February Gardening Tips
As we enter February it is official: we are on the eve of gardening season.
And just like Christmas eve, it can be one of the most restless months of the year.
So today, I'm going to share with you 3 February Gardening Tips.
STARTING SEEDS IN FEBRUARY
If you're thinking about gardening in February, then you - like myself - would fall into Camp Eager Beaver. It has been a long, cold, and dark winter. And if you identify as a Mindful Gardener, it can be an especially challenging month because everything within us wants to start our seeds, get into the garden, and remember just how good it feels to get the hands dirty.
The good news is that there are some seeds that can be started in February!
To determine what seeds you can start, all you need to do is:
- Google the name of your city and growing zone (i.e. Vancouver Growing Zone)
- Look up that Zone and Planting Chart (i.e. Zone 8a Planting Chart)
- This will give you a number of planting charts, such as the amazing ones from West Coast Seeds.
- Begin looking up the vegetables that you love to eat and which ones can get started in February
Don't start some seeds too early
At the same time, I encourage you to exercise patience on starting your seeds that are meant to start a little bit later in the year. For instance, if you were to start Zucchinis in February but not able to transplant them into the garden until mid-May, that means it will have to grow indoors for more than 100 days, which presents a few distinct challenges:
- Space: They will grow very large and in turn take up a significant amount of space. This creates a juggling act with the other plants.
- Transplant: As the space gets tighter and tighter, you'll be tempted to transplant them into the outdoor garden earlier to free up some space. However, when the night time lows are still in the single digits and frost as a threat, we are putting those plant babies that we worked hard to grow at risk of not surviving the early parts of the season.
- Stress: Given that the roots will be in a small seed cell, they will very quickly become bound. When this happens, the plant is unnecessarily stressed and will end up putting out a significant number of flowers opposed to foliage - and as a result may not even make it to the garden.
Image of a cucumber plant that was started too early and is incredibly stressed due to not having enough space for its roots to grow.
So, get a few started but then put the rest of that pent up gardening energy into a few other areas for the time being!
GET AHEAD ON INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS
At the end of winter there is always a little wear and tear on the garden space and some TLC needed to get it into tip-top shape for the season ahead. This is a beautiful opportunity to spend some time slowing down and observing your yard in advance of the season.
Practice a little Mindful Gardening by slowly working your way through the yard and making a list of the projects that need attention before the season fully kicks into gear. A few of the projects on my end that I'll need to get to before the season kicks into gear include:
- Strawberry Cage: The weight of the snow broke the mesh on my strawberries and will need to be fixed before the season to prevent the birds from getting to it.
- Raspberry Trellis: I had setup a temporary raspberry trellis that has also taken a real beating from the snow over the winter. Fortunately I had planned on replacing this one regardless, but this is another project that I will want to get to before the upcoming season.
Additionally, there are a few upcoming garden projects that I can get a head start on once the remainder of the snow melts:
- Grow Tent Setup: I will be setting up a Grow Tent as a trial for greenhouse growing in the newly cleared space from setting up my split rail fence.
- Barefoot Path: Also through this newly cleared space I am looking to build a barefoot path that consists of a different texture every 15 feet for touch sensory activation - one of my favourite Mindful Gardening practices.
- Rainwater Catchment: I'm also hoping to begin experimenting with capturing rainwater from my roof into a barrel that then waters a portion of my yard. Based on my experience (lack thereof) with irrigation, I can already tell that the more time available for this the better!
What pieces of infrastructure on your end have been damaged from this past winter? What upcoming projects are you looking forward to getting started?
February Gardening Check List
Lastly, once March gets here the gardening season really starts to pick up speed. From starting a significant number of our seeds to prepping soils and garden beds, there is no shortage of ways to be getting our hands dirty! As such, use February as a last moment to enjoy the peacefulness and calmness of winter, and go through a little organization check list to make sure you're all set for the season ahead.
To help you out with this I've put together a little checklist for you:
- Garden Plan: Have I built my garden plan for the season ahead to know which plants I want to grow and seeds I want to start?
- Seeds: Have I cataloged which seeds I have on hand and which seeds I am short on? Have I placed an order for those seeds?
- Seedling Mix: Have I placed my order for Worm Casting Seedling Mix for starting my seeds in?
- Seed Starting Station: Have I setup my seed starting station so that I don't have to run around once season has arrived and seeds are started?
- Seed Starting: Are there any seeds I should be starting in February? Have I started these seeds?
- Gardening Journal: Have I purchased a journal for keeping my gardening notes in for the season ahead?
- Garden Projects: Have I outlined which garden projects I'd like to embark on this upcoming season in my gardening journal?
I've got no doubt that as you work through a few infrastructure projects and get your loose ends organized that March will be here before you know it and we will be starting to get serious about getting our hands dirty!