Vegetable container gardening in winter

Winters in America are chilly and frosty as we know of. Yet there are certain vegetables that you can grow during this cold season as well. The criteria to choose the vegetable to grow in winters is mainly that it should be hardy and should be able to withstand the cold temperature drops and even the frosts without stopping to grow. Let us check out the vegetables that are easy growing for vegetable container gardening in winter.

Vegetable container gardening in winter
Vegetables inside a container

These vegetables are able to survive mostly due to the amount of sugar content in them as the sugar in the vegetables allows them to freeze when the temperature drops and hence they are able to survive the winter chills.

Since different zones in America experience different temperature levels it is best to choose the vegetable according to your area and location in America as well.

When you grow crops in winter you can get an early to late spring harvest and you can get ahead of so many gardeners out there as well and get a thriving vegetable container gardening in winter

Vegetable container gardening in Winter 

Containers are great to grow vegetables in, since not only do they save space but are also a great option for urban gardeners who don’t have a lawn in the urban setup. You can also make arrangements to protect the crops from winter frosts if required.

However, most of them are able to tolerate the cold temperatures giving you a thriving spring harvest. So let us see the kinds of crops to grow in winters.

In winters you can grow all kinds of vegetables namely

  • Root vegetables
  • Leafy Green vegetables
  • Other kinds of vegetables

So let us see the options available in all these categories so that you can choose winter vegetables that you want to grow from them according to your preference.

Root Vegetables to Grow in Winter

Now, let us check out a few root vegetables to grow in winter.

Root Vegetables to Grow in Winter
Root Vegetables to Grow in Winter
  1. Radish

There are some varieties of radish that are hardy and can withstand the cold temperatures and grow well like the winter radish. They are the best kind to grow in winters as they can survive in the frosts. The roots as well as the greens can be consumed as well.

They take 8 to 10 weeks to grow and you can sow them in or after September month. Radishes are root plants and you can use containers to grow them as well. You can choose any kind of container to grow radishes.

 While sowing the seeds make sure you sow them a few inches apart since being root vegetables they will require space to grow. If you sow them very close to each other they may not grow to their full potential. You may use the size of the container depending on the variety and number of radish you want to grow.

Radishes are very rich in nutrients especially in vitamin B, C, and potassium. You can make vegetables from them or even use them for salads. They can survive the frosts and once you harvest them you can be refrigerated to store them for future use.

  1. Carrot

Carrots can be grown in both summers and winters. However, winter carrots are the best. Winter carrots are very rich in taste as they are much sweeter in winters than in summer harvest. The cold temperature makes the vegetable using the stored starch to turn into sugar that in turn helps it to survive the cold temperature.

Carrots are very easy to grow. You can easily grow them in containers as they don’t require too much space to grow. They can take some time to grow but baby carrots can be ready to be harvested in 50 to 60 days itself.

Carrots are super rich in nutrients like beta- carotene that converts to vitamin A in the body. It helps in increasing eyesight and also strengthens the immune system. The bright orange color of carrot is the result of antioxidants like carotenoid that also helps in many chronic diseases.

You can use the root part and also the leafy green part of the pant for consumption in salads and vegetables and you can also have this crunchy vegetable like a snack. If the temperature falls below 45 degrees you can use a mulch to protect the plant from heavy frosts however they can easily tolerate light frosts. They need full to partial sunlight during the growth phase. 

  1. Turnips

Turnips are another star vegetable for growing in winters. These bulbous roots vegetables come in many varieties and colors. The pink-colored turnips are famous, the top part of which turns pinkish-purple due to the top part being exposed to the sun.

Radish plants have edible roots as well as edible leaves. The seeds germinate when the temperature drops to 40 degrees and that makes it one of the best plants to be grown in winters. 

When using containers to grow turnips make sure to sow the seeds 3-4 inches apart as these bulbous root vegetables will need space to grow. If you try to adjust them later on it might damage them so it’s better to sow them at a distance in the first place itself.

A mild frost can add to the taste of turnips but heavy frosts can damage them but since you are growing them in containers you can manage the frosts. Turnips are heavy feeders so make sure you are using a rich and fertile soil that is well-drained.

  1. Ginger

Edible Ginger, also known as canton ginger can be grown from rhizomes in containers. Ginger is a hardy vegetable and therefore good to grow in winter. You must sow the soaked rhizomes in a potting mix having equal parts of peat moss, compost, perlite, and potting soil and water the soil land to make sure the soil is moist but don’t let it get waterlogged and therefore you can add drainage holes in the container so that the excess water drains off.

Ginger plants don’t need a lot of care once they are sown although you must check on water requirements when the soil gets dry. When you sow ginger in winters they can be ready in 6 to 8 months from sowing.

