January in the Vegetable Garden

By the BCMG Vegetable Gardening Advance Training Team

When the holidays are over, the temperatures are colder, and the nights seem longer. For some, it’s hot chocolate and dreaming of warmer days. But, for the serious vegetable gardener, January’s garden is full of cold weather crops. David Rodriguez, Bexar County AgriLife Extension Horticulturist, often says, the cold weather crops are roots (carrots, radishes, turnips, etc.) and leaves (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.). Gardeners in Bexar County can grow crops twelve months a year- it’s a matter of selecting the correct plants. BCMG Karen Gardner, Vegetable Gardening Advanced Training (AT) certified, offers this list of vegetables that can still be planted in January:

Photo courtesy of Bill Swantner, BCMG

Things to plant starting in January:

Peas (shelling, sugar snap & snow) – January 1st through February 15th

Cauliflower transplants – January 1st through March 15th

Broccoli transplants – January 15th through March 15th (‘Green Magic’ Broccoli is a Texas SuperStar (R) plant)

Cabbage transplants – January 15th through March 15th

Collards – January 15th through March 25th

Turnips – January 15th through May 1st

Radishes – January 20th through May 1st

Recommended links for more information:

  • For planting times and specific varieties that grow well in Bexar County: Recommended Vegetable Varieties for Spring by David Rodriguez, Bexar County Extension Agent – Horticulturist and Jerry Parsons,  Ph.D., retired Horticulturist.
  • Here’s the list of vegetables in chart form: Spring Vegetable Varieties by David Rodriguez, Bexar County Extension Agent – Horticulturist and Jerry Parsons,  Ph.D., retired Horticulturist.
  • And here is another excellent link to explore provided by BCMG Mary Moss, Vegetable Gardening Advanced Training (AT) certified. The links on the page are to the AgriLife Extension Service’s Easy Gardening fact sheet series.  

Meteorologist, Justin Horne, says that the weather pattern for the winter season will not only be warmer than normal but also drier than normal… which means we really need to be waterwise. Add compost and mulch to your gardens to improve the soil and conserve water.

AgriLife Extension Entomologist, Molly Keck, reminds us that some insects survive our mild winters, especially if it is going to be a warm winter. The main insects to watch for are caterpillars, including cabbage loopers. These insects will stay warm in the soil and come up to feed.

Cabbage looper, Trichoplusia ni (Hübner) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Photo by Drees.

When you’re in your garden, look for these insects tucked between leaves of the plant. You know they’re present when you see holes in the leaves of your vegetables. They can be treated with spinosad and Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). ALWAYS read the directions before applying. The sooner the insects are found and dealt with, the less of a problem they will become.