Gardens in USDA zone 6 usually experience winters that are hard, but not so hard that plants can’t survive with some protection. While winter gardening in zone 6 won’t yield lots of edible produce, it’s possible to harvest cold weather crops well into the winter and to keep many other crops alive until the spring thaw. Keep reading to learn more about how to grow winter vegetables, in particular how to treat winter vegetables for zone 6.
Winter Gardening in Zone 6
When should you be planting winter vegetables? Many cool weather crops can be planted in late summer and harvested well into the winter in zone 6. When planting winter vegetables in late summer, sow the seeds of semi-hardy plants 10 weeks before the average first frost date and hardy plants 8 weeks before.
If you start these seeds indoors, you’ll protect your plants from both the hot summer sun and capitalize on space in your garden. Once the seedlings are about 6 inches (15 cm.) tall, transplant them outdoors. If you’re still experiencing hot summer days, hang a sheet over the plants’ south-facing side to protect them from the afternoon sun.
It’s possible to protect cool weather crops from the cold when winter gardening in zone 6. A simple row cover works wonders at keeping plants warm. You can go a step further by constructing a hoop house out of PVC pipe and plastic sheeting.
You can make a simple cold frame by building walls out of wood or straw bales and covering the top with glass or plastic.
Sometimes, mulching heavily or wrapping plants in burlap is enough to keep them insulated against the cold. If you do build a structure that’s tight against the air, make sure to open it up on sunny days to keep the plants from roasting.