Winter Gardening in Kansas City: What to Plant and When
Explore a comprehensive guide to the best crops for winter gardening in the Kansas City area, including planting schedules (at the bottom of the page) and tips for success. (Find my favorite gardening essentials here)
Hey fellow green thumbs,
Winter in Kansas City isn't just for cozying up indoors – it’s also a great time to get your hands dirty in the garden! Despite our chilly winters, there are plenty of crops that can brave the cold and give us a bountiful harvest. Think crisp arugula, sweet carrots, and earthy beets. My personal favorite is garlic – Planting those pungent cloves in November means you’ll be rewarded with fresh bulbs come summer.
I usually mark my calendar for the fall planting. Around late August to September, I start sowing seeds directly into the soil for veggies like broccoli, cabbage, and that garlic I can’t get enough of. And let's not forget Kale! It's like the superhero of winter greens, toughing it out through frosty nights.
When the snow starts to fall and January rolls around, I like to get ahead of the game by dreaming about my spring garden. I’ll grab a cup of hot cocoa, flip through seed catalogs, and pick out the must-haves like heirloom tomatoes and specialty lettuces. It’s also the perfect time to start some seeds indoors (a greenhouse is on my wish list). There's something so rewarding about watching those little green sprouts push up while everything outside is dormant.
Spinach and arugula are not only frost-friendly, they’re downright delicious this time of year. Plant them as the fall colors peak, and you’ll be serving up zesty salads while the rest of the neighborhood looks on with envy.
Let’s not forget about our subterranean friends, the beets and carrots. Tuck them into the fall soil and they’ll hunker down, only to emerge sweeter from the chill. And then there’s garlic, the stalwart of the winter garden. Plant those cloves as the November chill sets in, and come summer, you’ll have the most enviable grill seasoning on the block.
Our hearty greens like kale and cabbage are no strangers to Jack Frost. They stand tall and tasty, ensuring our plates stay full of green goodness, no matter the weather. If your variety pack has peas, get them in early. They’re a little like us, resilient in the face of a frost, promising the sweet taste of spring is never too far away.
Now, while the snow dusts our rooftops, it's also the perfect time for garden prep and daydreams of spring. A seed variety pack has some springtime favorites – think heirloom tomatoes and specialty lettuces. These gems can start off indoors, basking under a grow light, and when they're ready, they'll make the transition to your outdoor garden oasis.
Winter also gives us the chance to pamper our tools and soil, ensuring everything is in tip-top shape for when the planting frenzy begins. Sharpen those pruners, test that soil, and sketch out your garden plan. Trust me, a little bit of planning now prevents a whole heap of trouble later.
So, let’s embrace the chill and start planting. Our winter gardens are a testament to our tenacity – with some well-chosen crops and a dash of care, we’ll be reaping what we sow all winter long, keeping our green thumbs agile and our spirits high. Let’s bundle up and keep the gardening spirit alive in Kansas City!
Winter is also perfect for some garden TLC. I give my tools some love with a good sharpening, test the soil (gotta make sure it’s ready for spring), and sketch out my garden plan. Winter is also a great time to purchase new garden tools, as they are more likely to be on sale in the winter time. I've shared my favorite gardening tools here. I learned the hard way that a little planning goes a long way in avoiding a veggie-patch disaster.
So, let’s not let the cold weather put a freeze on our gardening. With a little prep and some frost-tolerant crops, we can keep our green thumbs... well, green, all year round!
Here's a timeline for planting your winter garden in Kansas City, Zone 6a:
- Garlic: Plant cloves before the ground freezes for a harvest in the coming summer.
Late Fall (Late November - Early December):
- Spinach: Can be planted late in the fall for an early spring harvest.
- Arugula: Same as spinach, plant now to enjoy fresh greens at winter's end.
- Onion Sets: Depending on the weather, you can plant these early in the year.
- Seed Planning: Not planting, but this is the time to buy seeds for the spring, including peas, specialty lettuces, and heirloom tomatoes.
Late Winter (Late February - Early March):
- Peas: Get these in the ground as soon as the soil can be worked for a spring harvest.
- Lettuce: Start indoors or in a cold frame for an early start.
- Kale: Can be started indoors or in a cold frame for transplanting in early spring.
- Cabbage: Start indoors to transplant after the last frost.
- Broccoli: Same as cabbage, start indoors for transplanting in spring.
It's important to note that actual planting times can shift based on the specific conditions of the year, such as an unusually warm or cold winter. Always be prepared to protect your plants with row covers if a sudden freeze is expected after planting.