I know what you are thinking; who the heck plants things in January?! January isn’t thought of as a prime planting and gardening month, but gardeners in frost-free zones know that this is the perfect time for cool-season vegetables. Knowing what to plant in January is the key.
If you live in an area that does get frost, you can always plant indoors and then move your stuff outdoors as the season warms up.
What to Plant in January by Zones
When it comes to gardening, it is important to know what zone you are in. Click here to find your zone. All you need to do to find your zone is type in your zip code. Below, you will see what you can plant in your zone in January!
What to Plant in January in Zones 1-5
If you live in zones 1-5, it’s cold outside in January. This means that you must stick to growing things indoors.
In fact, there are vegetables called microgreens that can be planted indoors and harvested young. In addition to microgreens, here are some other plants you can try:
- Beet greens
- Pea shoots
In zone 6, you can start your plants inside because, in 8-10 more weeks, you can transplant them outside. You have a few more options in this zone than you do zones 1-5. Some seeds you can start inside to transplant later include:
You know how tricky the weather is to predict if you live in zone 7. However, in this zone, you can plant things inside and then transplant it outside when the weather warms up. Some things that do well inside in zone 7 include:
Start these at the end of the month:
What to Plant in January in Zone 8
If you live in zone 8, you are in luck because you can plant things both indoors and outdoors. Many indoor seeds can be transplanted in 8-10 weeks. Here is what you can plant both indoors and outdoors in zone 8:
Plants you can start indoors in January include:
These will need extra time to grow indoors before being transplanted outside. Start them early in the month.
Before planting outdoors, you want to check your soil and make sure it is able to be worked. If it is, then you can plant the following outside in January:
- Bare-root asparagus
- Strawberry plants
- Fruit trees
If the ground is not still saturated from winter, you can also plant the following:
- Bok Choy
If you want to know what to plant in January in zones 9-10, keep in mind that gardening is in full swing for zones 9-10.
The cool growing season is ideal for many herbs and vegetables both indoors and outdoors. If you live in these zones, you have a lot of possibilities.
In January, you can start seeds of vegetables and herbs inside to transplant outside later. Here is what you can start:
As the weather heats up, these seedlings can be transplanted outside.
In zones 9-10, you have quite a few options for what to plant outdoors as well. Here’s what you can transplant outdoors:
- Cabbage, cauliflower
- Asian Greens
Here is what you can direct sow outside during January:
How to Start Seeds Indoors
Because most zones in January are still cold, this means you may have to start many of your plants off indoors.
In fact, some plants such as tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers require much longer growing seasons than what our zone may offer. To ensure healthy growth, many gardeners will start their plants off inside.
If you are new to gardening, you may not know the best way to do this. Follow the instructions below to learn how to start your seeds off indoors!
Buy Your Seeds
Before you begin, the first thing you have to do is to buy your seeds. You don’t want to buy any old seeds, however.
You want your seeds to be provided by a trusted source. Fresher, higher quality seeds have a higher germination rate.
In simple terms, this means you will have more seeds sprout giving you a head start in growing deliciously nutritious veggies.
Pot Seeds with Seed-Starting Mix
The seed-starting mix isn’t actually soil. However, it provides near-perfect conditions for sprouting seeds. It does this by providing a good balance of drainage and water holding capacity while minimizing disease.
Garden soil is not good for starting seeds because it doesn’t drain well and may contain plant disease spores.
Use Pots with Drainage Holes
You can pretty much plant your seeds in whatever you want as long as you poke some holes in the container to allow water drainage. Without water drainage, you can drown your plants. Here are some pot ideas you can try:
- Empty yogurt containers
- Plastic six-packs
- Biodegradable pots
Plant Your Seeds Deep Enough
One thing that many tend to do is plant their seeds too deep. If you plant them too deeply, they won’t sprout. The rule of thumb is to plant your seeds 2-3 times as deep as the seed is wide. For example, a bean would be sewn about an inch deep.
Place Seeds in a Warm Location
After you sow your seeds, you will want to place the pots in a warm location. Some good ideas would be on top of the refrigerator or near a radiator.
Keep Seed Starting Mix Moist
Your seedlings will need both air and water. Therefore, you should strive to keep the mix moist, but not completely saturated. To do this, think of a damp sponge that contains both air and water.
Place Sprouts in a Bright Spot
As soon as your seedlings begin to sprout, you will want to move them to a bright or sunny location. You can place them in a sunny window.
However, if you aren’t getting a lot of sunshine, adding consistent light from supplemental fluorescent lights does the trick. Be sure to suspend the lights an inch or two over the plants.
Once your seedlings have sprouted one or two sets of leaves, it is time to start fertilizing. Use a half-strength fertilizer. Organic fertilizers are the best choice because they provide nutrients and micronutrients that your plants need to thrive.
Make Sure You Only Have 1 Seedling per Pot
You may notice two or more seedlings popping up. You only want 1 seedling per pot. Then, choose the healthiest and strongest looking seedling to keep. Cut the other seedlings off at the soil and discard them.
Planting and growing your own seedlings is a fun and rewarding way to kick off the gardening season.
How To Hand Pollinate If You Need Too
All you need is a paintbrush or cotton swab (see above). If you need to hand pollinate because you are not seeing any fruit develop, here is something you may want to try. You do this by removing the male blossom (male blossoms do not have fruit behind them). They produce pollen leaving the center covered in the pollen to collect with the brush or swab. Use a brush or swab to apply the pollen you collected to the center of the female flower. This works for squash, melons, and cucumbers every time.
As you can see, what to plant in January depends on what zone you live in. If you live in zones 9-10, you have quite a few more options for planting in January than zones 1-5.
Check out our other posts to find out what to plant each month of the year! May God bless this world, Linda