5 Cold-Tolerant Crops For the Fall Garden & Best Varieties

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The summer garden may still be going strong, but the fall garden is already beginning. While we can grow many of the same crops for the fall garden as we do the spring garden, choosing specific varieties that thrive in the fall can make a difference in not only the quantity and quality of harvest but also how long those crops survive into the late fall and winter. In this post, I’ll share the varieties of my staple fall and winter crops that I specifically choose for fall planting.

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In the spring when planting cool season crops, it can sometimes be a challenge to get a crop to a harvest before it gets too hot and the plant wants to bolt or set seed. This is not the case in the fall garden. Instead of selecting more heat-tolerant varieties like we do in the spring, the fall garden beckons us to focus on cold hardy varieties.

Let’s dive into several varieties of certain crops I love to grow in the fall that perform well in my garden, plus a few tips on identifying cold hardy varieties in seed catalogs to help you make the best choice.

Prefer to watch? You can watch the video below to see my favorite varieties and the crops I grow in my fall garden:


There are so many varieties of lettuce available it’s hard to know how to choose. How do you narrow down what varieties are the best for your fall garden? Seed catalogs usually will give you hints by describing a plant as “cold-tolerant” or “great for fall.”

Also, take note of the varieties that started to get bitter first in your spring garden. Those will usually make the best candidates for your fall garden. I like to grow mine in my Greenstalk Veritcal Planter because if there is a cold snap, I can move them under cover and extend the life of my lettuce. (Use my code JILL10 for $10 off your order of $75 or more.)

lettuce in the greenstalk

My favorite varieties for fall and winter:

  • Tango
  • Winter Density
  • Monte Carlo


I sometimes struggle to get broccoli to grow in my spring garden with our sudden temperature swings and heat waves. I have found out how to combat that by picking the right varieties. To learn more about growing broccoli in the spring in a warm climate, click here.

I’ve learned along the way which key terms to identify when picking out varieties to grow in my fall garden. Those key words include “field holding capacity,” “winter garden,” and “cold weather.” Also picking a variety that is a shorter days to maturity can help in the fall as well. As the days get shorter, the growing will slow on all crops.


My favorite varieties:

  • Green Magic
  • Castle Dome


Cabbage is an all-around great crop for the fall garden. It is cold hardy and can withstand temperature dips far colder than lettuce or broccoli. (Cabbage in my garden can survive down into ths 20sF.)

This is especially true if you pick the right varieties. Look for designations on a seed catalog such as a snowflake symbol in the catalog (meaning it’s more cold tolerant). The name of varieties also gives you clues. For example, a variety of cabbage called ‘Tundra’ is going to be able to withstand colder temperatures than other varieties might.

One way I’ve been able to get my cabbage to harvest in the fall and winter is to choose a short days to maturity variety. That way, it has time to develop a full head before day length stops growth and cold temps shut it down. My favorite variety for my fall garden is called ‘Farao’ from Johnny’s Seeds.

fall cabbage harvest


I love carrots planted in my fall garden. Harvesting them after they have been through a couple of frosts makes them super sweet. Key words I look for in selecting varieties from a seed catalog are “good for storage”, “overwintering” or simply, “good for fall and winter.” Also, select varieties that in your spring garden bolted early or tasted exceptionally spicy. Most likely, those are less heat-tolerant and would enjoy the cold weather more.

My favorites are New Kuroda carrots from Baker Creek and Scarlet Keeper from Wood Prairie. (Use my code JILL5 for 5% off your order)



As the lettuces begin to fade and succumb to the cold temperatures, greens such as mustard greens, kale, and arugula will begin to shine in your garden. These are much more tolerant to the cold in general. I love to use greens mixes in my garden to extend my season and get a harvest in the winter when little else will grow.

My favorite mixes — Elegance Greens (below) and Premium Greens Mix come from Johnny’s Seeds. (Tip: purchase a larger package for more for your money; they will last a couple of years at least in both spring and fall.)

elegance greens mix

I hope you will give some of these varieties a try in your garden. Let me know in the comments below if you’ve ever tried any of these. What other cold tolerant varieties of fall and winter crops can you add?

Are you wanting to know what tasks you can be working on in your garden in the fall and winter months? My free download can help! Click here to download the Seasonal Task List free download!

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  1. This was a great article. PLEASE do more articles like this. Everyone in the garden world (and elsewhere!) is focusing on podcasts and videos. There are just so many hours in the day. I can get the same data from in an article in a much shorter time. Thanks!

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