What to grow in January 2013

January and February can be tricky months for gardening in Australia, and gardeners will have to adjust their planting to suit local climate conditions. If it is too hot to grow things in your area, use the time to do a good job of preparing beds for strawberries, leeks and winter vegetables early in the morning or in late afternoon when temperatures are lower. Many parts of Australia are experiencing extreme conditions and the vegetable garden will appreciate some temporary shade. See Coping with heat waves and Sun and heat protection.

Lettuce and cucumber are foods that tend to have a cooling effect on the body. However, It can be too hot for lettuce to germinate and grow well in many areas of Australia during summer, although some of the loose-leaf varieties are more heat tolerant. Keep lettuce seeds in an airtight container in the fridge to assist germination in warm weather, and choose a cool, semi-shaded spot to grow lettuces in containers where summer weather is hot.

The following gardening advice is an abbreviated list for vegetables, fruit trees and some culinary herbs that can be planted in January in Australia and New Zealand. A comprehensive guide that includes planting times for the entire garden, as well as when to fertilise, prune, take cuttings or divide plants, can be found in my book Easy Organic Gardening and Moon Planting. If you are not sure which climate zone you live in, please see Climate Zones for more information.

Warm climate – South of Rockhampton
Before the Full Moon, silver beet (pre-soak seed), and sunflower can be sown directly into beds, as well as a green manure crop of adzuki bean, cow pea, lablab, millet, mung bean, pigeon pea, Japanese millet, or sorghum. Leek can be sown in late January.
During First Quarter phase, eggplant, rockmelon, summer squash, tomato, and watermelon can be sown, also cucumber in late January. Bush and climbing beans, and sweet corn can be sown directly into beds.
During Full Moon phase, lemon grass, mango, pineapple and watercress can be sown or planted out. Beetroot (pre-soak seed), carrot, parsnip, potato and radish can be sown directly into beds, also seed potatoes in Brisbane and areas south.

Warm climate – Rockhampton and northwards
Before the Full Moon, a green manure crop of adzuki bean, cowpea, lablab, mung bean, pigeon pea, Japanese millet, or sorghum can be sown in suitable areas. Sweet corn can also be sown as a green manure crop, and slashed when it is knee high.
During First Quarter phase, sweet corn can be sown directly into beds where heavy rains will not damage pollination.
During Full Moon phase, lemon grass and mango can be sown or planted out.

Temperate climate
Before the Full Moon, Brussels sprouts, leek and spring onions can be sown or planted out. Cabbage, suitable lettuce, and silver beet (pre-soak seed) can be sown directly into beds, (also nasturtium and sunflower in warmer areas), as well as a green manure crop of cow pea, millet, mung bean, pigeon pea, Japanese millet, or sorghum.
During First Quarter phase, bush and climbing beans and sweet corn can be sown directly into beds. Cauliflower, cucumber and leek can be sown or planted out, also rockmelon, summer squash, tomato, watermelon, and zucchini in warmer areas.
During Full Moon phase, beetroot (pre-soak seed), carrot, parsnip and radish can be sown directly into beds, and lemon grass and watercress can be sown or planted out. Pineapple, potato and mango can also be sown or planted out in warmer areas.

Cool climate
Before the Full Moon, Brussels sprouts, leek, lettuce, spring onions, sweet basil and parsley can be sown or planted out. Cabbage, grain crops, lettuce, silver beet (pre-soak seed) and dwarf sunflower can be sown directly into beds, as well as a green manure crop of mung bean or millet. In colder areas, bulb fennel, open Chinese cabbage, dill, mizuna, and tatsoi can also be sown directly into beds.
During First Quarter phase, broccoli, cauliflower and zucchini can be sown or planted out, and bush and climbing beans can be sown directly into beds (also peas in colder areas).
During Full Moon phase, beetroot (pre-soak seed), carrot, parsnip, and radish can be sown directly into beds, and dandelion, mint, sage, and watercress sown or planted out (also pyrethrum in colder areas).

2 thoughts on “What to grow in January 2013

  1. Gday, just like to Say first off, so excited to find an australian website dedicated to the subject of organic gardening, and your simple layout and great info thats easy to find. Good work! just a quick question as to what I should go by if I live IN Rockhampton, Cheers ! Cara

    You go by Warm Climates – Rockhampton and northwards. Rockhampton just squeaks into the Tropic of Capricorn. Sorry, that I didn’t make that clear. I’ve amended the text in the post. – Lyn

  2. Hi have been following you for the last two years thank you. I have been doing research and I do plant according to the moons cycle but I am wondering if the moon passes through a zodiac sign every couple pf days am I to plant leaf crops on the leaf days or do I plant according to what zodiac sigh it is in. Also can you tell me your thoughts on on no plant days?

    Hi Sharon, you are mixing two different moon planting methods. ‘Leaf days, etc.’ are used by biodynamic farmers. Traditional moon planting is the method used in this blog and in Thomas Zimmer’s Astrological Calendar and Moon Planting Guide. I have posted an explanation of the simple rules of traditional moon planting in ‘All bout moon planting‘. This article and others relating to moon planting can be found under a new category “Moon planting explained” (See panel on right side of page.) – Lyn

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