The first heavy frost need not put an end to vegetables from the garden. Handled properly, some can last you a long time.
Winter Bloomsdale spinach (from a late August sowing) usually will survive the winter outdoors and be ready to provide fresh greens in the spring. Sometimes they can be harvested in the fall until the ground freezes.
Kale, collards and Brussels sprouts really take cold weather. They taste much better after being frost-bitten and sometimes can be picked from under ice and snow in the winter.
Turnips, rutabages, beets and carrots can be harvested well into winter. Late plantings (from mid-June to mid-July) produce roots just right to store in a cool, dark, frost-free place.
Turnips and rutabagas can be stored in the garden. Don't take them up, just cover the rows in late fall with a thick lawyer of straw, salt hay or evergreen boughs. Whenever the weather permits, push aside the covering and take as many roots as you want.
During normal winter celeriac will last until early December without protection. It can be harvested, buried in the garden and used in the spring.
Parsnip, salsify and root parsley will survive some pretty rough winter weather. All three are improved in flavor by the cold.
Leeks and chives, both from the onion family, are winter hardy. Tyey usually survive without protection until the end of December and often last the whole winter.
Pull up late cabbage and hang the plants upside down in a cool, frost-free shed or cellar.
Beets often survive the early frosts but should be dug before the ground freezes. The long carrots also need to be dug, not pulled, for they are prone to break off in the soil.
Once dug, do not wash or rub the dirt off because it might bruise the skin and let decay in. Store them in a wooden box of slightly moistened asnd and keep them in a shed or cellar slightly above freezing (40 degrees) and moisten slightly if the sand tends to become too dry.
White potatoes, cauliflower and Chinese cabbage need to be store cool (32 to 40 degrees) with relative humidity of 75 to 85 per cent. White potatoes should be kept in a dark place. Light causes the skins to turn green and spoils their flavor.
Sweet potatoes after being dug should be cured for about 10 days at 80 degrees. They will keep for several months if stored at about 60 in a moderately dry basement. Be careful to avoid bruising them.
Onions, beans, peas and soybeans should be stored dry and cool. Winter squash such as butternut and buttercup can be kept three to six months at 50 to 55 degrees. Only fully mature squash should be stored. It will not keep unless it has a hard outer rind.
Most pumpkins should last at least two months if stored at rather low humidity in a somewhat warm place (60 to 65 degrees). They won't last long if stored before they are fully ripe.
It is a good idea to have a thermometer in the place where the vegetables are stored.