What vegetables to grow & sow in February largely depends on the weather.
The longer days are noticeable, but its a few weeks before there’s a good amount of daylight & milder weather that signals most plants into growth.
There have been many disappointing attempts to sow seeds, I eventually realised that sowing too early was the main reason. I like to wait a bit before I start growing & sowing lots of different vegetables, concentrating on a few that I know are right for this time of year, so here’s my pick for February.
Such small effort for so much reward, although this can be said about many vegetable.
These taste best when cooked straight after they’ve been picked, which is why any shop bought ones will be disappointing. The first pickings of small, young beans are delicious uncooked. Their other great virtue, is that they benefit the soil. Cut the plant down to 2-3 in. above the ground when the beans are over, the little nodules on the roots gradually rot away releasing nitrogen into the soil for use by the next batch of plants that grow there.
Freshly picked salad leaves are a cut above any shop bought ones. They generally have much more flavour & texture. There’s no transportation or plastic packaging making it a more sustainable way of getting your leaves
At this time of year they lend themselves for growing as a cut & come again crop indoors.
Choose a container at least 20 cm in diameter, drainage holes are essential, fill it with compost, leaving a 2cm gap below the top of the pot & gently firm it down to make a smooth surface, stand it on a plate & water the soil,
sprinkle seeds onto the surface & cover them with a sprinkling of soil, spread damp newspaper over the top to keep the warmth & moisture in & check every day, removing the paper as soon as you see green shoots appearing. Water sparingly, not letting the soil dry out.
Begin cutting the leaves when they’re about 20cm tall, leaving half the crop to generate more leaves. Start of another container of seeds as the first lot germinate, that way you should have replacements as the first lot run out of energy.
It needs a period of cold, so if you didn’t get round to planting it in November, me neither, we get another opportunity now.
Plant each clove 15cm apart & 30cm between rows, with the potty tip showing just above the soil. They’ll be ready to harvest in the summer.
These need an early start, you’ll find all the information you need in a previous blog post here.
You can check when the last date for frost in your area is here, it’s 1-10th of May where I live.
This helps me to decide when to sow seeds, keeping the time they’re waiting in the greenhouse or cold-frame to be planted outside to a minimum, because watering & looking after them takes up precious time that could be used elsewhere in the garden … or inside drinking tea. For instance tomato seeds need 6-8 weeks growing before they can be planted outside, so the best time to sow them round here is the middle of March.
More about what to do in the garden in February in a few days, sign up in the on the right, for notifications of when the next blog posting.
All photos: Jill Anderson