What is a cold crop?
These are plants that prefer cool season growing, before the final frost date. The soil temperature for many cold season vegetables is about 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Ways to Protect Your Seedlings:
In order to grow cold crops successfully, the grower must protect the seedlings from frost, which will kill a seedling. Table cloths, bed sheets, and even newspaper “pirate hats” (make a triangular shape) can be used to protect plants from frost. Do not use plastic sheeting; it may act as a conductor of cold air and trap moisture which either will kill the seedlings or encourage fungi.
Caring for Cold Crops:
Introduce ample organic matter, which will help to aerate winter soils, and nutrients that will strengthen small plants. Most vegetables grow best in full sun. Water deeply, particularly in the beginning, as shallow-rooted plants need more water.
In addition to insulating the plants with a blanket of protection over the root system, it will help discourage the growth of weeds. Mulch also helps reduce evaporation of moisture from the soil during dry periods. During heavy rainstorms, it helps to prevent the soil from eroding away.
Rotation of Vegetable Varieties:
This is a very critical part of any garden scheme. Do not plant the same vegetable crops in the same location as they were planted the previous season. It is important to note that if the same crop is planted in the same location, not only will the soil be weakened through continual loss of the same nutrients but the plants will also attract the same insects and diseases to that part of the garden.
Examples of cold weather crops:
Peas, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, broccoli, turnips, watercress, beets, carrots, radishes, lettuces, onions, spinach and cilantro.