What Can You Grow In January? Get Crackin’!

What Can You Grow In January? Get Crackin’!

All right, y’all. We made it past the holidays, and now we’re into big gardening time. So, you’re probably wondering, “What can you grow in January?”


What can you grow in January? Here's vegetable gardening for beginners ideas and when to plant your seeds!!




January is kind of a dull month. All the major holidays are over, we’ve all got sticker shock at how much we spent in the past couple months, and it’s freakin’ cold.


So, not much fun, which is where starting your seedlings comes in. The seed catalogues are rolling in, and it’s time to start figuring out what you’ll grow.


(this article is an excerpt from my bestselling book Organic By Choice: The (Secret) Rebel’s Guide To Backyard Gardening.  You can get a copy on Amazon or buy it directly from me which will save you 10% and you’ll get the digital copy for free.


Buy your copy right here)


What can you grow in January?

Now, there’s definitely some vegetable seedlings you can start indoors under lights, which you can eventually transition out to cold frames.


I show you in this article which vegetables do best in cold frames.


And there’s some things you can grow right in your kitchen, such as sunflower microgreens (tasty for you AND your chickens).


So, if you’re still wondering “what can you grow in January?” then hang onto your pants (please, do, really. No one wants to see you with your pants down), and check out the list below.


square foot gardening plant spacing

Kale (Brassica oleracea acephala)

My old friend kale does well in cold weather, and because of that, you can start it right now if the gardening itch is getting to you.


You can buy kale seeds from my favorite store Seeds Now.


Keep that grow light about 1-2 inches above the pots. I tend to broadcast kale and then thin because the seeds are so tiny.


My old eyes and cranky finger joints can’t handle the fiddly-ness of individual potting. If this sounds like you, then broadcast in trays filled with soil, and cover lightly with dirt.


In Organic By Choice: The (Secret) Rebel’s Guide To Backyard Gardening, I show you how to care for kale, harvest it, and save the seeds. All important stuff for a self-sufficient garden!


square foot gardening plant spacing

Lettuce (Lactuca sativa)

So, confession time. I grow lettuce for my chickens and my rabbits because it’s fun watching them eat it, and I’m not a huge fan of lettuce personally.


You can get organic lettuce seeds for a reasonable price right here.


I started using this plan because I always wanted to grow in January, even though I’m not a huge fan of lettuce. But it works out, and the critters are happy with everything I grow for them (in January and the rest of the year, too).


So, lettuce isn’t that much different than kale, although it IS less cold loving.


Because we live in Missouri, and don’t have a spring, I start these in January. The rule of thumb is to start lettuce seeds indoors under lights about 6 weeks before the last spring frost date.


Go here if you want to grow in January based on the last spring frost date.


Lettuce seeds like a heat range of 45 – 75 degrees for germination, so if you’re startings seeds inside your house, you should be okay, but if you’re starting out in a garage, you might need a heat mat like this one.


If you care for your lettuce seedlings well enough, you should get quite a few early spring harvests out of them.


Just remember that your lettuce will be with you indoors through January and on into the later months before transplant, so they’ll need a bit of space – go with 6 inch pots to start them so they have plenty of room to grow.


square foot gardening plant spacing

Mustard (Brassica juncea)

Mustard is another one I start to grow in January. It’s best to start mustard 3 weeks before your last spring frost date, but in this neck of the woods, that can be very early.


In 2017, we had a series of very warm weeks in February and into March, and it never really cooled down again.


And mustard doesn’t like heat, so it shoots up, and I lose my crop. Which is why I start it under lights as early as January 15.


Like kale, mustard seeds are small and fiddly, so I broadcast in a tray and then thin.


Those seeds like temps at least 55 degrees, so again, if you’re starting them outside in a greenhouse or garage, use a heat mat.


You can also learn how to heat your off grid greenhouse, which is simpler than it seems.


Mustard seeds are another one I save. It’s easy, and I show you how to do it in Organic By Choice: The (Secret) Rebel’s Guide To Backyard Gardening.


Onions (Allium cepa)

Onions are a bit tricky, and if you want to grow in January and transplant, now is a good time to get going.


