A List Of The Best Vegetables To Grow In Minnesota
Here are some of the best vegetables to grow in Minnesota! Just because we may have snow on the ground for what seems like nine months of the year … well, it doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy homegrown vegetables!
Cucumbers, squash and pumpkins (We know they’re technically fruit) do great in Minnesota. Most varieties have short vegetative growth periods. Once these plants transition to fruiting, it’s game on! Cucumbers can grow to harvest size after only a week in many cases. Also, it’s common to get multiple waves of cucumbers per plant per season as the vegetative/flower/fruit stages repeat. Squash and pumpkins will thrive as long as we don’t get a late frost in the spring or early frost in the fall.
Lettuce, chard, kale, mustards and many other types of leafy green vegetables do well in Minnesota. These edible plants can typically withstand a frost. That’s good since we have plenty of opportunity to see frost and snow. This means these plants can start growing well before other heat-loving plants like tomatoes and beans.
We’re surrounded by (on average) 7 million acres of soybeans a year in Minnesota! “Legume” is another word for the Fabaceae family and contains garden favorite plants like peas, beans and peanuts. These all grow in Minnesota. The best part about legumes is their ability to “fix” Nitrogen through a special relationship involving rhizobia. In a “pea” nutshell (cue cymbal crash), the rhizobia bacteria is able to take the unusable N2 gas out of the atmosphere and process it into a form the plant can use. It’s basically making its own fertilizer. How cool is nature!?
Melons will grow in Minnesota. However, these can be tough due to the weather. Watermelon plants thrive in warm weather. If we get a late frost in spring or early frost in fall, it can significantly narrow the growing window for these delicious treats. The best way to grow these is by using equipment which helps speed up the growth of the plant like a grow bag! Since grow bags are above ground containers, the roots warm up quicker than traditional garden soil.
Peppers and Tomatoes
Peppers and tomatoes are two of the best “heat-loving” vegetables to grow in Minnesota (pssst. I thought they were considered fruit). HOWEVER, due to the ridiculously short “frost-free” days during the Minnesota Summer (roughly 120 days as a rule of thumb), some planning is needed. Direct seeding is not an option. Also, if you ever see volunteer peppers or tomatoes coming up in the garden, they’ll most likely not produce as much fruit (if any) as other transplanted peppers and tomatoes. Transplanting, therefore, is your best option for growing peppers and tomatoes successfully here in Minnesota.
If it grows below ground, it will most likely grow just fine in Minnesota! Carrots, beets, radishes, onions and potatoes are no problem for our climate. In fact, these plants typically thrive in the early spring and fall due to the cooler weather. They typically don’t experience the same stresses other “cool season” crops face like lettuce since they’re below ground.