January Vegetable Garden Planning (& Planting!) in the Lowcountry
While the cold winds of winter are blowing up north and gardeners are huddled around their seed and flower catalogs dreaming of abundant vegetable and flower gardens, here in the Lowcountry as early as February gardeners are busy preparing the soil and planting.
With a last frost date of mid to late February, cool weather vegetable crops can often be planted beginning in early February. The USDA Hardiness Zone puts the Hilton Head Lakes area in Zone 8 which means come early February gardens aren’t just a winter dream!
Handy charts abound of course, with Clemson University offering a wealth of information on what to plant and when for the Coastal, Central and Piedmont Regions. Another more colorful chart is by Urban Farmer Seeds and may be easier to follow. Both charts though offer a shopping list of items to plant as early as the end of January (although you may want to cover your seedings at first): asparagus, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, kale, lettuce, onions, peas, peppers, spinach and yes, even tomatoes.
What if you don’t want to dig up a large garden or perhaps don’t have the room? Vegetables can be successfully grown in containers on the patio. Containers are also easier to cover should there be a cold snap or to bring indoors. Be creative! You don’t need a specific type of container for your vegetables, just about anything will do – regular pots, wooden boxes, pails, you name it. So long as there is good drainage and the right soil you can look forward to stepping outside and plucking that perfectly ripe tomato just outside your patio door. What is the right soil? Peat-based potting mixes containing both peat and vermiculite are excellent. They are relatively sterile, pH balanced and allow young plants to get enough air and water to develop properly. Adding a slow release or complete organic fertilizer at planting will keep your vegetables fed throughout the growing season.
If you decide to try planting vegetables in containers, do use caution however when choosing the color of your container. Darker colored pots can absorb more heat which may damage the roots of your plants. For more helpful information about vegetable gardening in containers, visit The Spruce online.
Planting in January and February instead of huddling over a catalog while the cold winds blow is just one more great reason to make Hilton Head Lakes your next home.
Hilton Head Lakes is a debt free community in South Carolina, and one of the best places to retire. It’s the perfect balance between gated community and world class resort. With the addition of Realstar Builders, we’re creating homes that are built to last. Schedule a Discovery Visit today and experience Hilton Head Lakes for yourself.