Now, fair warning: They need a lot of space and it’s easier to start them from sets. But if you’re dedicated, you can definitely have success starting them under lights in January. Onions need temps over 30 degrees to flourish, so just remember that when you start your grow tray.


square foot gardening plant spacing

Spinach (Spinacia oleracea)

I’ve never had much success growing spinach indoors since it doesn’t transplant well, but maybe you’ll have better luck.


You can buy organic spinach seeds here.


I prefer direct sowing, especially since it can survive light frosts (the plant, at least. The seedlings….that’s another story).


Spinach needs soil temps of at least 40 degrees to grow, but doesn’t do well if soil temps are above 70 degrees. So, this is a good one to start in a cold frame or in a garage under lights. Or a greenhouse!



You can start various herbs now for transplant in your garden in spring/early summer. If your house is warm enough, you can start them under lights without a heat mat (although it’s easier with the heat mat).


You can buy organic herb seeds here.


square foot gardening plant spacing

Use these tricks to starting seeds easier

There are some seeds that take a few extra steps to start (or, it can help them start better). In this article, I show you 2 easy tricks that should be in your master gardener toolkit to starting seeds from certain vegetables easier!


Wondering what can you grow in January for your chickens? Well, luckily, pretty much all the veggies we discuss in this article are great for chickens. Mine particularly like kale, herbs, and spinach!


square foot gardening plant spacing

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Gorgeous DIY Cedar Garden Markers In 15 Minutes!

Gorgeous DIY Cedar Garden Markers In 15 Minutes!

It’a gardening season, y’all. And these gorgeous cedar DIY garden markers are so easy to make! They’re also functional, and should last you years!


I invited my friend Amy from 1905 Farmhouse to show us how she made these beautiful diy garden markers using cedar stakes and a wood burning kit!


Her tutorial is really easy, and even I can do it! (If Larry would let me touch his circular saw, that is!) And I NEED to to do this year – last year, I couldn’t remember half of what I planted nor WHERE I planted it – has that ever happened to you?


Well, this year, I can keep it straight thanks to Amy’s easy to follow DIY garden marker plans!


If you’re looking for a beautiful but functional way to keep your own garden straight, you’ll love the directions below. Enjoy!

DIY garden markers tutorial

How To Make Your Own DIY Garden Markers With Cedar Stakes

Hi Everyone! I am Amy, it is so nice to “virtually” meet you! I’m here today to share a fun DIY for your garden or raised bed.


But first I wanted to share a little bit about myself. I am a life-long Oregonian, currently residing near where I grew up about 30 miles west of Portland.


My husband and I recently moved into a 1905 farmhouse on two acres and on my blog www.1905farmhouse.com you can find DIY home renovations on a budget, gardening ideas, and simple and easy DIY projects.


For as long as I can remember my parents always had a garden where we would grow beans, corn, tomatoes, onions and much more. When we moved in there was already a big open spot near our orchard that would be perfect for our garden area.


I enjoy growing the normal staple vegetables I mentioned earlier but unlike my parents, I like to branch out with my growing options and try new plants and seeds each year.  


Last year I used small flimsy wooden plant markers that I found in the Target dollar spot. They came with a white chalk marker to write the names on.


They looked cute at first but after all the watering and sun exposure those markers soon became lost and broken as all the plants grew taller.


This year I decided I wanted to create something that would withstand the elements and be easily seen. I am so excited to share this easy and fun project with you!


If you don’t have a large garden space you and definitely make these custom to a size that would work for a raised bed or even a large pot.

DIY garden markers for garlic

Materials Needed to Make Your DIY Garden Markers

  • Wooden stakes (preferably cedar)
  • Screws and drill or a hammer and nails
  • Wood Burning Kit
  • Table saw or hand saw
  • Pencil
  • Tracing paper


Step 1:

You can buy a pack of grade stakes at your local hardware store, or you can make your own. We had a pile of 3-foot cedar trim pieces that we had from another home improvement store that came in a bundle that was already the perfect size and only needed a little tweaking.


I first cut a 1-foot section off of each piece for the plant name to go on to. The other 2 feet would be used for the stake that will be going into the ground.


Step 2:

If your stakes don’t have a pointed end like mine did already that will be your next step to create. The pointed end will help them go into the ground more easily.


