Do 6 of These Things in February To Have a Great Garden in Spring! Read further to get some brilliant tips on February Gardening!
USDA Plant Hardiness Zones are based on the temperature conditions of the place. They range from zones 1a to 13b. The majority of the United States comprises zone 3a, which has a low temperature around -40 and -35 degrees (F), and zone 8a, with 10 to 15 degrees.
Outdoor gardening is on hold as by December, most annual plants have finished their cycles and been taken up, and many perennials are dormant.
February, right in the middle of the winter, is the perfect time to start strategizing your garden for the upcoming spring. You must Do 6 of These Things in February To Have a Great Garden in Spring!
Do 6 of These Things in February To Have a Great Garden in Spring
1. Map Your Garden
Gardening is fun and rewarding with countless experiences. However, a little planning goes a long way for the best turnout.
An easy way to plan your garden is to map it out and divide it into square feet. Depending on the vegetable, you can plant a certain amount of seeds per square foot. The following can be used as a guide:
|Seedlings Per Square Foot||What to Plant|
|1 per 2 square feet||watermelon, vining squash|
|1||tomato, basil, broccoli, cauliflower, hot peppers|
|4||lettuce, other leafy greens|
|8||bush beans, snap peas|
|16||beets, radishes, turnips, carrots, onions|
Refer to this example map of a square foot garden plan.
When mapping out your garden, you should also consider companion planting. It is the practice of planting vegetables or flowers that complement each other and produce higher yields and quality when planted in closer proximity.
For almost any vegetable garden, marigolds are a good companion plant because they deter pests like beetles. Plan on including marigolds in your garden layout!
2. Order Seeds
Now that you have the plan, look upon the seeds you need. You’ve probably signed up to receive seed catalogs from a few companies, if you have been gardening for a while.
The catalogs usually start arriving around January 1st. You can decide which seeds to start for the season and place the order accordingly.
If you’ve saved seeds from last year’s crops or from organic veggies you’ve purchased at the store, that’s great! You’re one step ahead.
3. Start Seedlings Indoors
Depending on your hardiness zone, the last frost date falls between April 1-May 15. If you live in a northern zone with an early first frost date like September or October 1st, it won’t be easy to start the seeds outdoors.
Many seedlings will fare better and have more time to produce an entire crop if started indoors first. February is the perfect time to start seedlings indoors so they will be strong enough to harden off before it’s warm enough to plant outside.
To start seedlings inside, you’ll need a seedling tray or small containers with drainage holes, a sterile seed starter mix, some plastic wrap, and a sunny window.
Plant your seeds 1-2 per cell or container in the moistened mix. Cover with plastic wrap. Check each day if the medium is moist. Once seedlings emerge, you can remove the plastic wrap. Provided they get enough water and sunlight, your seedlings should be strong enough to go outside within the next 2-3 months. (Make sure to harden them off first).
4. Start Composting
Composting is a garden project you can start in winter or any time of year. Having your own compost bin will save you money in the long run—it’s cheaper than expensive fertilizer from garden stores, and it uses waste you’d otherwise be filling your garbage bags with.
There are many options for composting, depending on the process you’re comfortable with. For a worm bin compost or a no-turn (i.e. low maintenance) outdoor compost, the turnaround process is three months or more, so if you start now, it will be ready by the growing season to use in your garden.
The decomposition process is slower in winter with the cooler temperatures, but you can do a few things to speed up the process if you start late.
5. Build a Hoop House
If you are anxious to get some plants in the ground outside, you can consider building a hoop house. A hoop house is a series of parallel hoops arching over your garden, covered in a heat-retaining greenhouse material.
This dome acts as a mini-greenhouse to protect your plants from frost. It can extend your growing season by nearly 8 weeks in spring and fall. By mid-February, you can plant cold-hardy varieties such as arugula, onions, broccoli in your hoop house. You can try plants less forgiving of frost if you add an extra layer of material inside the dome.
You can try making a hoop house yourself, or they can also be purchased at your local garden store.
Read the best Spring Quotes For Gardeners here!
6. Plant Fall Bulbs, If You Forgot Earlier
If you forgot to plant your tulip and daffodil bulbs before Thanksgiving! Plant them now.
Fall bulbs need a cold period to bloom once the weather gets warm. Ideally, they should be planted between September and December. However, they will bloom even if planted later, as long as they get are sowed in the ground.
Bulbs are different from seeds—they won’t make it until next year, so you might as well try to plant them now while they still have a chance at success.
If you have spring bulbs like gladiolus, don’t plant those now, as they do not work the same way as to fall bulbs and won’t survive winter temperatures.
Megan Machucho is a paraprofessional, freelance writer, and mom of two little girls and one cat. She enjoys spending time with her kids and watching them learn. When she’s not too busy chasing after them, she is an avid gardener and cook.