vegetables to plant in january

What Vegetables to Plant in January [UK Vegetable Growing]

There’s not a whole lot going on in the vegetable garden in January.  Usually the coldest month of the year, it’s not the best time to start planting vegetables.   There are, however, some vegetables that you can get started and even grow in January that will provide you with a mid-late Spring harvest.  What vegetables to plant in January in your garden depends very much on whether you’re growing outdoors, whether you have access to a greenhouse or polytunnel and if you have a few warm sunny windowsills in the house that you can utilize.

January in the vegetable garden is also a great time to get organized and plan what you’ll grow throughout the year, organize your space, clean your equipment and get your motivation for vegetable growing up.


What Vegetables to Plant in January

While January isn’t the best time of year in the UK to be planting vegetables, (that would be Spring or Autumn) there are still several vegetables you can sow and get started.  We’ll start with growing vegetables on windowsills inside, you need little space, little equipment but these super easy starters will give you great motivation for growing more!

Plant Chili Peppers in January

We try and start off at least one chilli pepper plant (we use them in lots of cooking and end up preserving our ripe chillies for future use) in November, December, January and February.

chilli plant

Healthy chilli peppers on a windowsill don’t need much encouragement to grow, just a little warmth and as much sunshine as the time of year is going to give them.  Oh, and water, don’t forget to water them!  You can sow chilis at any time of year, but during the winter months, they’re going to need the warmth of being inside.   They don’t need much space.  Find a small pot or container, fill 2/3 with good compost (here are our recommendations of good compost for growing vegetables), sprinkle a few seeds in, cover with compost, water until the compost is moist and sit back and wait.  Your chilli seeds should start to germinate in 7-10 days.

Alternatively, why not look at a chilli pepper growing kit which come with everything that you need.

Sow Broad Beans in January under a cloche, cold frame or in a greenhouse

If you’re in an area of the country where the weather is mild then you can sow broad beans in January.  They’ll need the protection of a cold frame or greenhouse, even in a mild area at least for the first few weeks.  This is our best buy mini green house from our guide on green houses. 

Plant Rhubarb Crowns in January

Rhubarb can be grown from seed, but can’t be harvested until its second year, so you’re best buying a Rhubarb crown (a year old plant) and planting that.  Rhubarb crowns are best planted in the spring and autumn months, but you can also plant a dormant crown now.  Pick up a rhubarb crown and get started now – or read more about growing rhubarb in our guide here.

In a mild winter – sow these vegetables towards the middle or end of January

If the weather is forecast for a mild winter, then you can get a head start on some of the vegetables that you’d traditionally plant during February, these include beetroot, cabbage, carrots, garlic, onions, potatoes and spinach. 

These veg are paricularly good for early season planting.

If you’re successful then you’ll end up with an early harvest – we recommend succession sowing throughout the planting season to ensure a regular supply of your favourite vegetables.  You’ll also have more success if you’re able to offer them some protection – say a clear cold frame, or a mini greenhouse or polytunnel.  You’ll want to have a decent pair of gardening gloves to protect your hands from the elements in January – here’s our guide to the best gloves for gardening in all seasons. 

Sow the following vegetable seeds indoors during January

During January and February, our house tends to look more like a greenhouse.  Every available windowsill is taken.  The front porch also gets taken over and that’s even with the mini greenhouse in the backyard.  Sowing spinach and lettuces for early green harvest is what tends to take over. 

These seeds are excellent to get an early season indoor planting

We sow them inside to give them a head start so that once the threat of the really bad weather goes we can transplant them outside and wait, mouth-watering, for an early harvest of fresh greens!

mini greenhouse

Grow Early Potatoes in Bags Under Cover

We’ve been a big proponent of growing potatoes in bags for a long time.  One of our favourites for an early crop is Charlotte potatoes – we start by chitting them (sprouting) early potatoes by standing them in an old egg box on their end on the window sill of the porch.  Our full guide on how to grow potatoes in bags is here.

Once they’ve sprouted then they go into the potato grow bags in the mini greenhouse in the back yard.

grow potatoes in grow bags

Grow Mushrooms In January

Once you’ve grown your first lot of mushroom you’ll be sold on the idea – mushroom growing kits are the easiest way to grow your own mushrooms.  It drives me nuts that when I buy mushrooms from the supermarket that I have to use that day for them to still be good and fresh.  Growing my own mushrooms means that I get to harvest pretty much when I want and regularly. My favourite variety is the plain white mushrooms, but I must admit I’m being won over to oyster mushrooms too!  These are our favourite kits for mushroom growing if you’re a beginner.


What Vegetables to Harvest in January

January sees us harvesting more of the leeks, which we leave in the ground until we’re ready to use them.  Leeks are pretty hardy and survive most frost and snow.

January is also another month for us when we’ve harvesting fresh mushrooms – we keep a steady supply by using mushroom growing kits and grow them indoors. 

What Jobs to do in the Garden in January

I confess, my favourite job in the vegetable garden in January is to stay indoors!  That works so long as we’ve sorted out the ground, cleaned all the pots and containers and tools in earlier months of course!  And when I say that I’m not keen on the outdoor work of course that doesn’t include sorting out a few broad beans in the greenhouse, managing the germinating seeds on the window sills and watching my chilli pepper plants growing too.

All our monthly vegetable planting guides

Final words on Vegetables to Plant in January

I think what I like best about January in the vegetable garden is the promise of what’s to come.  We start a few seeds on windowsills – ok, so we start off a lot on windowsills – there are potatoes on the go on windowsills and then in the greenhouse and we’re still harvesting leeks from the garden.  January is also the time for us to plan what’s going to be grown in the rest of the garden throughout the year and that’s exciting and interesting too.  Mostly, we’re chomping at the bit for the weather to turn a little warmer so we can get started fully!

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