I used our table saw to cut a 45-degree angle to create the point. If you don’t have a table saw you could definitely use a hand saw or even a skil-saw.


Step 3:

This step is where you can become creative. I wanted to make sure the name was permanent and didn’t want it to wash off or fade from the sun.


I’ve had a wood burning kit for years now and thought this would be a great project to bring it out of storage. Instead of free-handing the name on, which was my original thought, I hopped on my computer and pulled up a Word document and typed each name that I wanted on stakes.


I used a font called “Berlin Sans FB Demi.” After printing out the names I used tracing paper to transfer the names to the stakes to be my guide when burning.

DIY garden markers are easy to make


If you have never used tracing paper just lay the tracing paper down on your project and then put your pattern over top.


Then trace over your letters with a pencil or pen. The tracing paper will leave a mark anywhere that you trace and press down on.


Step 4:

Most wood burning kits will come with several types of tip options. Choose the one that is most comfortable for you.


I would suggest practicing on a scrap piece of wood first. I chose the slanted tip, also known as the universal tip, as I liked the way it wrote the best over my tracings.


These tools can get very hot so make sure to do this out of reach of children or pets.


Then just let the tool heat up and then slowly burn your outlines until you get the desired look you want. I noticed that if I was trying to rush the wood didn’t burn as well and I had to go back over it.

DIY garden markers made from cedar

Step 5:

Now to put the stakes together! I used screws to attach the names to the stakes but you could definitely also just use nails.


I pre-drilled a hole through both being sure not to go all the way through into my nicely burned label. Then just screw the two together and you are done!


I can’t wait now for our weather to be better to get our garden tilled and ready to plant for the summer! And these stakes are going to make a great addition for years to come!

13 Organic Gardening Supplies Every Woman Needs

13 Organic Gardening Supplies Every Woman Needs

Getting started with gardening this year? Feeling overwhelmed? (Or just want to get it right the first time?) You need help in choosing the right organic gardening supplies.


You can choose to grow organic for life and you can start today.


With the right tools, gardening becomes easy, enjoyable, and successful. Let’s do a quick rundown of the most basic organic farming supplies you need to have.


Basic Organic Gardening Supplies 


These organic gardening supplies make organic gardening for beginners super simple. Here's what every woman should have on hand when growing vegetables!


  1.    Classic Organic Gardening Tools

In planning every garden, you need to have the basic supplies to be able to fill your pots, till the soil, and maintain the growth of your crops.


Must have gear includes tillers, rakes, hoes (not that kind…the kind that help dig out naughty weeds that have sprung up where they shouldn’t).


When looking for rakes and hoes, be sure they’re the right height for you. I’ve purchased some supplies in the past that were too short; I ended up hunching over. Not fun.


  1. Apparel

You don’t want to get sunburned trying to grow fresh tomatoes or bummed because your toes are soaking wet, do you?


Essential organic gardening supplies include a hat and waterproof boots. Muck boots are great to keep your socks from getting soaked, and a hat will not only provide shade for your eyes, it’ll also catch sweat and keep you cooler when the temperature rises.


Gloves are another organic gardening supplies must-have. After a while, you’ll start to get blisters. Definitely not fun!


Any gloves you buy should be comfortable to wear and not rub you anywhere. These are your protection against cuts, blisters, prickers, and sunburns.


  1.    Pots & Other Containers

Some crops need a little extra time or babying before they can be transplanted. Pots are one of those organic gardening supplies you should always have on hand.


If you plan to grow herbs, then putting them in pots is a good idea; you can put them out when the weather is better (a lot of herbs are heat-loving) and bring them inside so you can still enjoy them when the weather turns cool again.


  1.    Starter Mixes

Starter mixes are part of the organic gardening supplies you need for seed starting. The nutrients support healthy seedling growth, and the right starter mix can make or break you.


You can also make your own starter mix (there’s a great recipe in my book, Organic By Choice: The (Secret) Rebel’s Guide To Backyard Gardening.)


  1.    Heat Mats

Successful gardening starts with successful germination. Any kind of vegetable seed will only take root when the soil temperature remains within that particular plant’s requirement. Some will need more warmth and in such cases, you should use a seedling heat mat.


  1.    Compost

If you want to grow organic for life, you need to fertilize your soil. The easiest and least expensive (and pretty much the best) way to do that is with compost.


