Most garden plants are warm weather lovers, wanting that full sunlight and heat to grow and produce.  However, there is a number of vegetable plants that thrive in the cold weather, making them great choices for early and late season garden plots.  The following is a list of 15 vegetables that love the cold!

Carrots: these orange beauties are a great cold weather crop!  Essentially, the colder temperatures lead to an accumulation of sugar which protects the plants from frost and cold weather damage.  If you live in a particularly cold area you may consider covering your carrot crop with a heavy layer of mulch.

Leeks: leeks are very cold hardy and can survive temperatures all the way down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit.  The growth of these plants is not connected with the length of the daylight which also makes them great cold weather crops.

Parsnips: this humble and unassuming vegetable, similar to carrots, build up a supply of sugars which help to protect them from the lower temperatures and frosty nights.  Parsnips take a long time to mature so make sure to plant them in the spring for a fall and winter harvest.

Spinach: these plants will grow very slowly over the intense winter months, but will bounce back in early spring.  Some varieties of spinach do better than others in colder climates, so do a little research on what type will grow best in your zone.

Collards: these leafy green crops are making a comeback in the culinary world, and make a great addition to your winter garden crops.  These very freeze-tolerant crops will bring some wonderful flavor to your winter soups and stews, or stewed to make your favorite southern side dish.


Cabbage: cabbage is a great choice for late summer planting and winter harvest because their flavor is actually enhanced by the winter frost!  Make sure to pick a cold-hardy variety and plant them with plenty of time to mature.

Broccoli: this garden crop can thrive in temperature down to about the freezing mark (32 degree Fahrenheit) so make sure to plant some broccoli in your fall garden soon.