Many people think that it is impossible to grow vegetables and fruits in cold climates. However, it is actually possible with the help of some tips, tricks, and hard work.
First of all, one needs to find out what kind of vegetables or fruits they would like to grow.
Some examples are cucumbers (which can be grown in the winter), pineapple (needs a warm summer but grows in the autumn), blueberries (can’t stand frost), citrus trees (need subtropical or tropical weather), avocados (southern California has good conditions for this exotic fruit), etc.
Once you know what you want to plant, look for which plants are best suited for your climate zone.
Here is a list of the best vegetables and fruits to grow all year round:
Pineapples can be grown in subtropical or tropical conditions, so Southern California is a great place to plant them. Plant pineapple crowns with at least one eye since these plants can’t produce fruit without it. Let the soil dry out slightly between watering.
During the first summer, avoid applying fertilizer as this can reduce fruiting. This is because pineapples don’t have a very developed root system, and they rely on nutrients from leaves to develop fruit. You should start harvesting pineapples after about 18 months, once their spiky leaves begin turning yellow and fall off.
Avocados do really well in Southern California, but you need to make sure that you buy a variety that is suited for your climate zone. Avocado plants grow long vines, so they need support to climb on. Avocados need warmth and humidity, as well as soil without too much lime in it. Try planting an avocado pit if you live in a Mediterranean climate like central California or southern France (if you plant it during the autumn). If you live in a subtropical climate, plant the pit during the spring. If it doesn’t grow, keep it indoors until winter, and then try planting it again.
Blueberries don’t need warm weather but can’t bear frost either. If you keep them watered and fertilized, they will most likely bear fruit the same year they are planted. Keep them away from heat vents or other heat sources since these arctic plants do not grow well at high temperatures. Blueberry bushes should be placed 5 feet apart from each other. This plant attracts bees and butterflies, so consider planting some additional plants with it to make your garden more attractive.
Citrus trees need subtropical or tropical weather, which is why they do well in southern California. However, don’t forget that they can also grow in many other places if you provide them with enough sun and heat.
Citrus plants are heavy feeders, so at the beginning of their life, apply high nitrogen fertilizer at least twice a month in order to keep them healthy. Once the plants become bigger, fertilize them once every two months. Prune young plants when they form their first fruit since this way, they will have time to develop a strong framework for future harvests.
If you plant melons in a warm place, they will most likely grow very well, even in the winter. Still, if you live in an area with cooler summers, it’s best to wait until mid-summer when nights are warmer and longer for this plant. Melons need lots of space since these plants can get pretty big – half a square yard is enough room for one watermelon or cantaloupe plant.
They also need warm soil and full sun. If your soil doesn’t drain well, amending it with compost and sand would be advisable. Watermelon fruits mature faster than muskmelon ones do, so expect to start harvesting them after 80 days, while muskmelon ripening takes around 100 days.
Passion fruit plants need lots of heat and sun, so gardeners who live in hot, dry, or tropical climates are best suited for growing this plant. Passion fruit is a vine-like plant that needs something to climb on – if you don’t have any structures you can use, try planting it near your fence. This way, it will grow up along the structure.
Don’t over-fertilize passionfruit because it could cause leaf growth at the expense of flowers and fruits. You should water frequently but make sure the soil doesn’t stay too wet all the time since this plant does not like moist soils. More on how to grow passion fruits
The banana plant is a tropical plant that can be very fussy about its growing conditions, so if you live in a place with cold winters, it won’t grow well. You need to prepare a spot for this plant in advance since they grow pretty big – up to 15 feet tall and 10 feet wide.
They can even reach 20-25 feet in height if there’s enough space for them, so make sure you have the necessary space before planting one. If you live in USDA Zone 9 or warmer zones, a banana tree will most likely survive without any problems but if not, try growing it inside during colder months.
Water your banana tree regularly until it starts producing fruits (after 6-9 months). Once the trunk gets hard enough, stop watering it entirely in order to improve the taste of your bananas.
