly along the sturdy stem with deep green leaves surrounding each sprout.
Brussels sprouts take 80-120 days to mature, are greatest planted in late summer time, and tolerate frost right down to 10°F.

Brussels sprouts have soared in culinary recognition not too long ago, with buffalo fried Brussels popping up on restaurant menus and honey-glazed sprouts shining on cooking reveals. However, this crop’s very long time to maturity makes rising it difficult. When you plant your seedlings, they take 80-120 days to provide fats sprouts.

Meaning you’ll need to get the vegetation within the floor by late summer time to offer them sufficient daylight to mature. Nonetheless, you don’t have to fret about frost or chilly killing the vegetation—they’re hardy right down to 10°F.

Not solely can these vegetation survive frost, nevertheless it makes them sweeter! So, letting your Brussels sprouts expertise a frost or two earlier than harvest will not be solely okay but in addition really useful. You narrow down the entire stalk or choose off single sprouts to take pleasure in.

Turnips

Close-up of a gardener in gray trousers holding a bunch of freshly picked turnips in a sunny garden. Turnips (Brassica rapa subsp. rapa) are a versatile root vegetable with a distinctive appearance. The plant produces round, cream-colored, tinged with purple or pink at the crown roots. Above ground, turnip plants boast lush green leaves that grow from a central rosette at the base. These leaves are deeply lobed, resembling a cluster of green feathers.
Go away turnips within the floor till the primary frost for enhanced sweetness.

I develop tender ‘Hakurei’ salad turnips within the spring and fall, however fall plantings at all times reign supreme. That’s as a result of the cool temperatures maintain away many widespread pests and sweeten the vegetation’ roots and greens.

Together with tender salad turnips, fall is nice for cooking turnips like ‘Purple Prime White Globe.’ Planting seeds immediately within the backyard in late summer time or early fall will give the roots loads of time to dimension up earlier than brief days and frost arrive.

Even when the roots are prepared to reap by mid-fall, attempt to depart the vegetation within the floor till the primary frost strikes. Their elevated sweetness will make your endurance value it. I like to recommend masking the vegetation with row cowl for those who count on to dip under 25°F.

Collard Greens

Close-up of young Collard greens growing in a straw-mulched bed. These leafy greens feature large, dark green leaves that are broad, smooth, and rounded with a slightly crinkled or wavy texture. The leaves grow in a rosette-like pattern, radiating from a central stem. They are gray-green in color.
Collard greens thrive in fall gardens with prolific progress, changing into as giant as small umbrellas.

Collard greens are a staple in lots of fall gardens because of the prolific progress they placed on as scorching summer time days fade to chill autumn mornings. With the suitable water and vitamins, fall collards can simply attain the scale of small umbrellas.

Most uncovered collards can survive temperatures down to fifteen°F. Nonetheless, relying on the range, there’s some wiggle room of their precise temperature tolerance. Regardless, all collard varieties are wholesome and sweeter after they expertise a frost.

Selecting the bigger exterior leaves first will permit the interior leaves to mature. Whereas these leaves will develop slower throughout shorter days, you possibly can proceed harvesting collard greens nicely into winter. Simply cowl them with floating row cowl if the temperature is predicted to dip under 20°F.

Beets

Close-up of growing Beets in a garden. The plant consists of both edible roots and leafy greens. The roots are bulbous in shape with smooth skin. They are bright burgundy-red in color, covered with thin gray-purple skin. The plant forms a rosette of purple stems and large bright green glossy leaves with burgundy veins.
Plant in late summer time for well-sized roots and skinny seedlings for optimum progress.

Beets have a little bit of a repute for being earthy and typically tasting like grime, however individuals who have tasted frost-sweetened beets know simply how candy they are often. Whether or not you’re rising purple beets like ‘Early Marvel’ or golden ones like ‘Touchstone Gold’, permitting your vegetation to expertise chilly temperatures causes sugars to pay attention within the roots.

Most beets can survive temperatures down to twenty°F, and the roots will likely be sweeter after they expertise chilly temperatures. Some leaves could die after a frost, however unscathed greens will proceed to develop. Cowl your beets with row cowl for those who’d like to guard the beet greens from chilly temperatures whereas capitalizing on the elevated sweetness chilly causes.

Beets will gradual their progress throughout fall, so planting the seeds immediately within the floor in late summer time will permit the roots to dimension up in time. And don’t overlook to skinny seedlings so the roots have area to develop.

Last Ideas

Whenever you understand the optimistic impression frost and chilly climate can have on greens’ taste, you might depend down the times till the primary frost. The chilly temperatures that accompany frosts trigger vegetation to condense sugars in each roots and greens. And which means sweeter veggies so that you can take pleasure in.

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