There’s an old adage in gardening that we don’t really start until the last threat of frost has passed, usually in May. However, there are actually many plants that can be put into the ground when it is still cold out in February.
What to plant in February: After a few years of gardening, you will be aware that a calendar is key. Different vegetables need to be planted at different times of the year and you don’t want to miss these times. February can be a very busy month. If you have crops that need a long growing time, such as tomatoes, you can start the seeds indoors. On the other hand, if live in a mild climate, there are plenty of seeds you can direct sow outdoors, such as carrots, spinach, and potatoes. Just don’t get too excited because you really want to be aware of your area’s typical last frost date. This will help you schedule your planting so you can have a garden that produces all year long.
What Seeds to Plant in February
As long as there aren’t piles of snow on the ground, you can directly plant lettuce into your garden. This is a cold-hardy crop and doesn’t do well once temperatures start to rise.
Lettuce is also best if you plant multiple times per year as there is a fairly long growing season, mostly all of spring. Plant in February, March, and April for a continual supply of greens.
While you can plant onions in February, this is only advisable if your soil is starting to warm up. There should be no snow on the ground and you should be able to work the soil fairly well.
If your soil is too heavy, the onions won’t be able to grow. So, if this is the case, wait another month to get your onions in.
Unfortunately, it is hard to grow peppers in colder climates because they take so long to mature. Furthermore, if you want red peppers, you need to wait even longer as bell peppers start out green and then turn red the longer they are allowed to ripen.
There is a way around this and it is by starting your pepper seeds indoors, in February. You can plant the seeds and watch them grow. Don’t transplant them to your garden until May as they need very warm soil to thrive.
While tomatoes are a great beginner plant for new gardeners, they take a lot of patience. Some varieties of tomatoes can take over three months to be ready.
To help speed the process up a bit, it is best to start your tomato seeds indoors, in February. This gives your plants a head start and they will be all the stronger once you transplant them in April or May.
Basil is a temperamental herb and has a lot of needs. One of these is warmth, which means you can’t direct sow the seeds until the ground really warms up.
However, if you really want this fragrant herb, you can definitely start the seeds indoors in February. Give them the extra time to grow so that by April or May they are ready for your garden.
Despite their name, snow peas don’t actually like the snow. However, they don’t mind the cold and should be one of the first crops in your garden.
You only have to wait until the ground starts to thaw before planting your peas. While this will vary by climate, in more temperate areas, February is a great time to start your peas.
There’s a delicate balance as to when to plant potatoes. They prefer cooler temperatures but the soil has to be above freezing, temperature-wise.
Be sure to check your local forecast but for many areas, February is a good month to plant your potatoes outside. If you are worried about the cold, you can always start them inside and then transplant them in March or April.
A cool-weather crop, cabbage thrives when the temperatures are not too hot. While you do have to wait until the last frost date, for many areas this can be as early as February.
If you are worried about a long winter, you can always start these seeds indoors before transplanting them in March or April.
There are some varieties of cauliflower that have a very long growing period, so it’s always a good idea to start this crop inside in February. Then, once the threat of frost is over, you can transplant in May.
Another cold-hardy crop, carrot seeds can be planted outside in February. However, there are a few conditions for this.
Your soil should be workable. If the ground is still frozen, you will need to wait until a later date. Furthermore, carrot seeds do best under a cold frame so you will want to cover your seedlings but still allow sunlight to penetrate into the soil.
Spinach is one of the first crops that are ready, so it’s natural that you can plant it in February. It is very hardy and will do just fine, even if the soil is still cold.
You may want to wait until the weather warms up a bit, and always be on the lookout for a sudden cold snap. While the seeds will be ok, once your spinach starts to grow, a deep freeze will kill the leaves.
While many expert gardeners swear by planting their garlic in the fall, with some even having a specific date, it’s ok if you were busy. You can still plant garlic in the early spring or even late winter.
The soil should be workable and not too heavy. If it is still too cold out, wait a few more weeks.
February can be a busy month for gardeners so it’s always best to plan out your garden. If you have very cold winters, you can start seeds inside and if you have more temperate winters, you can start planting outside.