Banana is a very interesting fruit. It needs lots of sun and heat in order to grow – its optimal temperature for growing is 85 degrees Fahrenheit and 107 degrees Fahrenheit during flowering. The banana plant will die if exposed to temperatures lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit, so keep it away from frost or any other sources of coldness.
You have to wait until the tree starts dying back when you should stop watering the banana tree altogether. If you want more information on how to successfully grow this amazing fruit, check out our article on How To Grow Bananas In Your Backyard.
Cactus pear is an extremely drought-tolerant plant that prefers hot weather. If you live in Phoenix or some other place with a similar climate, growing cactus pears will be no problem for you at all. These plants are pretty slow-growing, but it won’t take long until they bear lots of fruit once they start blooming.
Fixing them on sturdy trellis or fences would be a good idea since these plants can get very large and heavy if allowed to roam freely across the ground. Water your cactus plants regularly until they start bearing fruits; once this happens, water may be reduced – only enough to keep the soil moist should be given to the plants.
These plants grow in USDA Zones 5-9 and will tolerate partial shade. They grow pretty big, so you should plant your persimmon tree in a place with lots of space. Plant them near the house since these plants need to be sheltered from cold winds and other harsh weather conditions.
Persimmons bear fruit after 3-10 years (depending on cultivar), and you can start harvesting them when they’re ripe – usually around October. Leave about 20% space between fruits because overcrowded branches cannot bear as much weight as those that have enough breathing room.
Broccoli and cauliflower
These vegetables don’t grow well in the summer, so wait until September/October to plant them. Broccoli takes about 75 days to mature, while cauliflower needs around 90-100 days from planting before being ready for harvest. They both do well if planted close to support because they grow tall and need a place to climb on.
Broccoli can be rotated with other plants since it doesn’t affect their growth negatively – you can rotate it with peppers or tomatoes, for example – but you should apply a high nitrogen fertilizer before planting one of them next year since this plant tends to build up nutrient deficiencies during the season. Cauliflowers are very sensitive to these imbalances, which is why you should not plant them in the same place multiple times in a row.
Radish plants are best when planted with peas, beans, or any other vine plants that need support since these vegetables grow well in cool weather. Plant your radish seeds directly into the ground when it starts getting cold when you can see some frost during the nights.
It’s not advisable to plant them around summertime since they won’t get enough water and nutrients for proper development. By planting early, you’ll be able to harvest delicious and crisp roots by springtime.
These Mediterranean fruit plants love warm temperatures, which is why many people think that they don’t grow well in winter. However, if you live somewhere where it doesn’t get too cold but isn’t too warm either, this is the right time to plant tomatoes. If you don’t want to grow them indoors, you can always build a cold frame to protect your plants from frost.
Don’t forget about companion planting since tomatoes dislike beans (due to the fact that they are heavy feeders), so instead of planting both of them in one bed, invest in some tomato cages and place these around your plants.
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Peppers also need lots of sun but not as much heat as tomatoes do, which is why they shouldn’t be planted until September/October, when it starts cooling down during the nights. Even though pepper plants are somewhat cold tolerant, it’s best to give them an extra layer of protection against frost by placing small stakes all around them and attaching some mosquito netting to them.
Peppers require fertilizer only once every two months but remember that they do better when applied during summertime.
These plants don’t like cold weather so wait until the end of September or even early October before planting them in your garden. You can plant them in an area where you’ve already grown warm-season plants such as tomatoes, for example, since onions won’t affect their growth negatively. Be careful, however, not to plant your onions near potatoes or strawberries since these plants make each other grow slower.
Onions take around 90-120 days from sowing before maturing, which makes this vegetable a perfect winter growing candidate. It’s best to cover beds with straw mulch in order to protect plants from frost.
Celery and parsley
These plants don’t do well in the summer either, so wait until September to plant them. You can use celery as a great ornamental plant since its height usually reaches up to 2 feet, making it perfect for adding color and texture to your garden.
Plant celery seeds directly into the ground, or better yet, start yourself some celery transplants inside your home several weeks before planting them out since they are very sensitive when it comes to transplanting. Parsley is also known as an easy-to-grow plant that requires only partial sun exposure, but it takes around 100-110 days before you can harvest roots from it.
