What to plant in January in Richmond

Cold weather doesn’t have to mean empty gardens

A photo of seven seedlings from above

Cold weather doesn’t mean you can get a leg up on spring planting.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

January may bring cold days and sub-freezing nights, but that doesn’t mean garden beds have to go into hibernation. You’ve got options for planting in Richmond, even in the winter.

According to the USDA’s Plant Hardiness Map, Richmond falls in Zone 7b — that means most seedlings should be started around mid or late February and transplanted into the ground in April.

🥦 Vegetables

While Zone 7 is a sort of cusp area for winter vegetable gardening, it’s still possible with some extra protection from the cold. While indoor is ideal, creative options like a mini-greenhouse are always available.

While Richmond’s climate is milder than much of the country, it still takes hearty plants to brave the cold. A number of leafy greens are up for the challenge, especially arugula, Swiss chard, spinach, mustard greens, and several other lettuces. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and peas also stand up well to the cold.

Pro tip: Looking for a place to start your seedlings? Reused egg cartons are perfect — and they’re free.

Year-round varieties of root vegetables also provide several options, especially radishes, turnips, carrots, and beets.

🌷 Flowers + herbs

While the seed-starting situation for flowers is the same as with vegetables — indoors is best — January is still a great time to get a leg up on spring planting. Perennial flowers can be started now, as well as slow-germinating flowers like begonias.

Herbs can also be started indoors at this point.

🪴 Local supplies

Ready to stock up on some supplies? Richmond has no shortage of local garden stores and plant nurseries. Southside’s Good Seed Natives specializes in plants native to the River City and Shades of Moss in the Fan has records, too. Greenhouse II in the West End, Strange’s in Short Pump, and Sneed’s in Chesterfield are all great nursery options.

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