It’s one of those must-have supplies, and you can either buy compost from a reliable supplier who you trust or make your own.


  1.    Row covers

As your organic garden grows, you need to provide extra care for your seedlings, especially in the early spring when your plants deal with a lot of temperature and weather changes. The plants are also at risk of being destroyed by pesky insects and animals.


Row covers will protect them, keep pests at bay, and overall are one of the best tools you can use to protect your babies from harsh conditions. Look for supplies from brands that feature UV resistant material with screened ventilation.


  1.    Netting

Nets act as temporary fences to protect your plants from thieving pests and other destructive elements. Deer or rabbits, for example, might try to snack on your young, tender, vegetable plants.


Netting will keep them away and snacking on something else. Keep calm and protect thy plants!


  1.    Twine

Garden twine help keep things under control in your garden, particularly tomato plants, if you plant to stake them (I didn’t do that last year trying to save a buck on cages. Very bad idea – my garden was a mess of tomato vines come August). Hemp twine is a good, all-natural twine.


  1.   Burlap

Something else to keep on hand, that most people overlook, is burlap. It can be used to wrap your plants (VERY handy if you need a quick row cover when the temperature suddenly drops), protect and screen your plants from harmful pests, prevent soil erosion, germinate seeds (great for lettuce and carrot seeds), among other ideas.


It is inexpensive and biodegradable, perfect to lay in your garden bed anytime.


  1.   Organic Insect Sprays

— And sprayers, of course. Experts say that what you spray and how you spray it creates a big difference in the outcome of your garden. Insecticides and herbicides should come from safe and natural ingredients. Look for high-quality garden sprays for better performance and good results.

You can learn how to make your own organic insect sprays in my book, Organic By Choice: The (Secret) Rebel’s Guide To Backyard Gardening.


  1.   Moisture Meter

Nothing is worse than either overwatering or underwatering your plants. These risks can be avoided with supplies like a moisture meter. It is one of the powerful gardening tools that measure the water in plants at the root level.


This list should give you the perfect head start in growing your first garden. The next you can do is to look for brand-specific organic gardening supplies that will match your expectations and budget. If you have other great gardening tools and tips that you can share, we encourage you to share them to help fellow gardeners to start going organic today!

3 Square Foot Gardening Layouts That Are Genius Time Savers

3 Square Foot Gardening Layouts That Are Genius Time Savers

Longing for the days when people used to grow their own vegetables through traditional sweat and dirt…..but don’t have the time? Well, it’s time to get off your butt. Consider this your call to action: a beginner’s guide to square foot gardening layouts.


(This article is an excerpt from my best selling gardening book, Organic By Choice: The (Secret) Rebel’s Guide to Backyard Gardening. You can get the entire book including more layouts on Amazon or directly from me, which will save you 10% and includes shipping.

Click here to get it from me and save 20% plus get free shipping

Click here to get it on Amazon)


Say hello to a newer and easier type of gardening.


In case you’ve never heard about or aren’t sure what square foot gardening is, this technique (some say it’s a way of life) lets you harvest more veggies in a smaller space while decreasing your workload.


If you’ve never tried it, then you’ll want to print out this article and grab my book above, which is a step-by-step guide to implementing these layouts.


The square foot gardening layouts I’ll show you make adopting this style of growing really easy.


So easy, you’ll write me love letters (well….maybe a like letter. I’m married….and don’t want the drama from receiving random love letters. Although an argument might spice up a Friday night here in the country where nothing ever happens.)


The bottom line is that cultivating plants in square foot boxes optimizes the use of your garden space and minimizes your effort while maximizing production – pretty nifty stuff.


square foot gardening plant spacing

 Here's 3 genius square foot gardening layouts that are perfect for raised beds. Square foot gardening for beginners just got easier!

Planning your square foot gardening layouts

Like any other growing technique out there, success with square foot gardening layouts requires a bit of planning so you can get a great harvest.


You can grow what you like – but you’ll do better making sure all your plants “play” well together. Layouts like the ones in this article will make it super easy for you.


