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Three fabric bags filled with lush, green basil plants. The bags are sitting on a white windowsill.

Gardening

Veggie Seeds to Sow in Winter

Get ahead on spring planting.

Winter doesn’t sound like the ideal time for gardening, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. 

There are several different veggies to sow in January that will get you ahead come spring.

Best of all, you don’t even have to brave the cold weather; you can get some seeds started indoors!

Keep reading for the best veggie seeds to sow in winter. 

A rainbow-colored map of the United States, indicating the different growing zones.

First, Know Your Growing Zone

For the most part, when we say you can sow in winter months, we are referring to those who live in areas of the country with true winters.

Those who call Florida “home” will have a different growing season than those who live in Colorado.

Speaking of where you live, the USDA recently unveiled a new hardiness zone map. The new map will help you better determine when you can plant outdoors. 

You can find your zone by inputting your zip code into the new 2023 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.

[Related Read: Month-by-Month Winter Homestead To-Do List]

A bowl of fresh, green cilantro in a wooden bowl, on a wooden cutting board next to a lime slice.

Cilantro

Now is the perfect time to start coriander seeds indoors. Cilantro tends to bolt in the summer, but it provides leaves in the winter.

To sow coriander seeds, you will need to pre-germinate the seeds. The process is simple:

  1. Soak the coriander seeds in water.
  2. Place the wet seeds in a cloth bundle and secure it with an elastic tie.
  3. Continue to soak overnight.
  4. After the night soak, continue to soak them twice a day in the morning and evening until they germinate. 
  5. Once they sprout, you need to prepare seed trays.
  6. Add potting mix to a seed tray, then spread the seeds on top of the mix.
  7. Move the tray to a greenhouse or grow them on a windowsill.
  8. You should have leaves in approximately one month.
A small wood bowl filled with purple shallots. The bowl is on a burlap piece on a wood table, more shallots next to it.

Shallots

Shallots are super hardy, which means they are great veggie seeds to sow in January.

You can plant them directly, but it is easier to start sowing them in trays. Here’s how:

  1. Add potting mix to a plug tray.
  2. Simply add a hole in the mix and pop the shallot bulb in, leaving the tip out.
  3. Water and place in a sheltered outdoor spot or cold frame.
  4. As spring approaches, transfer the shallots from the trays into your outdoor garden. 
  5. They should be ready in early summer.
A wood basket filled with yellow onions, underneath is a burlap piece next to a kitchen knife.

Onions

If you want to grow some really impressive onions, it’s time to start sowing!

Many people have a tradition of sowing onion seeds the day after Christmas. But if you don’t want extra large onions, wait until a little bit later in winter to get started.

  1. Sift potting mix into plug trays.
  2. Place two seeds in each plug. (Note: If both seeds germinate, you only want to keep one per plug. Carefully cut off the smaller seedling.)
  3. Sow directly into the plug trays. 
  4. Bring indoors to warm up until the light is better in later winter.
  5. Place under grow lights indoors to get an even better head start.
  6. In early spring, transplant the seedlings from the trays to your garden. 
Three fabric bags filled with lush, green basil plants. The bags are sitting on a white windowsill.

Basil

You can grow basil indoors any time of year, including winter!

Basil grows well under grow lights and on windowsills with adequate lighting. Plus, the seeds are inexpensive, so you can grow multiple batches of basil at once.

  1. Add potting mix to a small pot.
  2. Very carefully scatter approximately 25 seeds over the surface of the potting mix.
  3. Cover the seeds with a tiny amount of potting mix, just enough to cover the seeds.
  4. Pat down.
  5. To water, use a mister or spray bottle.
  6. Add plastic, such as Saran Wrap, to the top of the pot to boost humidity.
  7. Place under grow lights or in direct sunlight on the windowsill.
  8. Once you see growth, remove the plastic covering.
A tray of fresh microgreens on a concrete countertop. A knife and scissors lay beside it, as well as a strainer bowl.

Microgreens

Another good veggie seed to sow in January is microgreens!

Mustard, sunflower seeds, and peas all create tasty microgreens:

  1. Soak the seeds overnight.
  2. Drain the seeds.
  3. Fill seed trays with potting mix.
  4. Pack it until it is flat and firm.
  5. Scatter seeds on top of the potting mix without them touching.
  6. Gently press the seeds down into the potting mix. 
  7. Water with a mister or spray bottle. Keep the surface of the mix moist.
  8. Place under grow lights. 
  9. They should be ready in about a week or two. 
A white bowl on a white cutting board filled with strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries.

Start Berries, Too

In addition to these vegetables and greens, winter is also a good time to start planting your berries. Plant strawberry plants, blackberries, and blueberries now so that you can enjoy them in the summer.

Plan for the Spring Sowing Season

Winter is a time of preparation for gardeners. Get ahead and sow veggie seeds in January.

Then, take time to make plans for the rest of your garden. Browse seed catalogs and place orders.

Focus on ordering hardy vegetables that you can start sooner rather than later. 

[Related Read: 10 Easiest and Hardiest Veggies to Plant This Spring]

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