These Vegetables Take a Chill

Fall gardens include many beautiful and nutritious vegetables that tolerate cold.

Turnips, kale, Swiss chard, and many other hardy and semi-hardy vegetables should be a part of your fall garden.

Hardy vegetables tolerate hard frosts (usually 25 to 28 degrees F). They taste best in cool weather, making them perfect for fall harvests and growing through the winter in many warmer regions. See the USDA Freeze Map for the approximate date of the first freeze in your area. This will give you an idea of how long your harvest season will last, because many of these hardy vegetables will continue in the garden for weeks after the first hard frost. It’s amazing. When you see this, you wonder, “Why doesn’t everyone plant a fall garden?”

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Collards
  • English peas
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • Mustard greens
  • Radish*
  • Spinach
  • Turnip

Semi-hardy vegetables tolerate light frosts (usually 29 to 32 degrees F) late into fall and through winter in mild climates. Try them this fall.

  • Beets*
  • Carrot*
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery*
  • Chinese cabbage*
  • Endive
  • Irish potatoes*
  • Lettuce
  • Rutabaga
  • Salsify*
  • Swiss chard

* These are not available from Bonnie, but we included them for your knowledge. Many can be started directly from seed.



Mary Beth Here is my cabbage! First time planting any and it is doing well a little on the small side but i am learning


We had a freeze last night and I did not cover my Collards or Kale. I have straw around them but did not tent the top. The leaves are hard this morning, it was still dark when I checked and about 29 degrees, will I still be able to harvest them?

Mary Beth

Hi Kim,
As you can see in this photo of collards, they can definitely withstand the chill. In fact, they will be sweeter after one or two frosts. These two crops are able to be harvested after snowfall, honestly. You can also extend the season for your crops with frost blankets. Let us know what you think of the taste by posting on our Facebook wall, too. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Mary Green

Before getting to my questions, let me mention how much I have enjoyed your website. While I pride myself in being somewhat well-read in various aspects of gardening, I have actually learned new things while reading your site, and feel that you’re not just passing on “heresay”. Whoever writes/edits your articles does an excellent job (– I really wince when reading some sites that contain poor grammar and lots of typos!) and your website design seems quite professional.
Now to my two questions: What are the beautiful pink flowers in the photo? Are these also “hardy”?
Secondly: Would leeks be considered hardy? I have got conflicting info from my searches on the web.

Mary Beth

Thank you! What a wonderful message to share. We appreciate you taking the time to pass along such kind words. I will share with our team here. We enjoy writing, photographing and corresponding with all of you. If you haven’t already, take a moment to sign up for our online newsletter, delivered to your email bi-monthly with tips and photos on what’s current in the growing season. You might also enjoy being a part of our online community on Facebook. Many gardeners share photos of their harvests, tips on keeping pests at bay, swap recipes and participate in weekly contests for fun.
The pink flowers in the photos are one of my favorites: snapdragons. This link describes their growing habits and climate preferences. Depending on where you live, now may be the perfect time to plant them. They thrive in mild winter areas when planted in the fall and make great bed companions to your cool season veggies, pansies, and parsley. As for your hardiness questions, in what city or region do you garden? Leeks can overwinter well in Zone 7 and higher, and many gardeners claim certain varieties overwinter alright in far Northern gardeners with lots of straw and mulching for protection. You may enjoy our “Growing Leeks” article if you haven’t already found that one here. Have a great day! ~ Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

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