I'm wondering if these plants will last another two weeks to Thanksgiving.

I live in northern Vermont and the gardening season is well over. We turned over and composted the beds, and have had many frosts by now. Yesterday there were the first snow flurries of the year.

We took out most of the plants other than kale, brussel sprouts and the leeks and have been enjoying them right up to now without any apparent problems. But this is the first time the ambient air temperature has been around freezing during the day (upcoming weather below). As we transition from fall to winter, will these three vegetables be ok for another two weeks? And if not, what is the best way to try to make them last to thanksgiving?

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2 Answers 2


They really are remarkably hardy, though that can also be enhanced somewhat if you toss some row cover over them, or straw (leaves also work and may be easier to lay your hands on a supply of) around the leeks. It also helps (with the non-leeks, at least) to harvest when the air temperature is above freezing (even if they have been frozen) at least according to Eliot Coleman (I personally admire their hardiness but cannot find it in me to like them much, though that may change if I convert them into sauerkale or sauersprouts, since I don't like cabbage, either, but I like sauerkraut just fine. So I don't have much personal experience with picking them - but I've seen them look happy in the snow in January.)


Depends... Standard leeks are very hardy. But there are 'summer leeks' which are not so much. I think if you had those you'd already be seeing a loss in quality. If you know the variety look them up. Mulching them up will help them keep quality and blanch them a bit too - and there should be loads of leave to do this with now.

Kale is similar. There are a lot of types of kale. The old standards types of Russian and Scots' kale are both extremely hardy. Other types can vary. They salad/young green varieties that have come out more recently are not nearly as hardy. The popular Tuscan kale is pretty hardy, but not as much as the Russian or Scots'.

Both Kale and Leeks have overwintered here in zone 4-5 conditions for me.

Brussels Sprouts. Well, I was going to ask your question about these myself. I could not find definitive info yesterday... So I covered them with a cloth mulch last night. Got down to 19F, but probably colder in my garden ~15F (the thermometer is near the house). Our temps swing hugely day to night, as today it's going to be in the 40's, maybe 50's. They are fine, but were covered. Regardless they are very hardy. Incidentally you can pull up the whole plants and keep them in a cold area for a few months according to http://www.harvesttotable.com/2009/01/how_to_grow_brussels_sprouts/

My Portugese cabbage - couve tronchuda also did well - much like a collard, it's an open-headed type. Seemed to do just as well as the Brussels Sprouts.

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