February 1 to February 28
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:
Learn about planning a vegetable garden
While it’s still relatively chilly outside and you’re planting little beyond peas take the chance to read up on vegetable garden design. Even though we get a winter chill, we can still grow vegetables year-round in zones 7 and 8, but to do so requires a bit of planning. Learn how to lay out the vegetable garden to get the most use out of your space. Succession planting will allow you to keep edibles growing year-round without gaps.
Make room for Root Crops
Root crops are sometimes overlooked in the vegetable garden, but they are some of the easiest edibles to grow. Sweet potatoes are planted from “slips” that can be difficult to find, but we have many varieties. They have a long growing season and are not cold-tolerant. Carrots are easy to grow in cooler months, provided that you have nice loose soil. They do particularly well in raised beds that are at least six inches deep. Many people plant radishes in the same row as carrots, as the radishes grow and mature long before the carrots are ready to harvest. Because radishes sprout quickly they keep the soil from crusting over in the row, which can inhibit successful growth of carrots, which take a long time to germinate.
Get ready for salad gardening
When you think “salad,” lettuce is probably the first thing to come to mind. You can go ahead and sow seeds for Black Seeded Simpson lettuce. The seeds will sprout when temperatures are optimum. This is a loose leaf “cut and come again” variety that’s really easy to grow. When you plan the salad garden, think about other greens, particularly baby beet greens and kale. Both of these greens are delicious in raw salads when picked young. They’re also packed with nutrients.
Learn about garden design
As you’re learning how to design the vegetable garden, spend some time thinking about the flowers and landscape as well. Garden design isn’t a mysterious topic. Master a few basics and you’ll grow drool-worthy flower gardens that bring you and your neighbors joy. Even if you have tricky spaces—such as a small landscape bed or narrow side yard—there’s a solution and a plant for you.
What you need for cleaning out the garden
If you didn’t get the garden cleaned out in the fall, February is the drop dead month for maintenance. You’re probably noticing bulbs starting to push up through last year’s leaves. Hellebores are blooming full-force, and so are other winter perennials. These tools are must-haves for any gardener, but come in particularly handy for clean up. Wearing gloves keeps you from cutting your hands open on dry, brittle stems. Bypass pruners are essential for cutting back perennials, and the tufftote will quickly become your favorite garden accessory—lowering the number of trips you have to make to the compost pile and letting you collect debris where a wheelbarrow won’t fit.