Gardening · Homesteading · Urban Homesteading

February Garden Task and Seeds To Start

January slips by fast, and once you see February looming, you know it is time to start planning again. Overall, I don’t plant much in January, my push is come February. I start some seeds this month (though I have learned to hold back the majority until March).

We live in grow zone 8b, which much of Island County, Washington is in. We are overall temperate, with wet winters, but not a lot of snow or freezing days (we get frosts, but rarely get deep freezes) with sunny days sprinkled through to dry out. February tends to bring 1 to 3 days of snow, so plan for that before you get too ambitious in planting.

And on the last day of January we got a light dusting:

It reminds me to not push to fast, even though I really want to plant everything!

Garden tasks to get done this month:

  • Figure out what you want to grow in the coming year, and purchase seeds. Now is your chance to get the best (and freshest) selections. This year do not hesitate.
  • Plan your garden layout for the year. Go walk outside, take photos, make sketches, even measure if need be. Work it out on paper, or online, using a program (there are a number of free ones, I prefer paper myself).
  • Clean up your garden work storage space – whether it is a shed, garage or a greenhouse.
  • Sharpen, and clean tools. Things get dirty in storage, and rust can set in. This gives you time to purchase new tools if needed, if something is broke.
  • Clean up tree debris, such as fallen branches and pinecones.
  • Assess fruit and nut trees for minor pruning, if needed.
  • If the ground isn’t frozen, plant bare root trees and shrubs. Bare root items tend to show up in nearly February in nurseries and stores. Buy early, before the items sit in hot stores.
  • Plant asparagus bare roots.
  • If using raised beds for crops, start making them. If existing, turn the soil over and remove weeds. Add more soil if needed.
  • If planning on in ground gardening, consider getting it ready – cover with cardboard to smother weeds, or get garden tarps down. Working in amendments can be tricky this early due to heavy rains in the PNW.
  • If you have ignored your compost bin, work on it. At minimum, start turning it weekly. Add in leaves if you have them. If you have animals, work in their manure and any wood chips.
  • If planning on acquiring chickens, consider ordering your chicks this month, so that by spring they will be old to put outside in their coop. Hens take 9 to 16 weeks to start producing eggs, so plan for this. Chicks should be at least 5 weeks old before being put outside in a coop, I let mine stay in the “chick” coop till they are 10 weeks or so, before they are allowed to go outside in the general population, unless they are hatched by a mama hen, as she will do that for you. During this time, get their coop and run built if you don’t have one already.

Below are seeds you can start in February, which are either colder-weather crops, or need a longer start time, especially crops with a grow times of 80 and up days, in shorter grow time zones. The dates are not set in stone of course. Needless to say, the start of February is a good time to have seeds on hand, potting soil, and small pots ready – and a sunny window, greenhouse or grow light system on hand. And if you start them later? It’s OK for many crops. And for temperamental ones like broccoli, you always can grow those as a fall crop, where they often fare better than in spring, if you miss the window, or late winter is too warm and they bolt to seed. It’s hard though to ignore the call to start growing seeds.

I don’t plant outside this time of year due to the seasonal rains. The seeds just don’t do well. The soil is often waterlogged this month, and can/will still have overnight freezes. For seeds and delicate plants, this is often too much for them.

  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus, from seed
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chard
  • Collards
  • Herbs
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Onions, from seed (Sweet onions take so long to grow, early start times can actually matter)
  • Peas
  • Peppers (They can wait until March)
  • Radishes
  • Rhubarb, from seed
  • Spinach
  • Strawberry, Alpine (Can take 14 weeks to just germinate)
  • Tomatoes (I find you can wait until March and they catch up with no issues)