A square foot gardening planting guide (like my companion planting guide you can download right here) also will help you be successful with any layouts you design yourself, especially since not all vegetable plants play well together.


square foot gardening plant spacing

Three square foot gardening layout guides you can use this spring

Three square foot gardening layouts I personally love are a salsa garden, a greens garden, and an all-tomato garden. Because who doesn’t love tomatoes?


(Well, I know a few people….but they’re not friends. Friends don’t let friends be friends with people who don’t like tomatoes. ← Gardening haiku)


These are three square foot gardening layouts I use every year (and I start them indoors in my warm greenhouse), and some of my tried-and-true hacks you can use to have a great harvest!


square foot gardening plant spacing

Salsa Garden

This one is probably my favorite square foot gardening layouts because….well….salsa.


Salsa garden layouts can be fancy or simple. This one includes just a few veggies and herbs: tomatoes, scallions, peppers, and herbs such as parsley, oregano, basil, and cilantro.


Here's 3 genius square foot gardening layouts that are perfect for raised beds. Square foot gardening for beginners just got easier!


(Salsa generally includes onions, but they take up a LOT of room and have a long growing season – your better layouts include more tomatoes or herbs. You can buy your onions or plant them elsewhere on your yard.)


How you arrange the plants in your raised bed will depend on certain factors such as growing size.


For example. tomato plants need an entire square, and it’s best to plant them one or two feet away from each other.


You CAN plant herbs near tomatoes, however, and they’re supposed to improve the flavor of the our red fruity friends.


A pepper plant needs as much nutrients and sunlight as a tomato plant, but consumes less space. You can place pepper plants 12 inches away from another.


For the most part, these vegetables and herbs mature at the same time, particularly if you grow indeterminate tomatoes. If your herbs start flowering, pinch them off to extend their life.


square foot gardening plant spacing

Greens Garden

If you are a fan of fresh salads (or have a lot of rabbits), a square foot gardening planting guide for a greens garden is gonna be your jam.


Like the other square foot gardening layouts in this article, you need to be conscious of the space between each plant, but you’re totally free to grow any type of greens your healthy heart desires.


Here's 3 genius square foot gardening layouts that are perfect for raised beds. Square foot gardening for beginners just got easier!


Some of my favorite layouts include spicy mustard greens, kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, and arugula (I grow the arugula for my rabbits though – personally, I can’t stand the stuff).


Mustard greens and kale must be planted three inches away from each other. Spinach, on the other hand, should have at least 14-inch spacing. Green lettuce and arugula need 4 inches.


square foot gardening plant spacing

All Tomato Garden

Now, I know when you think about vegetable gardens, you’re dreaming of tomatoes. Since tomatoes are my specialty, I love using all tomato square foot gardening layouts.


This plan will show you how to grow an near-unlimited supply of tender tomatoes in the summer (as long as you grow indeterminate varieties).


An all-tomato layout can have as many varieties of tomatoes as you would like to plant – try some heirloom varieties for fuller flavor.


You can get husky red cherry tomatoes or golden jubilees to name a few. Although different, they still have the same needs, like an adequate amount of sunlight and enough space between each other.


The bottom line, regardless of the types of vegetables you grow, is that planning your square foot garden is the key to a healthy harvest.


Factors such as distance, amount of sunlight, moisture, nutrient amount, and maturity length must also be considered when planning your layout.


If you want very detailed gardening advice, then get Organic By Choice: The (Secret) Rebel’s Guide To Backyard Gardening, and refer to it as you plan out your own garden.


Do have favorite square foot gardening layouts? Send them to me, and I might feature them in an upcoming article!


square foot gardening plant spacing

3 Square Foot Gardening Plant Spacing Ideas

3 Square Foot Gardening Plant Spacing Ideas

Square foot gardening plant spacing seems like it should be simple, but if you don’t take companion planting into consideration, then you run the risk of your garden turning into a total flop.


NOTHING is worse than doing everything right, only to have a garden that doesn’t yield anything.


square foot gardening plant spacing


Ask me how I know – somehow, our sweet potato harvest this year didn’t go as planned. And it was disappointing to pull up the plants I’d waited 5 months to harvest only to find they never actually grew anything.


(Tomatoes on the other hand….we harvested nearly 100 pounds. You win some, you lose some, right?) Here’s my tips on growing tomatoes. This tomato gardening tip helped with our harvest, too!


