Sowing in January, should I?

Hello! I am new to the forum and to the gardening world. 

I've wanted to start growing veggies for a while now so I have been doing a lot of research, reading different sources and watching videos to start cultivating this year.

I know January is quite a tricky month though, I live in a hardiness zone 6b. Is it possible to sow something indoors or outdoors at this time? 

I have read many different sites. Some say it is possible to sow onions and celery others lettuce and chilies, but then I read other information saying this should be sow in March or April. So I am quite confused by the amount of different information and I don't know what to believe.

In conclusion: can I sow in January? what can I sow in zone 6b? Which source of information is the most reliable? 
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Posts

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 18,541
    Hello.  This is a UK based forum with occasional offshoots in mainland Europe, USA and OZ.   Zone 6b is much colder than most of the UK and most people tehre only sow in January if they have a heated greenhouse or a propagator with temperature controls and plenty of light.

    Seeds need warmth and moisture to germinate.  Some like it dark and some like some light but all need plenty pf light the minute they produce their first leaves or they get etiolated - thin straggly and weak because they're seeking light instead of short and sturdy.

    Unless you have a warm, light space to grow them and plenty of room, light and space in which to prick them out and grow them on I would advise waiting for late March/early April when light levels are better.  Having said that, chilies and tomatoes do benefit form an early start so you could have ago at those.  They are perennial so can be kept from one year to another if you can give them good growing conditions.   I would buy onions as sets to get a head start but otherwise wait to sow and pant till there's more light and only light frosts likely.

    Celery needs a lot of water so wait till it's warmer and can go out in the rain.  Lettuces also need good moisture levels and light to grow crisp and juicy or they'll go tough and stringy.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Obelixx said:
    Hello.  This is a UK based forum with occasional offshoots in mainland Europe, USA and OZ.   Zone 6b is much colder than most of the UK and most people tehre only sow in January if they have a heated greenhouse or a propagator with temperature controls and plenty of light.

    Seeds need warmth and moisture to germinate.  Some like it dark and some like some light but all need plenty pf light the minute they produce their first leaves or they get etiolated - thin straggly and weak because they're seeking light instead of short and sturdy.

    Unless you have a warm, light space to grow them and plenty of room, light and space in which to prick them out and grow them on I would advise waiting for late March/early April when light levels are better.  Having said that, chilies and tomatoes do benefit form an early start so you could have ago at those.  They are perennial so can be kept from one year to another if you can give them good growing conditions.   I would buy onions as sets to get a head start but otherwise wait to sow and pant till there's more light and only light frosts likely.

    Celery needs a lot of water so wait till it's warmer and can go out in the rain.  Lettuces also need good moisture levels and light to grow crisp and juicy or they'll go tough and stringy.
    Hello! Thank you for such a quick answer. I was actually planning to start just with onions from seed indoors, I read they take 4 weeks to germinate and take some time to transplant outdoors, what do you think? Now that you recommend it I will investigate the chilies and tomatoes too.

    I will take measurements of my outdoor space for more precise information, but I think I have a decent space to grow something and plenty of sunlight. I live in one of the warmest cities in Poland. Plantmaps says mi city is 6b and Wikipedia says mi city is 7a so again I don't know which one to believe.
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 14,023
    I grow onions from sets, which are baby onions that you plant in March/April. Has worked really well.
    I agree with what Obelixx has said, except for tomatoes which I would never keep for another season. The plants always die anyway when it gets cold, they aren't hardy, and they can be prone to disease. I sow tomato plants in March and they are ready to plant outside in late May.
    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 18,541
    The comment on space to pot on referred to covered space as Poland will likely be far too cold for babies to go from seed trays to the great outdoors before late April or mid May.  As @Busy-Lizzie says, tomatoes are only good for one year.  Poland has some very good varieties.  She and I are further south than you so will have more natural light than you for March sowings, which is another consideration.  
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • I grow onions from sets, which are baby onions that you plant in March/April. Has worked really well.
    I agree with what Obelixx has said, except for tomatoes which I would never keep for another season. The plants always die anyway when it gets cold, they aren't hardy, and they can be prone to disease. I sow tomato plants in March and they are ready to plant outside in late May.
    I see! Thank you, then I think I will go for it with the onion and the chilies and see if I have any luck.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 57,212
    I would sow chillies at the same time as tomatoes. They need similar temperatures and light conditions. There is nothing gained by sowing them too early. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • karla.siejbakarla.siejba Posts: 4
    edited 14 January
    Obelixx said:
    The comment on space to pot on referred to covered space as Poland will likely be far too cold for babies to go from seed trays to the great outdoors before late April or mid May.  As @Busy-Lizzie says, tomatoes are only good for one year.  Poland has some very good varieties.  She and I are further south than you so will have more natural light than you for March sowings, which is another consideration.  
    So you don't think even indoors I could do it? if I understand correctly. Even if I have heating indoors and good sunlight? I mean I don't mind waiting, I am just asking because I am excited to start  :D and I see people here in Poland (I am not polish myself) grow onion like crazy, so I wonder how they do it. 
  • AstroAstro Posts: 120
    If you are keen to grow indoors it might be worth getting a grow light, the light from windows often isn't that great, especially early in the year.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 18,541
    Ask them.  People who grow plants are nearly always happy to talk and exchange info and advice.   As for space, each baby tomato or chili plant will need regular potting on as it grows and plenty of light to make it sturdy and strong so, by the time it's safe to put them outside they may be in 10, 15 or even 20cm pots, all wanting light, warmth, feeding and watering.   How many of those can you manage?   

    As for onions, have a good read of this info from the RHS - https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/grow-your-own/vegetables/onions

    They do tomatoes too
    https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/grow-your-own/vegetables/tomatoes

    and chilies
    https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/grow-your-own/vegetables/chilli-pepper 


    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy North London Posts: 2,117
    The only other things which have not been mentioned is broad beans (if you like them). They are very hardy and could be sown outside if there is no frost or snow, especially if you can give a bit of protection from a cloche or small poly tunnel. 
    AB Still learning

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