  1. Garlic

Garlic takes a little longer to grow than the usual growing period. Winter is quite ideal to grow this root vegetable. It can be easily grown in containers. For that, you will need a container of your choice and size but make sure the container is well-drained.

You can add some mesh or something like that at the bottom of the container to prevent soil from leaking and to enable excess water to drain out since excess water can rot the root. 

You need a good quality potting mix with good soil and added compost. You must keep the soil moist in the beginning at the time of sowing the garlic cloves and keep adding more water from time to time when the soil gets dry. However, do not overwater the soil.

Leafy Green Vegetables to Grow in Winter

Let us check out a few leafy green vegetables to grow in winter.

Leafy Green Vegetables to Grow in Winter
Leafy Green Vegetables to Grow in Winter
  1. Spinach

Spinach is one of the best vegetables to grow for vegetable container gardening in winter. It is good to sow them during the early winters and hence they can keep giving you leaves throughout the winter season as they are the cut and grow type of vegetables.

They are rich in nutrients however they lose their nutritional values within 24 hours of being harvested. Therefore it is recommended to harvest them only on the day or before when you want to consume them. 

Growing your own spinach in containers at the comfort of your homes will hence also make sure you are consuming highly nutritious ones as when you buy from the market they take 3 days or so to get harvested and fully get sold in the markets in America and by that time they lose 90% of the nutrients.

In order to grow them you can choose any container of any type as per your preference and it is very easy to grow them too. 

  1. Lettuce

Another great leafy green vegetable to grow for vegetable container gardening in winter is Lettuce. They come in large varieties, shapes, textures, and colors. They are highly decorative together with being a rich source of nutrition. You can use different varieties of lettuce in salads and you can even use them in other ways in cooking.

Lettuce can be easily grown in containers. They need a good potting mix which is rich in quality and they also require proper water at reasonable time intervals. They come in huge variations and varieties and some of them are even best grown in winters and hence you can choose from them and start your own lettuce plantations at home this winter if not yet.

  1. Kale

Kale is quite a hardy green vegetable that is excellent to grow in winter. They have the capacity to withstand the cold temperatures easily and they continue to grow in winters all the way. Depending upon the zone of America that you live in you can choose the variety, however, they can mostly adjust and grow well even when the temperature drops to or below 0 degrees. 

It can even withstand frosts. However, if you want you can add hoop frames around them. Kale can survive the temperature drops and frost but you can keep it indoors also for best results. Growing them in containers, therefore, is a great way to provide the kind of conditions it would require and also it is easy to grow.

  1. Cauliflower and cabbage

They are shallow root leafy green vegetables and are excellent for vegetable container gardening in winter. It doesn’t take a long time to grow, in fact, you can grow them for 2 cycles in a single winter season. Growing them in containers is super easy and quick. Not only will it be fresh in taste but you can also grow them throughout the winter season. 

You need to choose the variety on the basis of the zone of America that you live in. They have high cold tolerance and mostly winter varieties have smaller heads than summer ones. Take care of the protection of these plants from frosts as tender little leaves can get damaged by frosts so that you can shift them indoors.

  1. Microgreens and herbs

Microgreens like coriander, basil, mint, etc are yet another great thing to grow in winters. They are small plants that grow into immature green saplings within a few days from the germination of seeds. Not only are they good to grow in winter but also they are also easy to grow. 

They give flavors, textures, and colors to your dishes and can also be used to add in some salads. You can cook them and have them raw as well. They don’t require much space and much sunlight.

You can use small containers of any type to grow them on your kitchen window sill as well where even if they get sunlight of 3-4 hours that should be enough for their growth.

Other kinds of Vegetables to Grow in Winter

These are a few other kind of vegetables to grow in winter.

grow vegetables inside in the winter
grow vegetables inside in the winter
  1. Tomato

This juicy red vegetable is the favorite vegetable of many gardeners. The cherry tomatoes that you grow at your home in containers will beat the taste of the ones you buy from the market for sure.

You can grow tomatoes in winters in a greenhouse type of set up because tomatoes generally don’t like a lot of cold weather. For that, you can even keep the container where you are growing them on the refrigerator top. 

The seeds that you sow need a little warm temperature to germinate so you can always grow them in winters but container gardening can make it easy for you to create some little conditions that may enhance the growth process. Winter tomatoes are smaller in size than usual summer ones.

  1. Beans

Beans are great to grow in pots and containers in winters. There are two types of beans namely bush beans and pole beans. Bush beans are the ones that are two feet in height and are busy in form. Pole beans grow up to 8 – 10 feet in height and grow in the form of climbers and hence they need supports like bamboo, trellis, etc.

