12 Winter-Friendly Vegetables That Will Improve Your Health

There are many veggies and herbs that do well in winter and colder conditions. Some will produce throughout the season, while others will come back to life in spring. We collected a list of 12 winter-friendly vegetables and herbs that will grow great in containers but need more space and shielding from harsh conditions.

One of the most popular methods of protection is the cover tunnel, or hoop house. Cover tunnels are conveniently rectangular, easy to extend, and you can make them at home.

For more aesthetically pleasing shelter, try cloches that were traditionally made to protect plants from harsh winds. This is especially important for cabbage family seedlings, such as broccoli, kale, and Brussels sprouts. It is important to secure your cloches by weighing them down or burying the sides in the soil.

Now, that you know how to protect them, it’s time to learn which plants do well in winter!

ARUGULA

Sow arugula seeds in fall, and make sure there is 1 inch in between them. Arugula can stand frosts and moderate freezes, however it needs protection if there is going to be harsh weather. Make a tunnel cover for instance, or unheated greenhouse. Arugula grows well with spinach and it is extremely healthy. Consume it in your salads, soups, smoothies and get those vitamins you desperately need in winter!

BEETS

Sow beets seeds in late summer, make sure there are 3 inches apart and 12 inches between rows. Beets require rich soil high in phosphorus and low in nitrogen. When the top of the beet shows, it’s time to harvest. When beets stop producing they can stay in the ground or be stored by cutting off the tops and leaving 1 inch of stem. Beets are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals like potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas).

BROCCOLI

Start broccoli seeds indoors in mid- to late-summer to get them in late-winter or early-spring. Leave rows 2 1/2 feet apart with about 2  feet between plants. Harvest the first head of broccoli before it splits. Broccoli are a very good source of dietary fiber, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin E, manganese,phosphorus, choline, vitamin B1, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), potassium and copper.

BRUSSELS SPROUTS

Start brussel sprouts seeds indoors in early spring in places with cool summers. Set plants out in full sun in June or July, leaving 30 inches between plants and three feet between rows. Brussels sprouts will continue to produce into winter, and have higher amounts of vitamin C when temperatures are close to freezing. Brussel sprouts They are an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin K, as well as manganese, vitamin B6, dietary fiber, choline, copper, vitamin B1,potassium, phosphorus and omega-3 fatty acids.

CARROTS

For a late autumn crop, sow seeds directly into soil in July. Sow plants 3 inches apart, with 5 inches between rows. Carrots need very fertile, deep soil and full sun to partial shade.The best way to know for sure whether your carrots are ready is to check a few. It is important to know that the longer carrots stay in the ground, the more likely insects and animals are to eat them. Carrots are very important for our health as they are a high source of antioxidants (especially beta carotene), decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke, as well as they helps protect against cancer, etc.

GARLIC

In autumn, plant individual cloves from bulbs that were cracked in the past 48 hours. Plant cloves about 2 to 4 inches deep with pointed ends up. Space them five inches apart, with rows at least 12 to 15 inches apart. Garlic needs full sunshine and soil that is fertile, moist, and well drained, In summer, harvest the bulbs, once the lower third of leaves have withered. Garlic contains vitamins C and B6, manganese, selenium and other antioxidants (notably allicin). More recent evidence-based research suggests garlic may be effective against high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, cholesterol, colds and some cancers.

KALE

Sow kale seeds directly into soil in midsummer, or start indoors and set out in early fall. Plant seeds in a sunny place, at least 18 inches apart, with 2 feet between rows. Kale needs fertile soil to grow well, so use compost. Water the plants regularly, but make sure the soil is always well-drained. When the leaves are rich and green, it’s time to harvest kale.Kale is low in calorie, high in fiber and has zero fat. One cup of kale has only 36 calories, 5 grams of fiberand 0 grams of fat.

LEEK

Sow leek seeds indoors in early spring, and set out plants in midsummer. Make holes at least 3 inches deep to encourage a longer stem. Space plants five inches apart, with at least 11 inches between rows. Leek requires rich soil in a sunny to partially shady spot. Leeks are allium vegetables that are closely related to onions, garlic, shallots, and scallions.

MACHE

Sow mache seeds in autumn and space plants a couple of inches apart, and thin 5 inches apart as they grow. Leave 4 inches in between rows. Mache is a small salad green that has a nutty flavor and is high in vitamin C.  Mache grows best in well-drained, slightly acidic soil. It will produce in winter. This veggie helps lower triglycerides and improve HDL (good) cholesterol levels, which reduce inflammation

MINER’S LETTUCE

Sow miner’s lettuce seeds in late summer to mid-fall in sandy soil with full sun to partial shade. Plant seeds 1/2 inch apart, with 3 inches between rows, and thin out to three inches between plants.It needs consistent moisture. The leaves of miner’s lettuce are rich in vitamin c and can also be taken as invigorating spring tonic.

PARSLEY

Soak parsley seeds overnight in warm water before planting in order to encourage germination. Sow seeds in early spring in average, well-drained soil in a sunny spot. Place plants 3 inches apart with at least 9 inches between rows. Parsley requires moist conditions. While flat-leaf parsley has a stronger flavor, both varieties are versatile and high in vitamin C, calcium, and iron.

SPINACH

Start spinach seeds indoors in late summer, and set seedlings out in late fall. Space seedlings 2-3 inches apart with one foot between rows. Spinach needs composted soil, and needs regular watering and draining. Thin the crop to at least seven inches apart as they start developing. Continue to thin and weed spinach plants to promote air circulation.  Over winter, keep spinach well mulched, and protect it from the elements with a sturdy, low tunnel. Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, copper, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin E, calcium, potassium and vitamin C.

Source: gardeningchannel.com