January Harvest and Planting

Only the hardiest plants are available for my January harvest. I have no high tunnel or plastic bed covers. But some vegetables and herbs survive winter in Chattanooga without added shelter. Being in the city limits and not at high elevation allows some plants to survive in my yard that may not make it in other area gardens.

Earlier this month, I was able to harvest lettuce, but it is finished now. Currently, I could harvest kale, green onions, and green garlic. The onions and garlic will almost certainly resume growth in the spring and the kale maybe will.

Several herbs remain green. Cilantro is the one we use the most in winter. It adds a nice fresh flavor to our home canned salsa and gets into our guacamole. It hardly grows at all through the winter, but stays green and will resume growth in the spring. By harvesting only the outer stems and leaves, the plant survives. Over wintered cilantro goes to seed quickly in the spring which attracts beneficial insects and provides seed for summer salsas. Other herbs that remain green are rosemary, parsley, and oregano.

My January planting is minimal. Mother Earth News has a planting guide online that allows you to put in your zip code and see what vegetables should be planted each month. The only recommendation they give is start onions from seed indoors. I will be starting alpine strawberries as well as onions this month. I’ve grown alpine strawberries for 2 years and love the intense flavor. They start very slowly and won’t be ready for a spot in the garden until they are about 5 months along.

The slow time for vegetables gives me more time in the kitchen for soups and home brewing. Also, I need to prune fruit trees and grapes in coming weeks.

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