Cool Weather Vegetables

To maximize our short growing season here in Michigan, it is best to plant cool weather vegetables in the spring (April) and the late summer (mid-August/September). Our biggest challenge in southwest Michigan is our temperature which moves quickly from very cold to very warm. There are many varieties of vegetables that prefer cool weather. Several of them–carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, produce their best flavor when they mature during the sunny days and cool nights.

Prepare your soil; testing to determine any amendments it may require. Usually soil can be worked March-April depending on temperature and moisture. Check by grabbing a handful of soil and squeezing. If it crumbles when you open your hand it is ready to work.

The majority of cool weather varieties can be planted beginning April 1st. The 2 exceptions are potatoes (planted April 20th) and garlic (planted in the fall). Late season crops can be planted when daytime temperatures are still 60 to 80 ° F with night temperatures above 40 ° F. Be prepared for frost. Cool weather vegetables will tolerate some frost but you can cover plants with newspaper or sheets if you prefer. Be sure to remove the covers once the sun comes up.

Below is a list of vegetables that can be grown and harvested twice each season in southwest Michigan.

Beans-Snap Kohlrabi
Beets Lettuce-Head & Leaf
Broccoli Mustard
Brussels Sprouts Onions- Seeds, Sets, Transplants
Cabbage Parsnips
Carrots Peas
Cauliflower Radishes
Chinese Cabbage Spinach
Collards Swiss Chard
Garlic-Elephant Only Turnips



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