Forget the winter blues. January is a time to get creative and have some fun with gardening! Planting vegetables in the colder months can be incredibly rewarding, producing tasty results while giving your garden an extra bit of love.
Whether you’re looking for something low-maintenance or more of a challenge, there are plenty of veggies to choose from that go beyond zucchini and tomatoes. Here are seven delicious vegetables you can plant in January that will be ready to be harvested this spring. Get started on livening up your winter garden with these seasonal veggie picks!
If you want to start your summer harvest, planting cabbage in January is the way to go! Cabbage is an easy-to-grow vegetable that matures quickly and adds a great flavor to your meals.
By starting your seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the last spring frost, you can ensure a vigorous and healthy crop for the summer months. Planting early reduces the risk of pests and disease, allowing your plants to grow with less stress.
When it comes time for transplanting outdoors, harden off the plants at least one week before planting. It involves slowly introducing the seedlings to outdoor conditions by placing them outside for several hours each day, gradually increasing the time they spend outside until they acclimate to full-day exposure.
Additionally, it’s best to transplant on a cloudy day when temperatures are cooler, and there’s minimal stress on the seedlings. Wait two to three weeks before the last spring frost date to plant your growing cabbage in the ground.
Spinach is an ideal crop to start a new gardening year, as it thrives in cooler temperatures. To get started, make sure that the soil warms up to at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit before sowing your seeds. To speed up the warming process, consider covering the soil with black plastic for a few days before seeding.
Once your soil is ready, sow your spinach seeds directly into the ground and wait for them to sprout! While you can start spinach indoors, it’s best to plant them outdoors since seedlings are difficult to transplant. With six weeks of cool weather from seeding to germination, January is the perfect month to get growing.
If you’re looking to plant lettuce in January, you can start indoors as early as mid-December. Plant the seeds in a seed tray or small pots and place them near a sunny window so they get plenty of sunlight for germination. Starting lettuce indoors is vital because cold weather may affect their growth. Keep the soil temperature between 45- and 65 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal results.
When planting outdoors after your last spring frost date, harden off the plants before transplanting them outside. Cold-adapted varieties can survive lower temperatures, but it’s still best practice this step. Alternatively, if you’d rather sow seeds, do it two to four weeks before your last spring frost date or as soon as you can work the ground.
Growing turnip seeds in January will give you a jump start on your garden for a late spring harvest. When planting turnips, prepare the soil by loosening it to a depth of 12 to 15 inches and mixing in 2 to 4 inches of aged manure or compost. Add more if your soil is heavy or clay-like as it will help with drainage.
Turnips grow best when temperatures are between 40 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, so monitor the weather forecast before planting. Additionally, sow your turnip seeds about two to three weeks before the average last spring frost date in your area.
If you’re looking for a fun way to get started with your garden this winter, why not try planting radishes? They are one of the hardiest root vegetables, well-suited to colder temperatures. Planting radishes in January provides an ideal environment for them to thrive. Sow seeds four to six weeks before the last spring frost, and harvest your radishes as early as late spring!
In fact, don’t sow any radishes if the temperatures reach 70 degrees Fahrenheit or you risk your crop bolting.
Peas are one of the few cool-season crops that can survive frosts and light freezes, so don’t hesitate to break out the trowel as soon as the ground is workable. As long as you can stick your finger into the soil without it freezing solid, you’re ready to go.
The temperature of your garden will play a big role in how successful your pea planting is. If you want to ensure success, plant it when the garden’s temperature is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit (they’ll even germinate at this temperature).
Depending on where you live, this should be easy this time of year! Once planted, water them well, and they should sprout within a few weeks.
Swiss chard is a hardy, cold-tolerant vegetable that can thrive in cooler temperatures, making it perfect for sowing in the early winter months. In fact, if temperatures dip to even 32 degrees Fahrenheit, you can sleep soundly knowing your crop will survive.
To prepare your plants for the upcoming season, you’ll want to soak the seeds overnight before planting to help speed up germination.
Plant the seeds two to three weeks before the last frost date of spring, and with a little patience and care, you’ll be able to harvest fresh greens from your garden come springtime!
Time To Face The Cold!
Planting a winter garden may seem like a daunting task, but with the right vegetables and some effort, you’ll feel equipped to successfully plan, plant, and harvest the fruits of your labor.
One of the best parts about gardening is the satisfaction of eating fresh-from-the-garden produce. So, grab your seeds or seedlings and get planting! With seven delicious vegetables sure to add flavor and nutrition to your winter garden, you can’t go wrong.
Why not share in their harvest success? Leave a comment below and share with your family and friends what made you successful in growing your winter garden.