Perfect Plants for the January Weather

In the middle of winter, January has some of the coldest weather in India. With very less rain and up to 9 hours of sunshine a day, it’s the perfect time to get into your home garden. If you’re confused about which plants to sow at what time of year, we’re here to get rid of any confusion!

Spinach

The leafy green vegetable is rich in Vitamin A, K, and C, as well as folic acid, calcium, iron, and potassium. The vegetable’s health benefits and versatility in nearly any dish it's added to make it a great choice for any vegetable garden.

The spinach plant loves humidity, so make sure to mulch the soil around the plant to help it retain moisture. It also prefers loamy soil that is a little loose in order for the roots to establish themselves well.

Spinach seeds are propagated through seeds, which should be planted at least 10 cm apart from each other. It also needs irrigation at 6 to 7 days intervals, especially in the summer months.  You can begin harvesting the spinach around 6 to 8 weeks after planting it.

Bitter Gourd

This unpopular vegetable is filled with all kinds of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A, B, C, calcium, iron, potassium, etc. Although the vegetable isn’t very popular, it’s a great vegetable to add to your diet in order to increase your nutrient intake.

Bitter gourd requires sandy, loamy soil that is rich with organic matter and has good drainage. It's also a climber plant, so you should give it a trellis to support it. The seed is quite hard, so presoaking the seeds might be a good idea.

Once soaked, the seeds should be planted ½ inch deep in the soil, with a 3 feet distance between them. The fruits start developing around 55 to 60 days after first sowing seeds. You should harvest the fruits when they’re around 4-5 inches in length and have a dark green color. Don’t let them ripen too much on the vine, they’ll change color to orange and will not taste well.

Bottle Gourd

Bottle Gourd is a very versatile vegetable in cooking, it can be used in both sweets and savory dishes. Loaded with nutrients like Vitamin B9 and C, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus, bottle gourd can also be consumed as a freshly squeezed juice.

Similar to other gourds, the plant needs trellis support for it to grow. You can always plant it nearby to a fence or a pole so that the plant holds onto it for support. Make sure to locate the plant in an open and sunny location with abundant moisture.

The seeds should be sown directly into small pits or raised beds, and they will germinate in 7 to 8 days. Harvesting begins around 2 to 3 months after the seeds are sown, and can last up to 6 to 8 weeks. The fruits are ready to harvest when they have a soft, smooth surface and you can push your fingernail into the skin easily.

Bell Pepper

Bell Peppers are a popular vegetable found in red, yellow, and green- each with its unique flavor. Rich in Vitamin B, C, and E, as well as fiber, iron, calcium, etc, bell pepper makes for a great addition to any dish.

The capsicum plant needs a sunny area to grow in, with some partial shade. The seeds should be sown around 8 to 10 inches deep. The soil should be slightly acidic with a pH between 5.8 and 6.5, and also well-drained. While the seed planting can begin indoors with indirect sunlight, after germination, the plant should be moved outdoors.

After planting, it takes around 1.5 to 2 months for the plant to go through its natural process of flowering and fruiting. The fruits are ready to harvest when they’re roughly the size of tennis balls and their skin is smooth and glossy.

Pansies

Pansies are some of the most popular flowers grown in home gardens, and for good reason too! With a variety of colors and patterns as well as a light perfume-like aroma, they are serious people pleasers.

The short-lived perennial can grow up to 8 inches tall and 6 inches wide and is a great choice for a groundcover plant. It just requires rich, well-drained soil that is slightly acidic along with full sun exposure, and the plant is good to go!

While planting, place the pansies about 6 to 8 inches apart. You should also water them regularly.

Sweet Pea

The Sweet Pea flower is a unique annual, known for its delicate beauty and distinctive fragrance. Grown as a vine, it can grow up to 8 feet tall in good soil. Due to its height, it is often used as an herbaceous border, a hedge, or a screen. Sweet Peas do not grow well in coastal areas where the climate is warm and humid, as they prefer colder climates.

The sweet pea flower requires a lot of nutrients, so make sure to supplement the soil with a lot of compost or manure. You can plant the seeds in well-dug soil about 1 inch deep, in an open sunny location. The distance between each seed should be at least 10 cm apart from each other. The plant also requires a lot of watering with heavy irrigation once a week. The flowers will bloom approximately 4 to 6 weeks after vining.

Cucumber

Cucumbers are a great summer vegetable, and versatile enough to be used as a pickle, salad, or even eaten fresh. There are several varieties, used for different purposes. Cucumbers are filled with nutrients like B, C, and K, along with phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium, and most importantly they are 95% water and are a great remedy for dehydration.

