What To Plant In January: A Guide To Cold Weather Crops

garden vegetables to plant in january


Since winters in North Carolina tend to be mild, figuring out what to plant in January wasn’t as difficult for me as it can be for those in colder climates. Even so, understanding what plants thrive in cooler temperatures and what seedlings I could start for upcoming months leveled up my gardening skills. Whether you’re an experienced gardener or you’re new to seasonal homesteading, the chart below will give you clear-cut instructions for what vegetables to plant in January.

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Hi, I’m Ryan

Here in the Carolinas, it doesn’t get that cold — it may hit freezing a handful of nights out of the year. Throughout many seasons of fine-tuning my gardening techniques and learning what to plant in January, I’ve learned the value of cultivating cold-hardy plants and using row covers to shield them from occasional freezes.

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How Do I Choose What To Plant In January?

What To Plant In January

If you’re new to gardening, learning what to plant in January might sound kind of out there, but I think you’ll be surprised at the hardiness of many vegetables. The great thing about modern gardening is that you don’t have to learn what things to plant in January by trial and error. Instead, you can just consult this handy chart that I’ve created for you and choose your favorites from the list.

what to plant in winter

Keep in mind that many of the vegetables in the chart below don’t have to be planted in January, but having the option is a life-saver for those of us who don’t always get all of our fall plants started before winter sets in. Many fall crops like potatoes and garlic can still thrive if you don’t have time to plant them until January, but you probably shouldn’t wait much longer than that.

what to plant in december

The January vegetables toward the end of this chart tend to grow best in spring, but if you’re shooting for a sustainable homestead and want to grow some early vegetables, these ones can grow in January if you live in moderate climates like I do.

Reading homesteading books is a great way to keep up with the best gardening tips and techniques.

Seeds To Sow In January: Preparing For Growing Season

Seeds To Plant In January

When growing your own vegetables on your homestead or in a small urban garden, there’s always plenty of work to be done, even in the depths of winter, and planning ahead by starting seeds in January will set you up for success. Proper planning is a very important step so you’re prepped and ready for the prime growing season ahead. Below is a list of plants to start indoors in January so that you’ll be ready to transplant seedlings to your garden for a nice spring harvest.

To naturally fertilize your garden all year long, maintain a good-sized compost pile with your whole food and garden scraps.

What Seeds To Start In January To Prepare For The Months Ahead

  • Swiss Chard
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Celeriac
  • Celery
  • Chives
  • Leeks
  • Scallions
  • Lemongrass
  • Cilantro
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Parsley
  • Dill

How To Store Garden Seeds After Planting Your January Vegetables

Now that you know what to start planting in January you’ve already got an amazing head start on your garden at the beginning of every year. It feels so great to start every new year literally sowing seeds for the future. But, once you’ve finished planting your seeds, what do you do with the leftovers?

homesteading skills

Living in a tiny home has given me serious organization skills, and I’ve put these to good use in the gardening department. What I’ve found is that no matter how large or small your homestead, easy-access organizers are key.

I like to organize my seeds in a three-ring binder with pages made of clear, seed-storage pockets. You could also choose a box with different compartments, but a binder is the easiest way to categorize, store, and find the packets that I need. However you choose to organize your seeds, be sure to store them in a cool, dry place that isn’t exposed to direct sunlight.

FAQs About What To Plant In January

FAQs About What To Plant In January

It’s natural to have lots of questions about what vegetables to plant in January, as it’s not a time of year most people think about gardening. I know I’m not the only one who likes to get a head start on my spring planting, though, as many of us love having farm fresh produce for as much of the year as possible. At the end of the day, these two questions are the ones I get the most about what to plant in January.

What Can I Plant In January According To My Growing Zone?

What do you plant in January, and what is a growing zone? Unsurprisingly, the plants to plant in January are the vegetables with the highest cold tolerances (or the ones you can germinate indoors to plant in the spring). The truth is, though, that the best growing vegetables in January will depend on what climate zone you’re in.

how to start homesteading squareA growing zone, or a plant hardiness zone, refers to the USDA’s color-coded map, which is divided into different climate types, or zones. These zones are determined by the coldest average temperatures each region reaches during the winter, which determines what plants can thrive in each zone during the colder months of the year.

My area of North Carolina is in growing zone 7, which has hot, humid summers and mild winters with few freezes. Your zone might be very different from mine. If you don’t know your growing zone, the quickest thing for you to do is to check out the USDA’s map of growing zones to figure out which zone you’re in.

While I didn’t target my growing chart at any specific zone, in order to make it as useful as possible, here’s a look at what to plant in January based on where you live to give you an idea of which plants might thrive best in your location. For example, if you’re wondering when to start tomato seeds indoors in zone 9, that would be late January through early April.

What To Plant In January By Zone (Including Seeds To Sow In January)

  • Zones 3–5: Herbs
  • Zones 5–6: Leafy Greens, Alliums (Onions, Leeks, Scallions, etc.), Herbs
  • Zone 7–8: Parsleys, Herbs, Alliums, Roots, Cruciferous (Broccolli, Cauliflower, etc.), Perennials, Leafy Greens
  • Zone 9–10: Alliums, Cruciferous, Herbs, Tomatoes, Peppers, Eggplants, Asparagus, Parsleys, Leafy Greens

What Tools Can I Use To Plant Vegetables In January?

Hopefully, I’ve answered any questions you have about what you can plant in January. But I’d like to add that many people find tools and equipment to make growing January vegetables a bit easier, such as heated propagators, cold frames, and greenhouses. Aside from these cold-weather growing aids, you’ll want your usual gardening tools such as trowels, gloves, pots, and supports.

To prepare your transplanted January vegetables for freezes, soak your soil with water and layer it with compost before covering your plants.

Ultimately, while you’re growing vegetables in January, you’ll also be spending a lot of time planning your planting and harvesting schedule for the seasons ahead. Now that you know what zone you’re growing in and the basics of what to plant in January, get your new year started with growth, vegetation, and a future filled with promise and amazing harvests!

what to plant in february

Your Turn!

  • What are your go-to seeds to sow in January?
  • What January vegetables will you be planting next year based on your zone?

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