Regional Gardening Guide - Zone 5-6

February 1 to February28-- Discover what you should be doing right now. Our experts share gardening advice, techniques, news, and ideas to make your garden the best ever.

Here’s what’s happening in your gardening region:

February is the unofficial start of the seed season. Perennials, seeds that take a long time to germinate and cool weather varieties can all be started in February. Key to when to start should be geared to when your last spring frost is expected and that is usually sometime in May for most of zones 5 and 6.

 

map for zone 5-6

Your Regional reporter

Kate Cospey regional reporter photo

Kate is an avid veggie gardener and writer.
She is a board member of the Garden Writer's Association. She authored 2 books: The Downsized Veggie Garden (Feb 2016) and New York & New Jersey Month by Month Gardening is due out Aug 2016.

To see what Kate's doing in her garden. Click Here!

1. Learn which perennials can be started in February.

Learn which perennials can be started in February: Many perennial seeds take a long time to germinate and grow very slowly at the start. These seedlings need to be started much earlier than the typical annual seeds and patience is needed while you wait for them to grow.

2. Colorful perennials to start now.

Colorful perennials to start now! There are times when buying a plant makes more sense than starting things from seed. The ideal varieties to start from seed are those things that you need a lot of. For instance, if you want a row of lavender then that would be best to be grown from seed. Most people don’t need more than one rosemary plant so it makes more sense to buy the potted plant. Try these slow growing perennials.

  • Lavender, English, , large
  • Dianthus, Sweet Black Cherry, , large
  • Shasta Daisy, Silver Princess, , large

3. Get the kids involved in seed starting.

Get the kids involved in seed starting: Kids are inquisitive and are very capable of sowing a few seeds in winter. Simple experiments and growing tips help make this a fun as well as educational winter project.

4. Seed starting options for perennials.

Seed starting options for perennials: Although the basic seed starting for perennials, as well as those items that need a long time to grow, is basically the same, there are some considerations to keep in mind. The seedlings are small for a long time and will need window space for a long time too. Growing on narrow windowsills, using heat to improve germination and using expandable peat pots. The pellets or peat containers show the little roots as they emerge giving you notice that they need to be repotted.

  • Windowsill Greenhouse Kit with Heat Mat, , large
  • Seedling Misters, , large
  • XL Super Growing Pellets, , large

5. Get seed starting equipment ready.

Getting seed starting equipment ready : Serious seed starting starts in March and April but you don’t want to get the seeds then find that you don’t have the enough light or heat to grow them all. Adding heat mats helps speed germination of tropical varieties and light is essential for sturdy growth. Gets these this month so that you are ready for next month.

  • Seedlings Heat Mat, , large
  • Digital Heat Mat Thermostat, , large
  • Tabletop Glow ‘n Grow Light, , large