Square foot gardening plant spacing consists of a few things:

  1. Figure out what you want to grow (and when to start the seeds indoors)
  2. Research how many plants can grow in each square foot garden space
  3. Consult a companion planting guide so you can be sure your vegetables will grow well next to each other.

Want an easy square foot gardening for beginners resource and square foot gardening plant spacing ideas? These are 3 genius ideas for square foot gardening plans and square foot gardening layout ideas!

What is square foot gardening & why does spacing matter?

Now, if you don’t know what square foot gardening is, it’s simply a garden segmented into 1 foot by 1 foot squares (I mean this method isn’t called square foot gardening for nothing, right?) and in each square, vegetables, herbs, or fruit are grown.


(If you want to read more about this, you can grab my book Organic By Choice: The (Secret) Rebel’s Guide To Backyard Gardening. Use coupon code SQUAREFOOT to save 10%!)


The amount of plants grown in one square foot depends on the type of plant – some squares will have more and some will have less.


Get it wrong, and your garden might not perform the way you expect because all the nutrients will either go to one plant, squeezing the others out.


Or the nutrients will be distributed among each plant, but it won’t be enough for each to flourish, and they’ll all be stunted or grow poorly.


Now, I’ve tried a lot of gardening methods. I mean a LOT. And as far as simplicity goes, square foot gardening is the bee’s knees, particularly because it makes plant spacing easy.


Square Foot Gardening lets you maximize your space so you get high yields from a small area. But just because it’s simple doesn’t mean you can ignore the needs of your vegetable plants.


If your square foot gardening plant spacing is off, then your ship is pretty much sunk before it even starts.


If your garden happens limited in size, then planning your square foot gardening plant spacing before digging into the dirt will let you make the best use of your gardening space that way.


If you only have a few feet, then growing onions, which need quite a bit of space, are heavy feeders, and need a long growing season probably isn’t your best choice.


Growing lettuce, tomatoes, and herbs will give you a greater yield in your tiny space and let you have a more satisfactory harvest and overall experience.

Want to know more about growing herbs? Click here to learn more about my book, Herbs In Your Backyard.


square foot gardening plant spacing

How to plan your square foot gardening plant spacing to be correct


Each January, before I begin even thinking of seed starting, I list all the herbs and vegetables I plan to grow as well as their individual needs. (I don’t personally grow fruit in my garden – they live elsewhere on the farm).


I also consult a table that tells me how many plants of each species should go in each square and double check my companion planting guide (you can download it here) so I know which veggies play nice and which don’t.


While this advice seems ultra simple and obvious, once you actually begin plotting your garden with square foot gardening plant spacing, you’ll notice that you might need to think a bit before deciding on a final plan.


If you get stuck, one easy fail-safe is that most plants do well being planted next to herbs (that being said, there are some plants that need lots of space, like onions, so it’s really best to use a companion planting guide.)


So, square foot gardening plant spacing is important, as is making sure your companion planting is on point.


Note: If you grab my bestseller Organic By Choice: The (Secret) Rebel’s Guide To Backyard Gardening, you’ll find several templates to help you plan your garden. Get it here & use coupon code SQUAREFOOT to save 10%

There’s also my favorite templates for a Salsa Garden, and All Tomato Garden, and more.


Here’s a brief list of popular vegetables and how far apart they should be and how many seeds to plant in each square:


Greens: 6 inches from each other, 4 plants

Carrots: 3 inches, 16 plants

Broccoli: 18 inches, 1 plant

Eggplant: 24 inches, 1 plant


After figuring out what you plan to grow, then draw out a grid the size of your garden (to scale) and segment your “garden” into 1 x 1 foot squares (again, to scale).


Start filling in the boxes with what you plan to grow – use your list, the square foot gardening template or list above, plus the companion planting guide to decide on a final arrangement.


If you  get stuck, or want to grow several plants that won’t grow well together, then prioritize. Is growing onions really necessary, or will you or your family prefer more tomatoes for pizza or herbs for homegrown herbal tea (try growing some of these perennial herbs!)?


Using this guide, you should be well on your way to planning your square foot gardening plant spacing for a healthy, full harvest this summer!


square foot gardening plant spacing

More Tips for Square Foot Gardening: