January Garden in the Northern Hemisphere

January is the coldest month of the year in the northern half of the world. The Norseman named January for Thor, their gold of thunder and storms. The Anglo-Saxons called it Wolfmonth because the wolves came into the villages in the dead of winter to search for food.

Legend says that the Roman emperor Numa Pompilius added January and February to the 10-month Roman calendar in about 700 B.C., and that Julius Caesar added the 31st day to January in 46 B.C.

January is named after the Roman god Janus, the god of doors and gates and of beginnings and endings. Passing through a door or gate can be a metaphor for starting something new and leaving something behind, an ending and a beginning. Janus had two faces; one looking ahead and one looking back.

The Romans often prayed to Janus when they were about to start something new. Janus came first among the Roman gods in prayers.

The tradition in ancient Rome was to give friends and family branches of bay and palm trees at the beginning of January. As the ancient Romans used to say, the first month of the year is a time for “turning over a new leaf.”

January harvest in the Northern Hemisphere:

Here is list of some of the vegetables and fruits that will come to harvest in January: Vegetables: beets (beetroot), broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrot, celeriac, chilies, Chinese cabbage, corn salad, kale, lettuce, parsnip, peas, peas, purslane, radish, rutabaga (Swede), spinach, turnips, witlof chicory. Fruit: late apples, avocadoes, banana, feijoa, guavas, grapefruit, kiwifruit, kumquat, limes, early mandarins, olives, oranges, passionfruit, tangeloes.

Vegetable garden crop planting list for January in the Northern Hemisphere:

Cold northern regions–Zones 3-6: Vegetables: artichokes, asparagus crowns, broad beans, cress, lettuce, onion, peas, spinach, turnips. Herbs: garlic.

Temperate Regions–Zones 7-9: Vegetables: artichoke suckers, asparagus crowns, beets, broad beans, cabbage, carrots, cress, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard, onion, parsnip, peas, potato tubers, rhubarb crowns, salsify, Swiss chard (silverbeet). Herbs: chamomile, garlic, marigold, parsley.

Subtropical and Tropical Regions–Zones 10-12: Vegetables: asparagus crowns, beans, beet (beetroot), broad beans, cabbage, cape gooseberry, capsicum, carrots, celery, chayote (choko), Chinese cabbage, cress, cucumber, endive, fennel, lettuce, marrow, melons, mustard, parsnip, peas, potatoes, pumpkin, radish, rhubarb crowns, salsify, shallots, Swiss chard (silverbeet), spinach, spring onion, strawberry runners, sweet corn, sweet potato, tomato, zucchini. Herbs: angelica, basil, borage, caraway, chamomile, celeriac, chervil, chives, coriander, dill, garlic, hyssop, lemon balm, marjoram, oregano, parsley, salad burnet, thyme.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

How To Grow Tips

How To Grow Tomatoes

How To Grow Peppers

How To Grow Broccoli

How To Grow Carrots

How To Grow Beans

How To Grow Corn

How To Grow Peas

How To Grow Lettuce

How To Grow Cucumbers

How To Grow Zucchini and Summer Squash

How To Grow Onions

How To Grow Potatoes

Cabbage seedling and frost

January Kitchen Garden Almanac

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