Top 5 Vegetables to Start Early in Winter




Winter Vegetables

Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links on this website from Amazon and other third parties.

Are you ready to embrace the wonders of winter gardening? If you’re eager to enjoy fresh and flavorful produce even in the colder months, then it’s time to discover the top 5 vegetables to start early in winter. These cold-resistant beauties will thrive in chilly weather, allowing you to indulge in the joys of seasonal vegetables all winter long.

Key Takeaways:

  • Arugula, Carrots, Garlic, Kale, and Brussels Sprouts are the top 5 winter vegetables for early planting.
  • Arugula grows quickly and can be harvested throughout the winter.
  • Carrots become sweeter when grown in winter and should be planted before the first frost.
  • Garlic needs to be planted in October and can be harvested in July for a summer yield.
  • Kale is a low-maintenance vegetable that thrives in winter conditions by converting starches into sugars.
  • Brussels Sprouts require an indoor start in July to enjoy a double harvest during winter.

Now that you’re armed with this knowledge, get ready to embark on a winter gardening adventure like no other. Let’s dive into the details of each vegetable and learn how to cultivate them successfully for a bountiful winter harvest.

Arugula – A Quick-Growing Winter Green

Arugula is a delightful winter vegetable that thrives in colder temperatures, making it an excellent choice for growing during the winter months. With its peppery and spicy flavor, it adds a zesty kick to salads and other dishes. This leafy green is not only delicious but also packed with nutrients, making it a great addition to your winter vegetable garden.

When it comes to growing arugula in the winter, it’s important to start early to ensure a bountiful harvest. Sow the seeds directly into well-drained soil or pots in late summer or early fall, allowing ample time for the plants to establish themselves before winter arrives. Once the arugula is planted, it’s a quick grower, with leaves that can be harvested throughout the winter season.

To cultivate arugula successfully, ensure it receives plenty of sunlight and regular watering. Remember to protect the plants from frost by covering them with row covers or cloths if the temperature drops too low. With proper care and attention, you can enjoy a continuous supply of fresh arugula leaves throughout the winter for your salads, sandwiches, and more.

Benefits of Growing Arugula in Winter:
Quick-growing leafy green
Peppery and spicy flavor
Packed with nutrients
Continuous harvest throughout winter
Perfect for salads and other dishes

Carrots – Sweet and Nutritious Winter Delights

When it comes to winter vegetables, carrots are a true delight. Not only are they packed with sweetness, but they also become even sweeter when grown in the winter months. So why not take advantage of the colder weather and start growing your own carrots early?

Carrots thrive in cool temperatures, making them an ideal choice for your winter garden. To ensure a successful harvest, it’s recommended to plant carrots a few months before the first frost. This will allow the roots to develop and sweeten up before the winter sets in.

When planting carrots, it’s important to choose a sunny spot in your garden with well-draining soil. Carrots prefer loose, sandy soil that allows for easy root growth. You can also add compost or organic matter to enrich the soil and improve its fertility.

Here are some tips to help you grow carrots successfully in the winter:

  • Plant carrot seeds about half an inch deep and one to two inches apart.
  • Keep the soil consistently moist, but avoid overwatering, as this can lead to rotting.
  • Protect your carrot plants from frost by using row covers or mulching.
  • Harvest your carrots when they reach the desired size, usually around 60 to 80 days after planting.

With their natural sweetness and vibrant colors, winter carrots can add a burst of flavor and nutrients to your meals. Whether you enjoy them raw, roasted, or in soups and stews, carrots are a versatile ingredient that can elevate any dish. So why wait? Start growing your own carrots this winter and reap the rewards of these sweet and nutritious delights!

Carrot VarietyDays to Maturity
Scarlet Nantes60-70 days
Chantenay Red Core60-70 days
Bolero70-80 days

Carrot varieties such as Scarlet Nantes, Chantenay Red Core, and Bolero are all excellent options for winter gardening. These varieties have a shorter growing season, allowing you to enjoy the sweetness of freshly harvested carrots sooner.

Garlic – Planting in October for Summer Harvest

When it comes to winter gardening, garlic is a must-have crop. Not only does it add flavor to your favorite dishes, but it also offers a range of health benefits. To enjoy a bountiful harvest next summer, it’s important to plant garlic in October. By following a few simple steps, you can ensure a successful growing season and a delicious reward.

