The Maritime Northwest Edition
Don't get carried away and start planting your whole garden if we happen to get a week or two of "false spring" weather this month. Although the days can reach into the 50s, the nights still are likely to return to the 20s and 30s. That said, even more seed varieties can be sown this month in the tunnels or cold frames that you set up in January. Many other plant varieties can be started indoors on heat mats and under lights. Successful gardening is all about planning, preparation, and dedication.
In the Vegetable Garden
- Late February is a good time to plant or move asparagus plants.
- For many areas in the Maritime Northwest, President’s Day is the rule of thumb for sowing your edible podded and garden peas into the beds you prepared last month. Remove any weeds that may have germinated. Keep the beds covered until the peas germinate. Use brush from your pruning activities as structures for your peas to climb.
- If you end up with extra space prepared outdoors under cover and feel the urge to start gardening, you can try sowing broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, hardy lettuce varieties, early cauliflower types, arugula, carrots, fava beans, mustard, onions, radishes, rapini, and spinach.
- Remember that succession sowings from the end of the month into spring will deliver long harvest periods.
- Although some risk-taking gardeners will start warm weather plants like eggplants, peppers, and tomatoes indoors towards the end of the month, it is generally a bit too early to be practical. That said, go for it if you’d like. Gardening is all about learning and you can always sow more in March and April.
- Continue to refine your garden plan and look forward to next month’s almanac pages.
- If you have cacti or other succulents, keep them in sunny windows and make sure that they are in well-drained pots. Do not over water as it can result in disease issues.
- For fun, try forcing blooms of plants like willows, ornamental fruit trees, and forsythia by putting fresh cuttings in vases of water in a warm room. The closer that they are to budding, the easier they will force.
- Attracting overwintering birds to your orchard by keeping your feeders filled can have an added bonus of them hunting insect eggs and larvae, helping to reduce infestation issues later in the season.
- If while checking your stored flower bulbs and tubers for disease you discover that they are drying out, lightly sprinkle the storage medium (sand, peat, sawdust, etc.) with water to rehydrate.
- Gardening Information by State
- “Seed Storage and Its Affects on Quality, Viability, and Germination”
- Simple Seed Germination Test Instructions
NOTE: If you live in a warmer or colder climate, adjust your schedule accordingly. The tasks that we do here in the Pacific Northwest in February may be more appropriate to perform in January in parts of the South, or late March in the far North.
Mike Dunton is a farmer, lifelong gardener, and seed saver interested in “old-timey” ways, historical agriculture and biodiversity preservation. From his ancestral farm in Liberal, Oregon, he focused all of these interests and founded the mission-driven Victory Seed Company in 1998 which works to locate, grow, document and preserve rare, threatened, heirloom seed varieties keeping them available to gardeners. You can find them online at www.VictorySeeds.com or email him at [email protected]. Your support is greatly needed and appreciated. [This article was originally published in the Green Living Journal.]