Cucumbers are great companion plants for peas, pumpkins, and squash. They should be located far away from herbs and potatoes. The plant does best when planted directly. The seeds should be sown at least 1 inch deep and 4 inches apart from each other. Water regularly to allow the seeds to germinate.

Cucumbers are a creeping vine, so they will need trellis support. The vine also requires bright, direct sunlight, adequate drainage, and rich, fertile soil. Due to the large lead size, the plant should be watered frequently, along with rich compost or water-soluble fertilizer.

Okra

Okras or Lady Fingers are a very popular vegetable used in Indian cuisine. Loaded with nutrients like Vitamin A, B6, C, and K, as well as magnesium and folate, the vegetable is a must for any diet. It can be eaten as a masala gravy, a simple stir-fry, or the more complex bharwa bhindi (stuffed okra).

The plant grows best in soil that is neutral, with a pH between 6.5 and 7. The seeds should be sown 1.5 inches deep and distanced approximately 7 to 10 inches apart from each other. The plant requires a lot of water, so make sure to water it every morning.

The plant is ready to harvest about 45 to 50 days of planting when the fruits are 2-3 inches tall and you can keep harvesting every other day till the plant stops producing crops.

Radish

Although there are at least 5 common types of radishes, the most popular kind consumed in India is white daikon radish that is native to East Asia. They can reach up to 60 cm in length.

The seeds should be sown around 4 to 6 inches apart, and since it’s a root vegetable, radish requires optimum conditions in order to let the roots develop to their best. The potting mix should be moist, wet soil will make the roots rot and dry soil stops the root from growing. Make sure the pot has good drainage as well if you’re growing the plant in containers.

Radishes are a year-round vegetable but the best results are found during Indian winters, with a cool climate and full sunlight. They take 9 to 10 weeks to mature in the winter. It's ready to harvest when it begins peeking out of the soil, but make sure to remove the roots before the plant begins flowering. The entire radish plant can be consumed- both the leaves and the roots.

Pumpkin

An easy-to-grow plant that is a must for any kitchen garden is the pumpkin plant. With pumpkins of various sizes and shapes, the vegetable has plenty of nutrition, including Vitamin A, B6, C, E, K, as well as iron, magnesium, and potassium.

It grows well alongside corn, radish, marigold, and nasturtium. Soak the seeds in warm water for a day before sowing, in order to promote germination. Sow the seeds in a sunny location that has neutral to slightly acidic, well-drained soil. The pumpkin plant also requires a lot of mulch in order to deter weed growth.

Although the pumpkin plant is a creeper, it doesn’t require trellis support as the fruits are large and heavy enough to be grown on the ground. They grow well in loose, well-drained soil and under direct sunlight.

Melon

Nothing beats the summer heat like a juicy melon, and make it easier for yourself by growing some right in your backyard! There are many varieties of melons including watermelon, muskmelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, and even more cultivars within each variety. You should choose a variety of melon that is suited to your climate.

Find a sunny spot in your gardens, as melons require at least 6 to 7 hours of sunlight a day. The soil should also be fertile, which can be done using natural fertilizers or compost material to provide nutrient-dense soil. Melons grow best in raised mounds of dirt, which should be around 1 foot tall and 2-3 feet wide. There should be at least 4 to 6 feet distance between each mound in order to allow for the melon vines to spread.

The plants should be watered 2 to 3 times a week, and more if the weather is hot and dry. Mulch the soil around the plant to help retain moisture. While the fruit is ripening, the frequency of watering should be reduced. Melons should be ready for harvest after the third month of planting. The fruit is ready if it sounds hollow when tapped.

Brinjal

A versatile vegetable and an essential in Indian cooking, the eggplant is full of nutrients like Vitamin B6 and C, fiber, potassium, and anti-oxidants.

The seeds should be sown ¼ inches deep in soil that is loose, fine, and well-drained. The saplings should be watered once a week and kept away from direct sunlight and direct rain. When the plants have come out of the ground, you should transplant them into a bigger pot or a bed of soil. If you are planting your brinjals in a pot, restrict one brinjal to one 20-liter pot.

The fruits are ready to harvest after 60-80 days after germination. You know the fruit is harvest-ready when you push the glossy surface of the skin. If the indentation springs back, the brinjal isn’t ripe enough yet. While harvesting, clip the vegetable at the stem but leave the cap on.

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