Regional Gardening Guide - Zone 7-8
February 1 to February 29-- Discover what you should be doing right now. Our experts share gardening advice, techniques, news, and ideas to make your garden the best ever.
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Katie Elzer-Peters is the author of Beginner's Illustrated Guide to Gardening, Carolinas Fruit and Vegetable Gardening, Southern Fruit and Vegetable Gardening, and many other vegetable gardening books. She lives in coastal North Carolina, where she enjoys four-season gardening.
To see what Katie's doing in her garden. Click Here!
Learn about lettuce (and other spring greens)
Lettuce is one of the easiest vegetables to grow, as are other spring greens. Lettuce and many other tasty greens thrive in the cool weather of spring. You can even winter-sow (scatter seeds now, while it’s cool out) some lettuces and they’ll germinate when the soil warms up just a bit. If you’re new to vegetable gardening, growing lettuce is a good place to start, because you’re practically guaranteed success. Learn how to grow lettuce and other spring greens to save money at the store and add a nutritional punch to your diet.
Plant a cool season herb garden
Several of our favorite herbs actually grow better when the weather is cool outside than when it is warm. Dill sprouts in late spring—when sown directly into the garden—and lasts until early June. It will tolerate some chilly nights, though, so it is possible to start seeds indoors now and harden off the plants for planting outside in late March. Cilantro is another cool-season herb that bolts when the weather gets too hot. Parsley will grow equally well in the spring, summer, fall, and winter, and it’s useful to add vitamins and a pop of green to almost every dish, so plant some now and keep it growing!.
Plant a salad bowl
You can winter-sow lettuce outside. Now is also a good time to get lettuce going for salad bowls. Sow seeds indoors in seedling flats. When the plants have two sets of leaves, you can plant them in wide, shallow pots, leaving 4-5 inches between plants, to create “salad bowls.” These container gardens are convenient because you can move them outside into a protected area on a warm, sunny day, and bring them in when temperatures below freezing are in the forecast.
Learn about gardening with annual flowers
Annuals are almost always the colorful backbone of the garden. They bloom non- stop throughout the growing season (cool-weather or warm-weather), are easy to care for, and can be planted in masses for a big impact. Learn about different types of annuals and how you should select the right ones for your garden. Brush up on garden design to make the most effective use of annual flower colors. And, read about annual flowers you can sow now for early spring beauty.
Protect plants during cold weather
Most of the plants you’re growing now are quite cold hardy. Some fall and winter vegetables, in particular broccoli and cauliflower, need a bit of protection from extreme temperatures. A floating row cover comes in handy to protect broccoli and cauliflower when temperatures drop below 25 degrees Fahrenheit. If you want to get a jump on the season with lettuces, spinach, and other cool-weather crops, plant seeds and cover them with a TunLCover. (Don’t forget to water!) You can grow almost anything year-round where we live if you invest in a cold frame. If you’re serious about growing your own vegetables, think about installing one.