In order to harvest the bush beans, you have to look for them in the bushes whereas pole beans can be located easily on climbers. They are not heavy feeders so generally, they don’t need a big container. You can choose your content as per your requirements for the number of pods to grow.

  1. Bell peppers

Also known as capsicum comes in beautiful colors like red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, and green bell pepper. They are highly rich in nutrients depending upon the color and pigmentations. You can have them in salads and can also be used in a variety of dishes.

Bell peppers can be grown in containers easily and they don’t need heavy feeds but you can use good quality compost and organic fertilizers. Additionally to that, they don’t need a lot of space to grow.

  1. Broccoli 

Broccoli can be planted in autumn or early winters. They have shallow roots and once they grow tall. They can be planted in containers as well and they are heavy feeders so the potting mix should be rich in compost and organic fertilizer.

In very cold temperatures you can add mulch to keep the broccolis protected. You can plant broccoli in a little shade and avoid watering on the top of the plant but it would be right to water the plant regularly. You can have broccoli by making great dishes loaded with nutrition.

How do I protect my plants after a frost?

If you’re thinking of protecting your plants from frost, you may want to try out a few things. From freezing cold or frost the plants are vulnerable and can be harmed. Such frost can occur very early in the morning or late evening time. For such conditions, you can use a sheet to cover them or simply burlap sacks.

However, when the sun comes out, you may have to get rid of the sheets so that the plants can get sunshine as they need. It does require some effort every day so it is your choice if you wish to do it or not. Also, for container plants or the potted ones, you can simply shift them in a shaded region for protection.

Should I water my plants after a frost?

During the chilling cold winter, your plants may freeze or be covered with frost. You can save your plants by covering them with sheets. But if at all they already have frost, then it is better to keep them in check for your water needs.

You may not want to water them immediately during the winter season since the water present in the soil might be frozen and won’t reach the roots.

Gently add small amounts of water so that the ice present may melt gradually and the roost can get the water they need. Also, during the winter season, your plants may not need as much water as you would hope. The soil does not dry out a lot so make sure you do not overwater them.

Can you grow vegetables inside in the winter?

During winters also there are plants and vegetations that can be grown. It is very much congenial to grow plants indoors and outdoors both. You can use containers to grow plants indoors.

Firstly you need to choose what you want to grow that will be hardy enough to survive the winter season. Choose roots and green leaves that are easy to grow in winters without being much affected by the winter temperature.

After choosing the right kind of vegetable to grow you must arrange a container or a pot depending upon the size and nature of your requirement and preference. Then you can make drainage holes in it to ensure that the soil is moist when watered and does not cause the roots to rot.

Partial shade can be fine for many plants to survive, however you have spots indoors when direct sunlight comes you can place the pots in such spots. By following all the instructions required you can definitely grow vegetables inside the winter.

How do you keep plants alive in winter?

When you have plants growing on in winters there are certain ways that you can keep your plants healthy and alive all winters. You can use mulch when there is frost to protect the plants. However, by growing them in pots and containers you can also take them indoors and create the conditions for the growth to full potential.

You must make sure the plant meets its sunlight requirements by moving the plant to a place where there is direct or even partial sunlight. You can make sure the plant gets enough water needs. Use proper fertilizers to feed the plant properly.

However, don’t overwater or over-fertilize the plant but rather keep it in moderation. Take care of the moisture requirements of the plant as well. By weeding the plants and getting them rid of pesticides you can save the plants a great deal and keep it alive.

In winters especially if the temperature drops a lot you can use room heaters to keep them alive and balance their temperature requirement. Even using greenhouse and hoop frames will help in that matter. You can even put small containers on the refrigerator top sometimes to keep the soil warm.

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Final Thoughts

Vegetables can be grown in winters but you need to choose the right kind that will survive the cold temperature drops and the frosts. However, when you are using containers for gardening you can take care of creating the ideal conditions for the plants.

Even when the temperature drops a lot or during thick frosts you can create suitable conditions. You can add mulch or you can create a greenhouse effect and even just remove the container indoors from outdoors.

Some of the plants that you can grow in the winter season are Roots- garlic, onions, spring onions, beetroots, turnips, etc, and Leafy greens like- Spinach, lettuce, kale, cauliflower, herbs, etc and others like bell peppers, beans, broccoli, tomatoes, etc.

These vegetables have many varieties so depending upon your preference and the location of your zone in America. So choose your vegetables rightly.

Choosing the kind of vegetable is super important and then take care that you follow the instructions that are required to ensure healthy growth of the plants like the kind of container and drainage holes, the soil type, the sun, and the water requirements, the fertilizer requirements and the pest controls. This will ensure that you get a good and thriving vegetable container gardening in winter to come.