Vegetables, Herbs and Flowers to Plant in January

Women Planting in WInter
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January isn't thought of as a prime gardening month, in many areas, but gardeners in frost-free areas know that it's the perfect time for cool season vegetables and flowers. January can also be a complicated month for you. It may be warm enough to direct sow much of your garden, however, it is always a gamble and you would be wise to keep your row covers handy, just in case.

If you garden where there is a long, frozen winter, your only problem will be summoning the patience to resist...MORE starting your seeds too early. Shop for your seeds and get your supplies in order. Your planting season is not far away.

Sudden storms and an unpredictable season make it difficult to know just when to start your vegetable and flower seeds in spring. Below are some guidelines, based on USDA hardiness zones and the last expected frost date. However, hardiness zones are just a measure of the highest and lowest average temperatures. Weather and growing conditions can vary widely within zones. Be sure to use your common sense.

  • 01 of 05

    USDA Hardiness Zones 1 - 5

    Microgreens in Pots
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    Content yourself with growing something fresh indoors. Seeds of microgreens are readily available in January. You can plant a mix or grow some of your outdoor favorites, such as arugula, beet greens, mizuna and pea shoots.

    Growing sprouts is another option. They germinate in days and are packed with nutrients. Mix things up a bit and try radish, peas and even sunflowers.

  • 02 of 05

    USDA Hardiness Zone 6

    Starting Seeds
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    Vegetables and Herbs: Now is the time to start seed indoors of notoriously slow-to-grow celery, parsley, onions and leeks. Celery and parsley seeds need several weeks just to germinate. Onions take several months to grow large enough to transplant outdoors, but it's worth it because seedlings have a higher success rate in the garden than bulbs do. You can also have your choice of onion varieties if you start from seed–large yellow bulbs, red torpedos and even doughnut-shaped cipollini.     ...MORE     


    • Indoors: Start early spring bloomers such as begonia, browallia, delphinium, dusty miller, pansies and snapdragons, indoors under lights.
    • Outdoors: You can still plant any daffodil and tulip bulbs you didn't get to last fall. If the bulbs have remained firm and you get enough of a chill, you could get flowers this year.
  • 03 of 05

    USDA Hardiness Zone 7

    Vegetable Seedlings
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    Vegetables and Herbs: If you haven't started your celery, parsley, leeks and onions, get them started indoors. Toward the end of the month, you can also start broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and lettuce indoors, to transplant outdoors, when the weather warms.


    • Indoors: Seeds of geranium and coleus can be started at the end of the month. They need several months to mature into transplants.
    • Outdoors: January weather in zone 7 is some of the trickiest to predict. Take advantage of...MORE this and direct sow flower seeds that germinate better with the stratification of freezing and thawing, like larkspur, poppies and Nigella.
  • 04 of 05

    USDA Hardiness Zone 8

    Planting Strawberries
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    Vegetables and Herbs:

    • Indoors: If you haven't started your celery, parsley, leeks and onions, get them seeded early in the month. Peppers can also be sown indoors since they will need extra time to grow to transplant size.  

      Cool season cole crops, such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and other cooking greens, as well as lettuce, grow quickly and can be started indoors mid-January to be ready to transplant into the garden in about 8 to 10 weeks, just in time for early spring weather.

    • Ou...MOREtdoors: If the soil is able to be worked, bare-root asparagus and strawberry plants can be planted as they become available in nurseries. This is also a good time to plant fruit trees.

      If you are having a mild winter, you can transplant seedlings of onions, broccoli, cabbage, chard and kale. Harden them off first, and keep the row covers handy. If the ground is not still saturated from winter, you can also direct sow root vegetables and hardy greens, such as beets, bok choy, carrots, radishes and even peas.

    Flowers: It's time to direct sow early annual flowers, such as calendula, impatiens, larkspur, pansies, poppies and Nigella.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    USDA Hardiness Zones 9 - 10

    Harvesting Lettuce
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    Vegetables and Herbs:

    • Indoors: Start seeds of eggplant, kale, lettuce, melon, peppers, squash, tomatoes and basil, so that transplants will be ready to harden off, as the weather heats up.
    • Outdoors: Your cool growing season is in full swing. Transplant seedlings of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, chard and Asian greens. It's also safe to direct sow several vegetables in your garden, including arugula, cabbage, carrots, kale, lettuce, onions, peas, radishes, spinach and turnips. Be sure to succe...MOREssion sow, to keep the harvest coming.

      Cool-season herbs such as chives, cilantro and parsley, should be sown now, as well.

      Cold hardy fruit trees, such as peaches and nectarines, can be planted now, but hold off planting tender fruits such as citrus, until the weather stays warm.