Skip to main content

These plants should be among the first you plant this year

Grow these plants to get a jump on gardening

It’s a new year, which means we’re about to enter a new growing season! If you’re planning out your first garden of the year, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with all the options. There are so many plants to choose from, and every year new hybrids and varieties are introduced to the market. If thinking of all those plants makes your head spin, don’t worry. You’re not alone. We’ve got some recommendations to help narrow things down to start your new year planting season off right.

Crocus flowers blooming in snow
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Early-blooming flowers

Flowers that bloom early in spring or late in winter are great choices to plant. Due to their bloom time, they’re often cold resistant, and they can add a bright pop of color to break up the smooth whites and browns of winter. If you’re growing them from seed, it’s best to plant them in the fall. However, you can often find seedlings or mature plants in nurseries early in the year.

Some great early-blooming flowers are:

  • Crocus
  • Snowdrops
  • Daffodils
  • Violets
A Brussels sprout plant with snow on it
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Slow-growing fruits and veggies

If you plan on growing a lot of fruits and vegetables, you should be aware that some of them grow very slowly. In order to harvest them on time, plan to plant them early in the year. While some are sensitive to the cold and may need to start indoors, others can be planted directly in the soil as soon as it thaws enough to dig in!

Here are a few slow-growing plants to consider planting early:

  • Brussels sprouts
  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
A garden bed of tall spinach plants
Jun Wat / Shutterstock

Quick-growing cold-resistant fruits and veggies

If you’re already craving fresh fruits and veggies, you might want to focus on cold-tolerant plants that grow quickly. Planting these will let you get in a few quick harvests before many other fruits and vegetables are even ready to be planted! You can start the seeds indoors or plant them in early winter. However, to add them to your garden early in the year, check your local nursery for seedlings and nearly mature plants.

Look for these plants in particular:

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Turnips
A patch of hairy vetch
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Cover crops

If you plan to leave your garden empty for a time, then planting a cover crop can be helpful. Cover crops prevent wind and rain from washing away soil, but they can also return nutrients to the soil, giving your new planting season a boost. Many gardeners plant winter cover crops at the end of fall, but depending on your climate, you can still plant some of them in January.

Some cover crops are better suited for warm weather, but here are a few you can grow while it’s cold out:

  • Winter rye
  • Vetch
  • Red clover
  • Austrian winter peas

With proper planning, you can get a jump on this year’s growing season and bring your garden to life early! Whether you prefer flowers or vegetables, or just plan to leave your garden alone for a few months, this guide can help you get started. Some of these plants can even grow indoors, so if the weather where you live is still too cold to get out and garden, that doesn’t have to stop you from getting a jump on your new year of gardening.

Editors' Recommendations

Cayla Leonard
Cayla Leonard is a writer from North Carolina who is passionate about plants.  She enjoys reading and writing fiction and…
7 gorgeous types of roses every gardener should know
Roses to add to your garden
Cluster of Sophy's Rose roses, dark pink blossoms

Roses are among the most iconic flowers. No matter the form, size, or color they take, roses are easily recognizable and beautiful. Whether they’re in a bouquet or growing in your garden, roses are a standout flower. However, roses come in more forms than you might think.

From the classic rose bush to the tiny miniature roses or elegant climbing roses, this guide to types of roses will cover seven roses you should know about. Adding one or more of these roses to your home or garden is sure to be an instant hit.
Cabbage roses

Read more
The best (and worst) garlic companion plants
Plant your garlic next to these plants for the best results
A basket of freshly harvested garlic

Garlic is a flavorful addition to most dishes, and it can be a helpful addition to most gardens as well. Along with its strong flavor and smell comes the reported ability to repel pests by masking the scent of more palatable plants. This makes garlic an excellent companion plant for most vegetables and flowers, but what about the reverse? Which plants are good companions for garlic, and which are better planted elsewhere? This guide to garlic companion plants will answer all your questions so you can plan your next garden with confidence.
Fruits and vegetables

If you want to add garlic to your fruit or vegetable garden, then you’re in luck! Many fruits and vegetables make excellent garlic companion plants. Small root vegetables such as beets, radishes, and carrots are a good choice. They don’t take up much room and they can be planted alongside many other vegetables as well. Strawberries make great garlic companion plants.

Read more
Here’s what you should know about the updated USDA Hardiness Zone Map
These facts may help you as you begin your spring gardening
A person kneeling in a garden, removing a plant with a shovel

There’s major news in the gardening community: The USDA Hardiness Zone Map has been updated. If you’re a seasoned gardener, there’s a good chance that you’re familiar with this climate zone map, as it generally gives growers a good idea of which plants work in their area. But what does it mean for your spring garden if the map has been redrawn? Here’s what you need to know about the map, the change, and how it all impacts what you can grow in your yard. 
What is the USDA Hardiness Zone Map?

With the USDA Hardiness Zone Map, the U.S. Department of Agriculture splits the United States into 13 regions, using lowest average temperature ranges to designate specific planting zones. It’s simple to understand: Zone 1 is the coldest, whereas zone 13 is the warmest. Each zone is separated by 10-degree increments, but some gardeners like to get more granular and divide each zone into 5-degree increments (think zone 9A vs. zone 9b). 

Read more