Pulling your vegetable plants at the beginning of fall is a sad moment. It doesn’t need to end there. Start gardening in every season, including winter gardening in the city! Don’t have room for a large green house? Not a problem! Don’t have the money to invest in a pre-made cold frame? You don’t need to.  You are capable of growing successfully in the winter.

Winter Gardening In The City

Where To Grow

Cold Frame: 

The use of cold frame is to reduce the stress of the climate on the plants, as any greenhouse or covering during winter is. Cold frames are typically done over a raise garden bed on the soil in your yard. Using either glass, hard plastic or 6mm plastic to diminish freezing wind and keep warmth from the sun in.  

I chose cold frame for my winter gardening because my beds are not directly on the ground. This give the crops that protection from the cold climate along with preventing my soil from freezing. Down side is I will need to water it more often than you would went directly on the ground soil. I also currently prefer the free standing beds, as I get to treat and use soil to my liking. 

Green House: 

Having a fully built wood and glass green house is an incredible space to grow in the winter. Some heat the space for ability to grow different crops. They are expensive and take up a good amount of space. I often see more bucket growing in green houses. This also allows a space just for seed starting or crops that need a warmer, humid climate to grow in the summer. 


Even if you have set up outside for the winter, one of my favorite places, growing indoors. Find a shelf that fits next to your window and grow some herbs, greens or strawberries. Something to keep the life in the house as the winter freezes over. Growing plants in your house help purify your air quality, lessening the chances of illness to spread. 

Cold Frame Beds – winter gardening

Get Thrifty

To build my cold frames I spent, nothing…in a way. I found old window frames off Craig’s List, stripped and repainted. To which I found the paint in my basement from a pervious project. Wood from again, old projects, the bits and ends. Even the screws, I un-did two old projects, saved the screws and reused to build the frame. Plastic was extra from the chickens compost site.

Save loose material and repurpose it. You will be amazed what you can still do with it. Living in America (maybe its just Minnesota), people leave “free stuff” on the side of the road ALL YEAR LONG. Facebook market place, Craig’s list, people will post about the free stuff they left. Yes, its a hunt. But if the money isn’t there, doesn’t mean you cant do it. You will do what you want to. 

Single Garden Bed – winter gardening

What To Grow

Winter garden does limit what crops you can and cannot grow. Greens (spinach, kale, etc.)  are your best best, they actually taste sweeter with a little frost. A couple others that tend to do well are; broccoli, cauliflower. There are tools listed below that can help you grow more. Such as carrots, beets, and parsnips. More root vegetables. 

Each climate if different. If you are in south Iowa, you might be able to grow even more with adding a cold frame.  

green plant
Growing Kale

Tools That Make More

Adding the cold frame will get you greens. If you are wanting a few more things, or notice your soil is freezing more than you’d hope. I have found great use in these soil warming cables. You add them to your soil 6-12 inches under the soil to keep the soil from freezing through.

They are designed to stay a certain temperature. With that, you will need to make the decrement when to have them on and off. I keep them on if its anything below 0, sometimes just at night. It’s not something you want to be to relied on, in the chance of you ever loosing power or you are tight on keeping bills down. Just a handy tool, if you’re heart desires. 

dried leaf cover by snow at daytime
Frost In Winter

Praying this motivates you to get your winter gardening in the city going! You are able to grow year around, especially with the tools and inventions we have in this day in age. 

 For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden cubes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and justice and praise to spring up before all the nations [through the power of His word] 

Isaiah 61:11