Fruit & vegetable growing guide for January
25th January 2022
January is the month where you prepare for a new growing year, and it is generally a very cold month with hard frosts commonly causing the ground to freeze. Although the UK is in the midst of winter, it doesn’t mean that you have to abandon your garden or that there is nothing for you to do during the month.
If you suffer from mobility problems meaning you need to use aids such as a curved stairlift or a walking aid, you will need to be careful of potential ice when you are out in your garden during this time of the year, but there are all sorts of jobs you can do.
This guide takes you through the different types of vegetables to plant in the UK in January and the fruit to plant as well as what other jobs you can do throughout the month.
Vegetables to plant in January in the UK
January is a month where you can still keep busy in the garden as there are plenty of vegetables you can plant indoors and outdoors. Read on to find out what you can plant this month.
Garlic is a member of the onion family, and it is simple to grow. It is grown from cloves and develops best in a sunny site with well-drained soil, but it can be planted in January as it does better following a period of cold.
Tom, who is the author of Died and Gone to Devon, a blog about living the good life in the county of Devon, talks about growing garlic in his garden.
“Garlic is very easy to grow in the right conditions, and I think one of the easier crops. In the South of England, for over 20 years, I have never had a garlic crop fail, just one that did not perform as expected, but still produced garlic for the kitchen.
“For planting, you shouldn’t buy your garlic from a local supermarket or grocer. This garlic has often been imported from warmer climates and is not suitable for growing in the UK. Instead, buy garlic as bulbs from your local garden centre. There are many varieties to buy, from strong tasting to mild garlic and even a large mild-tasting Elephant Garlic.”
READ MORE: Fruit & vegetable growing guide for December
Onions and shallots
Onions and shallots are low-maintenance and undemanding and a good crop of either vegetable will be produced in any well-drained, fertile soil in the sun. Onions and shallots need a long growing period which is why in January you can sow shallot or onion seeds and either keep them in a greenhouse or shed as they love temperatures from 10-16°C. You can then transport them into pots and put them outdoors to acclimatise in early spring before putting them in the ground.
The 3 Growbags, a gardening blog run by three sisters who take a light-hearted look at seasonal gardening issues and share tips to keep you on track during the summer and winter, highly recommend sowing onions: “You can also sow onions now in a heated propagator, which will give you bigger onions eventually than ‘sets’ you plant out in April.”
Although February and March are the more popular months to sow broad beans, you can start sowing broad beans in pots in mild areas, placing them in a cold frame or unheated greenhouse in January. By doing this you will be able to harvest them earlier in the year and if it is a particularly cold month in January, you can sow seeds beneath cloches or fleece.
Broad beans are simple to grow and can germinate within three weeks. After around six weeks the roots should have filled their pots and the seedlings will harden off and be ready to plant out in well-drained soil.
Lettuces, cabbages and cauliflowers
You can sow seeds such as lettuces and other brassicas like cabbages and cauliflowers indoors in January. By planting in January, you will get early crops by the summer.
Bite Sized Gardening talk a bit more about planting lettuces at the start of the year: “Lettuce are tough little blighters. I’ve sown in January, planted in the field in late Feb, and seen the wind strip every leaf off the plants. A few weeks later the plant has then thrown new shoots and sprung back into life. From these ‘decimated’ crops I’ve harvested superb outdoor lettuce crops in May.”
If you are sowing lettuce now, you will need to keep the plants indoors and they can be grown in a cold greenhouse and then harvested as early as April. Cauliflower should be started in plug trays and then transferred to pots until they are big enough to plant out. Cauliflower that is sown in January can be harvested in June or July.
READ MORE: Fruit & vegetable growing guide for November
Peas are hardy vegetables that can also be sown in January. They can be sown in large pots and can be started in a cold greenhouse and then placed outside when you need space for spring sowings.
If you don’t have a greenhouse then you can sow the peas in pots and just place them outside from day one. They will take longer to grow, but when the temperatures begin to rise, they will start to shoot.
When placing your peas outside you should protect the top of the pot with wire mesh or netting to avoid pests such as mice or birds getting at them.
All the vegetables you can plant in January
READ MORE: Fruit & vegetable growing guide for October
Fruit to plant in January
Despite January being a cool season with frosts and the ground freezing, it is time to start thinking about planting fruit and this ranges from bare fruit trees to aubergines, chillies and peppers (yes, they are fruit). Read on to find out what fruit to plant in January.
Chillies and peppers
Growing chillies and peppers at home is easy and there is a whole host of different types to choose from depending on whether you want flavour, heat or colour. With homegrown chillies and peppers, you are in control of what you want, whether that be a mild or extremely hot chilli or red or green pepper, it is up to you.
The vegetables are very versatile as you can grow them on sunny windowsills, in a greenhouse, in containers or directly in the ground.
The 3 Growbags spoke about why chillies and peppers are perfect for sowing in January: “Do start off the seed of chillies and peppers EARLY, because they need a long germination period, and must grow into strong well-rooted plants before they start to produce their fruits. Sprinkle seed thinly onto trays or pots of moist compost, cover with a little more compost, and keep in a warm bright place inside, not letting the compost dry out. A good tip is to leave some seeds to sow in February, in case the first lot don’t make it!”
Eggplants, or aubergines as they are also known, are part of the nightshade family of plants and despite being considered a vegetable, they are technically a fruit because they grow from a flowering plant and contain seeds.
To grow, aubergines need a warm, sunny spot and need a long season to grow. This is why it’s best to seed them in January in moist, peat-free multi-purpose compost that is kept in a heated propagator under a growing light.
Once you notice leaves appearing you can then pot them into individual pots or plant them into your greenhouse when night-time temperatures are above 10°C. You will need to feed the aubergines weekly once the plants have started to flower with a high potash fertiliser and then you can harvest them as and when they appear. If you are planting aubergines outside you will need to wait until there is no risk of frost.
Bare rooted trees (apples, pears, plums)
Bare rooted trees and bushes such as apples, pears, plums, blackcurrants and raspberry can still be planted until March and planting fruit trees like this is a great job to get done in January.
Mark, who is the author of the Vertical Veg gardening blog, shares some tips on what you need to consider if you decide to plant fruit trees in January.
“You’ll need big pots and patience to grow fruit trees successfully in containers (most take several years to fruit productively). But once established they can be productive – and attractive – for many years.
“Most fruits come in many different varieties – and, to make it more complicated, different rootstocks. It’s important you get a variety and rootstock that will grow well in the container and in the amount of sun it will get (have you observed your space to find out?). In my experience, it’s worth seeking out a specialist fruit nursery. You may pay a little more but you’ll usually get a better quality plant, and reduce the risk of getting something unsuitable.”
READ MORE: Fruit & vegetable growing guide for July
All the fruits you can plant in January
•Chillies and peppers
READ MORE: Fruit & vegetable growing guide for August
Other gardening jobs to be done in January
Whilst most of the sowing will be done in pots or indoors in January, there are still lots of gardening jobs you can do at the beginning of the year. If you haven’t done so already, it is time to start digging over your plot and spreading manure or lime over it. For those with mobility issues who need aids such as home stair lifts and walking aids, you should ask a friend or loved one as you may need help carrying out this task.
If you want to get a head start for growing runner beans you can dig a bean trench and January is a great time to start ordering your seeds for the year as you can get some great prices.
Crops that are ready to be harvested in January
This article looks at just some of the fruit and vegetables you can plant in January and the jobs you should consider doing during the month. For more tips and blogs like this, head to our news section.
This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.