5 Vegetables to Grow in January
Spring might feel very far away. But don't worry! You can grow in January too. Here are my five favorite vegetables to grow in winter.
Can't wait to start growing? It's a new year after all and plenty of people are starting to share pictures of plants on their social media feeds. Of course you should sow something! You actually have a lot of options of things to grow in January.
Since it's still early days, you need to be a bit more careful about which vegetables to grow. And you need to think about the location too.
Here are a few of my favorite vegetables to grow in January, plus a flower too. I picked these plants for a few different kinds of spots and you should be able to find something that works for you. Regardless if you live in a house with a garden, have a greenhouse or perhaps grow on the balcony of your apartment.
Spinach is probably the best possible vegetable to grow in January. Even outdoors. It can get quite cold up here in northern Europe with plenty of snow. But the seeds do just fine in the cold soil. You can just remove the snow on top of a raised bed, scatter the seeds on the frozen soil and then cover the area with some thawed soil from a bag. Then all you need to do is wait!
Spinach seeds germinate even at low temperatures (40 degrees or 4 degrees Celsius) and you can start harvesting very early. There are plenty of options for spots too. For example the beds outside, raised beds or pots in the greenhouse or in troughs on a balcony. Spinach is however not the best choice to grow indoors in winter. It can be a bit particular about the light and bolts if it gets too much of it.
Dill can sometimes be a bit tricky to grow in summer. It might not germinate as planned and a lot of people find it difficult in general. But this is actually a great choice to grow in January. In fact, it's easier to grow during this time of the year. You can simply scatter the seeds on top of the soil or sow them in tight rows, just like I did with the spinach. Remember that both dill and spinach need nutrient-rich soil. If you haven't fertilized the soil before sowing, then you might get disappointing results with both these plants. So, make sure to fertilize before you get started. Bury compost, manure or use a liquid fertilizer.
A great thing about dill which makes it perfect to grow in January is that the seeds don't freeze if you sow them in winter. Of course, they won't germinate quite as early as the spinach, but you can still get a nice early spring harvest. You can also sow your dill seeds indoors under a grow light.
The carrots we grow in winter can usually be harvested in late spring or early summer, depending on where you live of course. A winter sowing will generally produce a harvest around a month before the sowings you do in spring. Sow varieties that are described as early carrots or summer carrots in rows, or do a broadcast-sowing on top of the soil. You can grow carrots in the beds outside, raised beds, your greenhouse or in large (and deep) pots and buckets.
Remember that the carrots need deep soil to grow. Of course, you can always go for a round variety (for example Paris Market) and grow it in a planter on your balcony. The carrot seeds do just fine in frozen soil. It's actually more difficult to grow carrots indoors. If you want to try it though, remember that the carrot tops are edible. In case the carrots themselves just don't work out, that is!
If you don't have a garden of your own (or if it's completely covered with snow) then you might want to try something that you can harvest indoors. My best tip to grow in January is bok choy. You can cook it or eat it fresh, and it's easy to grow a lot of bok choy leaves. You do however need to use a grow light for around 12-14 hours a day. Why not sow the seeds close together in old candy boxes with holes in the bottom. You should be able to harvest your bok choy around three weeks after sowing. The same type of sowing can be done for the balcony too. The seeds germinate and grow quickly in early spring.
By now, a lot of us start sowing the vegetables we transplant to the garden and outdoor pots later. Taller tomato plants should generally be sown in spring, but if you want to grow in January, then you might want to try the potted tomatoes. The variety Vilma is my favorite. You can for example sow five seeds (not too many, since they take up some space even if the plants are relatively small) in a pot. Transplant the seedlings to individual pots when they grow a bit larger. Remember that you need to keep the grow light on if you want to try growing tomatoes in winter. The plants might get a bit leggy and weak if you don't. You can generally start harvesting tomatoes from the plants you grow in January already in May!
Some of you might want to sow a flower for your garden too. So, here we have an option to grow in January: Cornflower! Most people probably think about the color blue when they hear the word cornflower. But did you know that they come in lots of different colors? Everything from nearly black to white, pink, red and purple. And then all the different shades of blue of course. So pretty! Did you know that cornflower is edible too?
I sow my cornflowers right in the beds outside. You can also put them in pots and troughs outside or in the greenhouse. The seeds germinate early and produce a lot of plants. You don't have to transplant your flowers to a different location if you sowed them right in the beds. But make sure to do so if you grow them in a container of some kind. A great tip for cornflowers is to cut them as they grow. This will make them produce even more flowers.