Winter usually means that our gardens are finished producing and we have to wait until spring to start planting again. But here in Texas, most of the state lies within hardiness zones 7-9. That means our state has relatively mild winters with the lowest average temperatures between 10 and 20 degrees F in the northern parts of the state. We also enjoy temperate summers with cooler nights and a longer growing season than the rest of the country. That means we can start our gardens much earlier than everyone else! To help you out, here is a list of cool-season vegetables that you can start planting in your gardens in January.
Broccoli has long been a favorite of gardeners because of its hardness and resistance to pests. It can be planted in spring for a late fall harvest or in late winter for an early summer harvest. Broccoli is an all cool-season plant that can grow well into the fall in northern climates. Once the main head is harvested it will produce small side shoots that can be harvested later.
Potatoes are a great winter-early spring vegetable. Potatoes are a root crop and therefore can tolerate the cold much better than most plants. Cut potatoes into small pieces a few days before you plant. Dig a hole 6 inches deep and place potatoes 10-15 inches apart to leave room for them to spread. Cover with soil and pat firm. Plant in January and enjoy fresh potatoes by spring.
Cabbage is a Cole crop that is used in many recipes and dishes throughout the world. There are many varieties of cabbage so choose the ones that are more cold-tolerant for winter planting. Varieties like Danish ball Head and OS Cross will produce well into the winter. For a constant supply of cabbage, stagger your yields throughout the year.
Brussels sprouts are a Cole crop that is becoming more popular in gardens these days. There is just something about fresh Brussels sprouts that do not compare to store-bought varieties. Brussels sprouts are a cold-hardy plant with tough skin. Once the plant matures, it’s very hard to kill them. Their stalks, stems, and leaves are tough, making them great producers. Start Brussels sprout seeds indoors around Jan 13 – Jan 27 and transplant into your garden around Feb 24 – Mar 9.
Cauliflower is not as difficult to grow as many gardeners think. It’s a very versatile vegetable that can take the place of broccoli in any recipe. Cauliflower tastes great cooked or eaten raw with dips or in salads. The big difference between broccoli and cauliflower is that cauliflower only produces a single head. When the cauliflower heads get about 2-3 inches across, you will want to keep the light away from it to keep it white. This is a technique called blanching. Just pull the leaves up over each little head and fasten with a clothespin or twine.
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