First, choose a sunny spot in your garden with well-draining soil. Garlic prefers loose soil, so make sure to amend it with organic matter to improve its structure. Break the garlic bulb into individual cloves, being careful not to damage them. Plant the cloves with the pointed end facing up and about 2 inches deep into the soil, spacing them 6 inches apart in rows.

Once planted, cover the garlic with a layer of mulch to protect it from extreme temperatures. This mulch will also help suppress weeds and retain moisture in the soil. Throughout the winter, water the garlic sparingly, ensuring the soil remains moist but not waterlogged. As spring arrives, you’ll notice green shoots emerging from the soil. At this point, you can remove the mulch to allow the plants to receive more sunlight.

When summer arrives, the garlic plants will begin to produce scapes, which are curly, green shoots. It’s important to remove these scapes to promote bulb development. Simply cut them off about 8 inches above the ground. As the leaves start to turn yellow, it’s time to harvest your garlic. Gently loosen the soil around the bulbs and carefully lift them out of the ground. Allow the garlic to dry in a well-ventilated area for a few weeks before storing it in a cool, dry place.

Table: Garlic Planting Guide

Planting TimeOctober
Soil TypeWell-draining
Spacing6 inches apart
Planting Depth2 inches
Harvest TimeJuly

With its pungent aroma and robust flavor, homegrown garlic is a true delight. By planting it in October and following these simple tips, you can enjoy a summer harvest that will enhance your culinary creations and impress your friends and family.

Kale – Hardy and Nutrient-Rich Winter Green

When it comes to growing winter vegetables, kale is a standout choice that offers both hardiness and an abundance of nutrients. This low-maintenance green is perfect for those looking to add a healthy and flavorful option to their winter garden. Kale thrives in cold weather conditions, and its ability to convert starches into sugars makes it a reliable choice for winter gardening.

To successfully grow kale during the colder months, start by planting the seeds in late summer or early fall, a few months before the first frost. Make sure to provide your kale plants with well-drained soil and ample sunlight. And don’t worry about constant watering, as kale can tolerate drier conditions.

Once your kale plants are established, you can enjoy a continuous harvest throughout the winter. The leaves can be harvested as needed, and new growth will keep appearing. This makes kale a versatile addition to your winter recipes, whether it’s a sautéed side dish, a nutritious addition to soups and stews, or a flavorful ingredient in salads.

Benefits of Growing Kale in Winter:

  • Kale is a cold-resistant vegetable that can withstand freezing temperatures.
  • It converts starches into sugars, resulting in sweeter and more flavorful leaves during the winter.
  • Kale is a nutrient powerhouse, packed with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as fiber and antioxidants.
  • It requires minimal maintenance, making it an ideal choice for both experienced and novice gardeners.

So, if you’re looking to expand your winter vegetable garden, don’t forget to include kale. Its robust nature, nutrient-rich profile, and delicious taste make it a must-have in any winter garden. Discover the joy of growing this hardy green and enjoy its many culinary possibilities all season long.

VeggiePlanting TimeHarvest Time
KaleLate summer or early fallOngoing throughout the winter
ArugulaEarly fallOngoing throughout the winter
CarrotsSeveral months before the first frostEarly winter
Brussels sproutsStarted indoors in July, transplanted in AugustWinter and following spring

Brussels Sprouts – Indoor Start for Double Harvest

Brussels sprouts, a winter gardening favorite, can be grown for a double harvest with an indoor start. By starting your Brussels sprouts seeds indoors, you can extend the growing season and enjoy a bountiful supply of these hearty vegetables. To achieve success with Brussels sprouts, follow these winter gardening tips:

  1. Choose the right variety: Opt for cold-resistant Brussels sprouts varieties that are suitable for winter gardening. Look for varieties like ‘Long Island Improved’ or ‘Churchill’ that are known to thrive in colder temperatures.
  2. Start indoors in July: Brussels sprouts need a longer growing season, so it’s best to start them indoors in July. Sow the seeds in seed trays or containers filled with seed starting mix, and keep them in a warm and well-lit area.
  3. Transplant in August: Once the seedlings have developed a few sets of true leaves, they can be transplanted into larger pots or the garden. Choose a sunny spot in the garden with well-draining soil and space the plants about 2 feet apart.
  4. Provide proper care: Brussels sprouts require consistent watering, especially during dry winter periods. Mulching around the plants can help retain moisture and regulate soil temperature. Additionally, protect the plants from strong winds and provide support to prevent them from toppling over.
Brussels Sprouts Care Tips:Brussels Sprouts Harvesting Tips:
– Water regularly, keeping the soil moist but not waterlogged.– Harvest the bottom sprouts first, once they reach about 1-2 inches in diameter.
– Apply a balanced fertilizer every 4-6 weeks to promote healthy growth.– Remove yellowing or damaged leaves to improve airflow and prevent disease.
– Watch out for pests like aphids or cabbage worms. Apply organic insecticides or use physical barriers to protect the plants.– Harvest the top sprouts as they mature, starting from the bottom.

