cold weather gardening

Asked August 24, 2020, 7:46 PM EDT

Hi, please let me know if there is time to start seeds for a cold weather garden or it will be best to get plants instead. The plants I'm considering in growing include carrots, cilantro, lettuce, spinach and kale. I'd appreciate knowing which plants grow best in cold weather. I'm also interested in growing herbs inside for the first time and would appreciate which herbs are the easiest to grow inside. Please also, let me know what flowers grow best in winter. Thank you very much for providing this service. Rose

Frederick County Maryland

1 Response

Hi Rose - There is still time to get started on cool-season garden crops like spinach, lettuces, arugula, mustard greens, radishes, and garlic. Take a look at our vegetable planting calendar for recommended timing for different crops. https://extension.umd.edu/sites/extension.umd.edu/files/_images/programs/hgic/Publications/not_updated/GE007_Vegetable_Planting_Calendar_for_Central_MD.pdf

In the future, for a fall garden, it is helpful to think about your planning and seed- starting in mid-summer (July). This blog post outlines the planning process and provides some very helpful tips, https://marylandgrows.umd.edu/2020/07/03/time-to-think-about-fall-planting/.

If you want to extend your growing season, you can use a floating row cover fabric to protect plants from frost. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/floating-row-cover Some plants like kale, mustard greens, and spinach are very cold hardy and can overwinter under row cover and will resume growth in early spring. The trick is to get your plants started early enough to develop several inches of shoot and root growth before the very cold weather sets in.

For herbs: Most need very bright light (supplemental fluorescent lights) to grow well indoors. Here is our web page with information on growing herbs indoors. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/herbs-containers-and-growing-indoors

For flowers: Now is a good time to think about bulbs to plant this fall for early spring flowers. Narcissus (daffodils), crocus, and alliums are just a few of many options. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/bulbs
If you want flowers indoors, paperwhites and amaryllis are some types of bulbs that are commonly grown for flowers in the winter. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/amaryllis-care
Moth orchids are another nice choice for winter flowers. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/care-phalaenopsis-orchids-moth-orchid

September is a good time to plant flowering perennials too. There is a selection listed here on our website. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/perennials

Christa