Cool season vegetables are chill not just because they like frosty temperatures; they are also super easy to grow. Compared to some of our summer favorites like
tomatoes, these crops are definitely on the mellow end of the maintenance spectrum.
Here are eight cool season vegetables to try that are in my Home Grown Seed Collection. This laid-back lot will provide you with fresh produce during the chilly spring
and fall months. Each variety is simple to start from seed, relatively pest-free and doesn’t require much space.
COOL SEASON VEGETABLE SEED VARIETIES
Baby Broccoli ‘Aspabroc’ (Broccolini®) – You are probably familiar with Broccolini® from the produce aisle at the grocery store. Well, that is the branded name for ‘Aspabroc’. This baby broccoli has a mild flavor and an asparagus-like stem. I planted it in spring and it lasted in the garden until July. July!
75 days to maturity from direct seed
50 – 60 days to maturity from transplant
Broccolini® is a registered trademark of Mann Packing Company, Inc.
Baby Broccoli ‘Aspabroc’ is also known as Broccolini®.
Broccoli ‘Green Magic’ – This is a good broccoli to start in late summer for fall harvest. The stalks are sturdy with compact florets, which makes it a
great consistency for eating raw or lightly steamed.
90 days to maturity from direct seed
75 days to maturity from transplant
Cabbage ‘Stonehead’ – This AAS Award Winner did really well in my spring garden and we sold quite a bit to local restaurants. ‘Stonehead’ matures early
so it’s perfect for regions where spring is short or the first fall freeze comes early. I love the gray-green color paired with purple violas.
60 days to maturity from direct seed
45 days to maturity from transplant
Collard ‘Bulldog’ – I’ll never turn down a helping of collard greens so I plant plenty in my garden. ‘Bulldog’ is a workhorse with a high yield. It
isn’t quick to bolt, which is good in my zone 7 garden where summer heat comes early.
71 days to maturity from direct seed
Lettuce ‘Vulcan’ – I planted this red lettuce last fall and was astounded by it’s cold tolerance. With the protection of frost blankets, ‘Vulcan’
lasted well into December despite below freezing temperatures.
Mustard ‘Deep Purple’ – ‘Deep Purple’ is one sexy vegetable. The aubergine leaves are gorgeous in the garden and in a baby greens mix. I like the flavor too; it’s a spicy mustard taste that really perks up a salad or sandwich.
45 days to maturity from direct seed
‘Deep Purple’ mustard has a nice spicy flavor.
Spinach ‘Imperial Green’ – If you are going to grow spinach, ‘Imperial Green’ is a must for your garden. I like that the stems are extra-long and
grow upright; makes harvesting very easy. You can direct sow spinach in the early spring garden before the last frost date and in late summer for a fall crop. ‘Imperial
Green’ has been exceptionally heat tolerant for me.
25 – 30 days to baby leaf from direct seed
35 – 40 days to maturity from direct seed
Swiss Chard ‘Peppermint’ – This chard is pretty in pink! The stems are a lovely rose color that stand out in the vegetable garden. I sowed the seeds in spring and ‘Peppermint’ was still going strong in early August when temperatures were 100 degrees. Wowza!
35 – 40 days to baby leaf from direct seed
58 – 63 days to maturity from direct seed
Chard ‘Peppermint’ is extremely heat tolerant.
WHEN TO SOW COOL SEASON VEGETABLES
Many people get nervous about starting plants from seeds, but these cool season vegetables are pretty straightforward. Timing is everything. Check the maturity date on
the back of the seed package and plan your sowing accordingly. For an autumn garden count back from the first frost date and for a spring garden count back from the
last frost date if you are starting seeds indoors. You can direct sow collards, mustard greens and lettuce after the last frost date. Your local garden center will have
frost date information for your area.
Root crops that don’t transplant well and fast growing vegetables like lettuce or spinach can be sown directly in the ground at the appropriate time. To get a jump
start on other varieties, start the seeds indoors. This is true for spring and autumn gardens.
CANADIAN SEED SOURCE
If you live in Canada and would like to try these vegetable varieties from my collection, you can purchase them from Halifax Seed Company.