What Vegetables to Grow in January in the UK

It’s a time for fresh starts, but what about fresh veg? We’re exploring what vegetables to grow in January.

13 November 2023

With its icy mornings and short days, January in the UK seems less a time for green fingers and more a case of frozen toes. It certainly doesn’t seem like the time to plant anything new. But rather than hanging up the trowel, this is the time to dig in and get started on those vegetables.

That’s right. Not only are there numerous vegetables to plant in January, but plenty more besides. In this article, we’ll set out what they are and offer some tips and tricks to get started. So, what are we waiting for? “Lettuce” get on with it.

January's Gardening Challenges

Frost covers the lawn of a garden in January. (Credit: Ali Majdfar via Getty Images)

There’s no doubt that the weather is the main challenge at this time of year. Frost, snow, chilly winds, all of these conditions make planting seem impossible. But with a bit of lateral thinking, there are plenty of veg to grow in January in the UK. One option is to bring the outside in, using pots to plant seedlings indoors. There’s also plenty of equipment that can help along the way, like greenhouses, heated propagators and cold frames.


Red chilli peppers growing in flower pot close-up. (Credit: Alexander Spatari via Getty Images)

What’s in a name? Well, in the case of chillies, it’s quite fitting. In fact, chillies are the ideal vegetables to grow in January as it gives them the time they need to fruit well. The best way is to plant two or three seeds shallowly in pots using vermiculite. Then keep them warm, ideally between 21 and 27 degrees celsius. A heated propagator is the best way to do this and, if all goes to plan, they’ll be ready to harvest sometime between July and October.


Ripe red peppers being harvested. (Credit: tomazl via Getty Images)

Chillies and peppers share numerous traits. Sweet peppers even come from the same genus as most chillies. And so, like chillies, peppers are excellent vegetables to plant in January. Usually planted in March, a heated propagator and a gor light allow for early planting in some peat-free compost.


Freshly harvested organic garlic drying on the grass. (Credit: blinow61 via Getty Images)

Not only is garlic a culinary staple for every well-stocked kitchen, but it’s also one of the best vegetables to plant in January. Most garlic varieties require a month or two of cold weather for their bulbs to develop. Plant individual garlic cloves pointy side up, about 15cm apart. Ensure the soil remains well-drained. By summer, when the leaves turn yellow, they’re ready to harvest.

Broad Beans

Broad beans being planted in garden soil. (Credit: nadiasphoto via Getty Images)

These hardy legumes are an excellent source of protein and fibre. They can be sown directly into the ground, but if the soil is too cold or wet, there are plenty of options. Place them in a cold frame, an unheated greenhouse or simply in pots indoors. Ensure they’re supported as they grow. By spring, you’ll have a head start and can expect an early harvest.


Vegetable garden with aubergine plant. (Credit: Juana Mari Moya via Getty Images)

Chock full of fibre and other great things, aubergines are another great example of veg to grow in January. Much like chillies, it’s a case of sowing them under a heated propagator.

Vegetables to Harvest In January

Harvested brussel sprouts. (Credit: Carmen Hauser via Getty Images)

Having all those veg to grow in January offers much to look forward to in the coming months. But we can’t ignore those plucky plantings that are ready to harvest. In fact, several vegetables are ready to harvest in January, including leeks, swede, celeriac, brussel sprouts and turnips.

Other January Gardening Jobs

A gardener pruning a fruit tree. (Credit: Michal Ulicny via Getty Images)

While focusing on vegetables to plant in January, don’t forget other essential garden tasks. Pruning fruit trees, turning compost heaps, and cleaning gardening tools are all necessary jobs.

Vegetables to Plant in January

A gardener plants garlic cloves into the soil. (Credit: Cavan Images via Getty Images)

Despite the icy mornings and shorter days, January is a surprisingly fruitful, or vegful, month for gardening enthusiasts. There’s a surprising array of vegetables to plant in January, including chillies, peppers, garlic, broad beans, and aubergines. With the aid of tools like greenhouses, heated propagators, and cold frames, gardeners can navigate January’s challenging weather conditions. Aside from focusing on vegetables, January also provides an opportunity for other essential gardening tasks like pruning and tool maintenance.


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