You Can Grow Your Own Vegetables in Any Climate
If you grow your own food in the North or at high-altitude, a vegetable garden can be challenging. In spring there may be warm days but the danger of frost can linger to the end of May and even beyond. The summer is short and by late August the nights are cool and ripening of your crops slows down. So it is important when choosing vegetable seeds to select varieties that will give you the best chance of a harvest.
The first thing to consider is how long the variety takes to mature. There are various ways this is measured, but the simplest is to give the number of Days to Harvest. Obviously for cold areas you should choose varieties which mature in the shortest time. These numbers are only a rough guide and it is unlikely that your crops will be ready exactly on that day, but you can be sure that vegetable seeds with a shorter DTH will be ready before ones with a longer DTH, so you will have a better chance of success in a short growing season.
The great thing when you grow your own vegetables from organic, GMO-free seed is that you have greater choice over what you grow and can choose appropriate varieties for your local area.
Vegetable Seeds that Love the Cold
Rather than struggle to grow vegetables that need heat, like eggplants or peppers, choose vegetable seeds that prefer cooler growing conditions. Broccoli is a good choice and will always do well in cooler weather.
Cabbages also like cool weather and you will be able to grow varieties that store well, giving you fresh vegetables well into the winter. Remember that varieties designed for storage will always have longer Days to Harvest than other types, so don’t avoid them for that reason. These cool-climate plants will continue to mature through the early fall when crops like tomatoes have given up.
With all cabbage family crops you can start seed early, as the seedlings and young transplants will take temperatures down to 25o without suffering.
Lettuce too is happy in cooler climates, especially leaf lettuce varieties and butterhead types. Get some early crops by sowing your vegetable seeds indoors and then transplanting outdoors, rather than direct seeding in your vegetable garden.
Peas are also an excellent cold-climate crop which will keep producing while the weather stays cool. For success, direct seed one month before the average date of the last frost in your area. Regular pea varieties produce a single crop, but Snow Peas will keep flowering and producing new pods if they are picked regularly and if the weather stays cool.
So even if you garden in cool areas, careful choices of vegetable seeds will make sure you get the best from your vegetable garden.