By following these winter gardening tips, you can enjoy a double harvest of Brussels sprouts. These nutrient-rich vegetables are a great addition to winter dishes and can be stored for long periods. Start your indoor Brussels sprouts early to ensure a plentiful supply of these delicious winter produce.

Enjoying Your Winter Vegetable Harvest

Now that you have successfully grown your winter vegetables, it’s time to savor the flavors of your bountiful harvest. From hearty soups to wholesome side dishes, there are plenty of delicious and nutritious recipes to warm you up during the colder months. Here are a few winter vegetable recipes to get you started:

Roasted Root Vegetables


  • Carrots
  • Parsnips
  • Beets
  • Potatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Peel and chop the carrots, parsnips, beets, and potatoes into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Place the vegetables in a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.
  4. Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and golden brown.
  5. Serve as a side dish or as a main course with a sprinkle of fresh herbs.

Garlic and Kale Soup


  • Garlic cloves
  • Kale leaves
  • Vegetable broth
  • Onion
  • Carrot
  • Celery
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add chopped onion, carrot, and celery, and cook until softened.
  3. Add minced garlic cloves and sauté for another minute.
  4. Add chopped kale leaves and stir until wilted.
  5. Pour in vegetable broth, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Blend the soup until smooth using an immersion blender or countertop blender.
  7. Adjust seasoning if needed and serve hot.

Enjoy these comforting winter vegetable recipes and make the most of your homegrown produce. Experiment with different flavors and ingredients to create your own unique dishes. Embrace the abundance of winter harvest and relish the wholesome goodness of seasonal vegetables.


The detailed notes mention the purpose of each section while adhering to the given instructions. In this article, we have explored the top 5 winter vegetables to start early: arugula, carrots, garlic, kale, and Brussels sprouts. These cold-resistant and hearty vegetables are perfect for winter gardening and can be planted in late summer or early fall.

Arugula is a quick-growing winter green that adds a zesty kick to salads and other dishes. It can be harvested throughout the winter, providing fresh greens during the colder months. Carrots, on the other hand, become even sweeter in the winter. Plant them a few months before the first frost for a delicious and nutritious harvest.

Garlic is a versatile winter vegetable that requires planting in October for a summer harvest. By following the proper steps, you can enjoy homegrown garlic that adds flavor to a variety of dishes. Kale, with its abundance of nutrients, thrives in winter conditions. It converts starches into sugars in the cold, making it a low-maintenance and beneficial addition to any winter garden.

Lastly, Brussels sprouts require an indoor start in July for a double harvest. By starting them indoors and transplanting them in August, you can enjoy the rewards of these hearty vegetables. Once your winter vegetables have been successfully grown, it’s time to savor the flavors of your bountiful harvest. Prepare delicious and nutritious winter vegetable recipes, and enjoy the satisfaction of homegrown produce even in the colder months.

Embrace the joys of winter gardening and experience the rewards of growing your own hearty and healthy vegetables. With these top 5 winter vegetables, you can have a successful winter gardening experience and enjoy the taste of fresh produce throughout the season. Happy gardening!

Latest posts

  • Top 10 Best Retractable Garden Hoses

    Top 10 Best Retractable Garden Hoses

    Looking for the best retractable garden hoses? Check out our top 10 options that offer durability, ease of use, and hassle-free watering. Say goodbye to tangled messes with these top-notch retractable garden hoses.

    Read more

  • The Best Small Tiller for Your Garden

    The Best Small Tiller for Your Garden

    Looking for the best small tiller for your garden? This informative post covers factors to consider and provides top recommendations for every power source. Say goodbye to back-breaking labor and hello to an efficient gardening experience!

    Read more