January Planting Guide by Zone

Jan 30, 2020 | The Parisienne Farmhouse | 5 comments

January Planting Guide by Zone and other January Ponderings…

There’s always something to do in the garden, no matter where you live and no matter what the season.   Some of you may be lucky souls in the throws of Spring and others, like myself and buried in feet of snow as we peruse seed catalogs in front of a cozy fire.

Snow be darned, the fun is about to begin.   I’ve done it… after weeks of stalling, I’ve placed my roses order from David Austin.  I could have bought a rusty old car… I’ve been saving my pennies for MONTHS.   But I’ll confess, it WAS hard to pull the trigger.   Like tearing of a band-aid, I’m glad I did it.  I can already smell that heady, myrrh-scented Desdamona.

While scouring the internet for seeds and tools, I’ve found myself astonished at our privilege of being modern gardeners.   What luxury!   To be able to hop online and order from a world of colorful vegetables and petals with the click of a mouse.   I often lament that in most cases our instant gratification world leaves us lacking a certain amount of personal grit and character, but I must confess, I love the ease in which the modern gardener can lay her hands to her supplies.

Here in zone 5 it may seem like there is nothing to do, but there are plans to sketch, potting soil to order, lightbulbs to check and hundreds of seedling trays to bring out of storage.  I’ve arranged for “seedling care” for the days I’ll be out of town and though we’ve many weeks of white ahead of us, today the eaves are dripping in the sunshine and I am full of hope.

I’ll bet there’s plenty for you to do in January as well…

My friends who live in zone 3

Can grab your seed catalogs and a highlighter over a great glass of wine and this is the PERFECT time for them to plant my personal favorite; Snapdragons.   (Potomac Appleblossom is the one you saw often featured on my Youtube channel last year and here with my sweet Hobbes.)

January Planting Guide by Zone

If you live in zone 4

Why not get your seed starting system set up, check your trays, order your peat-free potting soil and make sure your heating pads still work properly for those tomatoes and peppers.

This is a great month to start many perennials from seed and move around your houseplants to get any extra light they can after the long winter.

If you live in zone 5

Join your zone four friends in getting all your seed starting equipment in order like I did.   Very late in the month go ahead and start your onion seeds (I’ll hold off a bit, because I’m actually in zone 5 B…).    Now is the time to make sure you’ve ordered all your spring crops like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and more.

My friends who live in zone 6

January Planting Guide by Zone

Can begin their cabbages and onions indoors, get their cold frames in order and make sure their seed orders for celery, lettuces, spinach, arugula and broccoli are in place.

If you live in zone 7

This is the perfect time to start your cabbages and onions like our zone 6 friends AND you get to start my favorite; HERBS.  I’m so jelly.   It’s time for you to direct sow your peas, divide your day Lillies and mow any winter cover crops.

Zone 8 friends will may want to

Harden off your cool weather crops before planting them out.   Lettuces can be started indoors in January, peas can be sown late in the month and of course, it’s time for you to set out your seed potatoes to begin to sprout.  My children love to help me with that one.

Zone 9 gardeners

Can direct sew beets, carrots, lettuces, peas and more and can already start their tomato seeds indoors.   Geraniums can be pruned at this time of year to encourage busyness and alyssum (which I use as an über fragrant weed barrier), nasturtiums and California poppies can be direct sown.   (For my flower pepper recipe containing nasturtiums click here.)

And last but not least…

My friends who live in zone 10

Are lucky enough to set out their spring crop transplants and keep them watered  often (you lucky, sun-worshipping Floridians!).  You can already plant your dahlia, and set out your bedding plants like pansies and my Gramma’s favorite; dianthus.

Your citrus should be tasted often to check for the perfect harvest time and any tropical plants can be pruned back after blooming.

January Planting Guide by Zone

It’s important to get a feel for your particular zone, and to research the slight variations that that happen within your zone.    The U.S. Department of Agriculture zones are to be used as a plant hardiness guide, not necessarily a climate guide…

Maybe someday we’ll even talk about the little microzones that can inhabit your own garden.   Talk about getting intimate with your space!

It’s amazing to see what my fellow gardeners can be doing across the country whilst I sit in my frozen tundra… but that’s O.K.    A gardeners greatest skill is patience and this is my season for patience.    And painting while I wait apparently.

I appreciate you being here.

à bientôt!



  1. Maria

    Dear Angela
    I too long for the springtime. Winters in Canada are far too long. I look forward with great anticipation, as we journey this season together.
    My health situation is not the best however it isn’t going to change my love for sprung time or the garden. I also know that sharing this with kind spirits makes this journey so much sweeter. Wouldn’t you agree?
    I wait for your videos and will cherish every minute.
    God bless,

  2. Dewena

    Zone 7 a here, only two dustings of snow and I’m so jealous of yours and my Montana daughter’s!

    Utterly lovely video and the music while you were painting tugged at my heart. Angela, while I love following you on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook, I always love reading your blog, have since 2011. I know it’s a lot of extra work so thank you for sharing here too!

  3. Christi {Jealous Hands}

    I’m in zone 8 and we’ve had a wonderful few days here! Rain again this weekend, but the ability to actually be in my gardens year round is definitely one of my favorite things about living in Georgia! xo

  4. Sandy

    There are so few just lovely blogs and vlogs, and yours are my favorites. I lived on a 5 acre property for most of my adult life, now I’ve retired to a home in town, but when I see you doing these outdoorsy things I get lonely for them. Thank you that life is a good life for anyone. I do a little puttering around and that’s enough for me in this season of my life.

  5. Carolyn

    Hi Angela, I agree with Dewena that your blog is my favorite among all your venues. Your creativity and the spirit in which you write are thoughtful and inspiring. So please don’t give up writing your blog.

    I’m in Zone 8b and as May approaches we can start planting most of our garden crops. We are small town urban gardeners and have been gardening for years. Nothing tastes as good as home grown; in fact, I am using my home
    grown tomato sauce tonight for dinner. God bless you and your thriving family.


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