Seeds to Start in January: Cultivate Your Canadian Garden with Winter Wonders

As the new year begins, gardeners across Canada are eagerly planning their gardens and preparing to sow seeds for the upcoming growing season. January may seem like a quiet month in terms of gardening, but it’s actually the perfect time to start certain seeds indoors. Today we will explore seeds to start in January in Canada, providing you with the knowledge to kickstart your gardening journey.

Cold-Hardy Vegetables

In Canada, where winters can be harsh and frosty, it’s essential to start seeds of cold-hardy vegetables in January. These include cabbage, kale, spinach, collard greens, and lettuce. By starting these seeds indoors, you give them a head start and increase your chances of a successful harvest. Choose varieties that are specifically bred for cold climates to ensure optimal growth and productivity.

Early-Blooming Flowers

Brighten up your garden with early-blooming flowers by starting their seeds indoors in January. Popular choices include pansies, snapdragons, petunias, and violas. These plants not only add color and beauty to your garden but also attract crucial pollinators like bees and butterflies. Starting their seeds early allows them to establish strong roots and be ready for planting once the frost subsides.


If you love cooking with fresh herbs, starting seeds of herbs like parsley, cilantro, dill, and chives in January is a great idea. These herbs thrive in cooler temperatures and can be grown indoors or in a greenhouse until the weather warms up. By starting them early, you’ll have a bountiful supply of aromatic herbs to enhance your culinary creations throughout the year.

Onions and Leeks

Onions and leeks are staple crops in many Canadian gardens. By starting seeds of these alliums indoors in January, you can harvest them earlier and enjoy their flavorful bulbs and greens. Varieties such as ‘Red Karmen’ onions and ‘Giant Musselburgh’ leeks are excellent choices for early sowing. Transplant them outdoors as soon as the soil can be worked, ensuring that they have ample time to mature.


While many gardeners focus on annuals, starting perennial seeds in January can provide long-lasting beauty year after year. Consider starting seeds of perennials such as coneflowers, black-eyed Susan’s, lupines, and delphiniums. These plants require a period of cold stratification to break their dormancy, making January an ideal time to sow their seeds indoors.

Seeds of Diversity, an organization dedicated to preserving seed biodiversity and Canada’s garden seed heritage, encourages gardeners to consider saving and sharing these seeds. By doing so, you play an active role in protecting and maintaining the rich diversity of our food crops.

Not every gardener has to be a seed saver, but for those interested in preserving seeds for future generations, Seeds of Diversity offers a wealth of resources. They provide information, networks, and programs to help you enhance your seed-saving knowledge and experience. Connecting with programs like community seed exchanges and seed libraries allows you to contribute to the preservation of our plant heritage.

While January may not be the busiest time in the garden, it’s a crucial period for starting seeds indoors. By taking advantage of this quiet time, you can give your plants a head start and ensure a successful growing season. From cold-hardy vegetables to early-blooming flowers and flavorful herbs, there are plenty of seeds to start in January in Canada. Embrace the opportunity to nurture these seeds and watch them flourish into thriving plants in the coming months.

Whether you’re a dedicated seed saver or simply a passionate gardener, remember that each seed represents hope for a bountiful harvest and a richly diverse garden. By protecting food biodiversity in Canada, we safeguard our future and create a vibrant ecosystem for both ourselves and the precious pollinators that play a vital role in our gardens.

So, gather your seeds, prepare your pots, and get your seeds ready! Now that you know what seeds to start in January, you are on your way to an amazing harvest this summer. See you in the garden!

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