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Archive date:  April 2, 2005

Vegetable Gardening

Cool Season or Warm Season?

Did you know the flavor of some vegetables, such as kale, celery, parsnips, and brussels sprouts, is improved by a light frost? If you haven't planted your cool season garden yet, now is the time.

Now, I don't want to mislead you. Although all cool season vegetables are regarded as cold tolerant; sudden, severe drops in temperature can damage and even kill some. Check the list below to determine if your favorite vegetables are truly cold tolerant.

Cool Season Vegetables

Cool Season Vegetables:
prefer a mean temperature of 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit, will not tolerate temperatures above 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit, and will tolerate some frost.

Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, broccoli, turnips, radish, mustard, rutabagas, kohlrabi, spinach, parsnips, lettuce, and celery.

Cool/Warm Season Vegetables:Two Divisions
1. prefer a mean temperature of 55-75 degrees Fahrenheit, and will tolerate some frost.

Onions, beets, garlic, carrots, leeks, shallots, and potatoes

2. prefer a mean temperature of 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit, and will not tolerate frost.

Muskmelons, cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, beans, tomatoes, peppers, and sweet corn.

Warm Season Vegetables

Warm Season Vegetables:
prefer a mean temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and will not tolerate cool weather. However, you can go ahead and sow seeds indoors for transplanting later this spring. Visit the University of Tennessee Extension Service website for more information on vegetables and how to start them indoors.

Watermelons, sweet potatoes, eggplant, some peppers, and okra.

Perennial Crops: Asparagus, globe artichoke, and rhubarb.