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Don't limit yourself to only having plants growing in the spring and summer; there are four seasons in which you can grow plants successfully. You just have to grow cold-hardy plants that have been proven to withstand the biting temperatures that come in the fall and winter months. Regardless of the latitude in your area of the United States, there is an adequate number of daylight hours and crops that you can plant and grow successfully.
The main reason to garden in the wintertime is that it is easy because the pace is very slow. You don't have to spend half of your day pulling weeds that seem to pop up out of nowhere. In the winter, there are very few weeds to contend with, and in many parts of the country, you may not have to water at all from about the middle of November through the middle of February.
If you select cold-hardy plants, your main fear should be the heat instead of the cold.
Most winter radishes need to be sown from midsummer to late summer. Unlike most spring radishes that are ready to be eaten about three weeks after they are planted, you will find winter radishes are slower to develop but will grow much larger and stay crisp longer. They will also store longer than the many varieties of spring radishes.
Winter radishes may be green, white or even black. Harvest them when they are large and mature. If you have black radishes, you can expect them to have a pungent flavor, so you will need to use them sparingly in recipes. You should remove the greens and the roots prior to storing them. Chinese radishes are much milder in flavor and are round and fat. Before storing Chinese radishes, remove the greens but not the roots, which should be removed just before you prepare them to eat.
The following is a list of winter radishes you may want to try in your garden:
Check out these winter radishes:
Plant black radishes from mid to late summer (or in the fall if you live in a mild climate) by either directing sowing them into the garden or by starting them indoors to be transplanted later. The plants will need to be spaced about 3-4 inches apart *(farther if you want larger radishes). Rake your soil so that is free of stones, then sow the seeds in well-draining, loamy soil.
Miyashige White Daikon Radish - This variety is often shredded and used in sushi, although there are many dishes that are enhanced by their light, slightly spicy flavor. The mature radishes are pickled or cooked, or added to stir-fry dishes or soups for crunch. Sow the seeds after mid-summer or fall depending on your growing season. Harvest them when they are about a foot long and 2-3 inches wide. Their deep roots are also used as a cover crop to break up heavy soils.Minowashe White Daikon Radish - This is one of the largest of the winter radishes. It can grow up to two feet long with a flavor that ranges from mild to hot. The radishes are long, tapered, and white. They are great in many Oriental dishes. Their deep tap roots also will also help improve soil quality. They are a moderately frost-tolerant vegetable that prefers full sun but can tolerate partial shade. Plant the seeds in fertile, evenly moist soil that is free of rocks.
It doesn't matter where you live in the United States, there are vegetables you can plant that will withstand cold, frost and even some snow. This is a list of frost-hardy vegetables:
This photo shows some freshly-harvested Detroit red beets (left) and Chioggia beets, both of which are heirloom varieties. Most gardeners prefer heirloom varieties of vegetables, citing exceptional taste as the main reason.
© 2019 Mike and Dorothy McKenney
Mike and Dorothy McKenney (author) from United States on February 08, 2019:
I am planting onions right now and hope to be able to harvest some delicious ones later. Thanks for your comments, and for reading!
Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on February 05, 2019:
Very useful and informative article!
I like all the winter vegetables and fruits, especially carrots, spring onions, radishes etc.
Thanks for sharing this well written and explained article about Winter gardening.