If you want pumpkins in your garden, you should start planting seeds when the soil temperature reaches 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Plant them in hills around 4 feet apart and place a sturdy trellis behind them to add some support.
Pumpkins love warm weather and lots of suns which is why they should grow well in September or even October when it starts cooling down during the nights. Some people like to plant squash near their pumpkins since this way these plants offer each other extra shade, but keep in mind that this may also cause problems with pollination since both of these plants belong to the Cucurbitaceae family.
Carrots and turnips
Both of these root vegetables grow extremely well when planted with peas because peas draw nitrogen from the air and provide it to surrounding plants. This is why it’s best to plant peas first before planting carrots or turnips because if you do it the other way around, your peas will grow much slower.
Carrots and turnips are very cold hardy plants which means that they can handle some frost. However, it may affect their taste negatively. Just like onions, these vegetables don’t need fertilizer during wintertime, so you can simply mulch them with straw.
The first time you plant summer squash, it will take anywhere from 70-90 days before it starts bearing fruits. Still, after this first growing period, these plants can offer you fruits until late October. This is why planting them in September/October is the best way to go.
They will be ready for harvesting when other types of vegetables start dying out due to cold weather. Winter squashes such as pumpkins and acorn squash should be planted during August, and they require 100-120 warm days before they can bear fruit. They need lots of sun and soil that’s rich in organic material (manure) to grow well, so make sure not to skimp on these factors if you want big pumpkins!
This vegetable is very unusual since you can plant it in spring, summer, and fall because it tolerates temperatures above 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Sweet potatoes belong to the morning glory family. They love heat, so plant them as soon as possible after purchasing slips from a local garden center.
They usually produce roots within 100-170 days, which makes this vegetable perfect for growing during the late autumn months. You should, however, be careful when planting them near grass or zucchini plants since both types of plants secrete substances that inhibit root growth.
Cabbage and cauliflower
Plant cabbage seeds back to back since this way you will get many harvests within a short period of time. Try planting them in late August so they would be ready for harvesting by early November, or wait until September for harvesting during December.
You can plant the next batch of cabbages any time between March-July, which means that you can have fresh cabbage all year round with some proper planning! Cauliflower needs around 100 days to grow before it forms pretty whiteheads, but this is one of the vegetables that enjoy weather below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, which is why you should consider growing it during the winter months if possible.
Even though they are among the cold hardiest root vegetables, beets still require around 2-3 months to grow fully. You can plant them in early September and then again anytime during fall for harvesting before winter starts. Make sure not to plant them near carrots since these two vegetables love similar conditions. They will compete with each other for nutrients, but keep in mind that this may also cause problems since both of these plants belong to the same family.
These root vegetables are ready for harvesting after 90-110 days, so you should start planting seeds back to back every 2-3 months during summertime. If you don’t want turnips to become too spicy, make sure they get enough water because dry weather causes a spicy taste in most types of turnips. To grow healthy turnips that retain their mild taste, try planting them during spring since they will grow slowly during the hot summer months.
If you don’t mind harvesting small leaves for your salads, lettuce can be grown during the spring, summer, and autumn months. Even though they prefer cool weather, they grow well in warm temperatures as long as nights are cool. Lettuce tends to bolt once temperatures reach around 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Still, if you pick the outer leaves often enough, this will slow down the bolting process (bolting is when lettuce starts growing flowers). One thing that makes winter gardening fun is experimenting with different vegetables, so why not give growing lettuces a try? It’s relatively easy, and they taste great!
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Now that you know how to grow vegetables and fruits all year round, there’s no reason for not to have fresh veggies on your table! As you can see from the above list of vegetables and fruits, most of them are easy to grow, so don’t hesitate to give winter gardening a try if you haven’t done so yet.
Once you start growing your own veggies, you will never go back to grocery stores since it’s simply not the same. Now that you know how easy winter gardening can be, there’s no need for excuses – get yourself some seeds and planters so you can start right away!
Last update on 2021-10-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API