Another new year means another opportunity to start sowing some seeds for the seasons ahead. Despite January often seeming like a dormant month, there are actually quite a few flowers, trees, fruits, and vegetables that we can get a head start on.
It’s important to note that early sowing doesn’t apply to all plants. The majority benefit from later sowing when it’s a little warmer and there’s more sunlight. However, there are exceptions to this rule and some plants and vegetables will actually benefit from being started now. So, if you have an eager green finger for planting, read on.
Bare root fruit trees and bushes
- Planting bare root during the winter months is best for fruit trees and bushes, however, it’s important that the ground isn’t frozen when doing so.
- You can also plant new trees in containers during the month of January and keep them in a storage space until the weather improves or you can plant them in the soil if the earth isn’t too hard. These also tend to be easier to care for during the winter months as they need less watering compared to those planted in spring / summer.
- Starting flowers like Begonia, Geranium (Pelargonium) and Dianthus (Carnations/Pinks) indoors is a perfect job for January (if you want good results) as they often take long to flower and need a lengthy growth period.
- You can sow Sweet Peas in January for early flowering but it’s best to keep them at a low heat (unheated greenhouse) when starting them off.
- Other flowers which are suitable to sow include, Coleus, Iceland Poppies, Petunias, and Delphinium. Remember these seeds should be planted using organic, peat-free compost.
Vegetables and herbs
- For early crops, vegetables such as spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, salad onions and turnips can all be started in January provided they are sown and kept indoors.
- You can sow broad beans in pots and store them in a cold frame or unheated greenhouse.
- Onion seeds can be sown in a heated propagator until germination. When all frost has passed these can then be transferred outdoors.
- Herbs such as basil, coriander, oregano, and mint to name just a few can all be sown and placed on your windowsill bringing some colour and fragrance to your kitchen during the winter months.
These are just a few options you can sow for early pickings come springtime. It’s important to remember planting too early can often cause weak seedlings prone to ‘damping off’ or they can get etiolated (stretch toward the light). So, always read the packaging of your seeds to find out when is best to sow for optimal results.