With the arrival of February, the winter season reaches its peak and temperatures run the risk of dropping below zero. Vegetable garden plants need care and protection in order to thrive in such a delicate period, without giving in to the cold and possible frost.
But what can you plant in February? Which vegetables withstand the winter cold without difficulty and can withstand even the most demanding planting conditions?
In this article, we will find out together what to plant in February and what are the most useful tips for optimal cultivation. From starting winter sowing to transplanting the most cold-hardy plants, you will discover the secrets to a happy and productive vegetable garden.
Get ready to bring your green corner to life and enjoy the fruits of your labour in the seasons to come. Let’s get started!
Sowing in February: tips for preparing the soil
Are you wondering how to prepare the soil for sowing in February? Are you undecided as to what is required for successful sowing? Let’s find out together how to prepare the soil for sowing in February and what the key steps are.
The first thing to do is always to assess the type of soil at your disposal. If the soil appears to be compact and strong, consider using useful gardening tools such as a spade, which will allow you to break up the surface crust and improve the soil structure. On the contrary, if the soil is weakened by the cold and crumbly, it is worth feeding it with a good dose of compost.
Compost helps to enrich the soil with nutrients essential for plant growth, which have the dual task of assisting the soil in its role as a ‘home’ and assisting the vegetables themselves in their development.
If you choose to opt for the use of compost and fertilisers of various kinds, be sure to spread the organic material evenly over the soil surface and mix it well with the soil. In this way, you will ensure good protection and nutrition for all the inhabitants of the vegetable garden.
Once these basic steps have been taken, carefully level the soil and remove any debris or weeds. This type of process will allow you to create an even and clean base for sowing in February.
Guide to winter sowing in February
At first, the winter temperatures that characterise February may frighten you. However, there are vegetables that can easily withstand the cold and thrive in the garden even during the coldest months.
To help you understand which seeds to plant in February, we have prepared a simple and intuitive guide to winter sowing. Step by step, we will find out which are the best plants to sow in February, which are the best herbs and which vegetables are worth transplanting.
By dividing the work and giving each area of the garden a specific role, you will achieve concrete results in a short time and without difficulty. Let’s start with the hardiest vegetables that can be sown outdoors during February.
Best plants to sow in February
Which are the best plants to grow in February?
In February, there are several plants that are suitable for growing in the vegetable garden. It is certainly true that the choice depends mainly on your region’s climate and specific weather conditions, but there are some fairly common options that are suitable for most home gardens.
Let’s take a look at some examples of plants to grow in February:
February is an ideal month for planting garlic and onion. Garlic is a very common vegetable, found in most winter gardens. Usually what is planted is the clove (or bulb of garlic), which then leads to the emergence of the ‘garlic head’, itself composed of dozens of different cloves. Similarly, the onion belongs to the group of bulb vegetables, which are planted directly into the ground;
Among legumes, peas and broad beans are the ones that resist low temperatures best. They are both easy to grow and suitable for all types of climate, while they are very afraid of waterlogging in the soil. In order to grow properly, they need well-drained and well-worked soil, potentially rich in phosphorus;
Lettuce, rocket, spinach and other fast-growing salads can safely be sown in February. They are plants adapted to winter temperatures and have the ability to withstand cold and climate change. In the growing phase, not too much watering is recommended, always remembering to avoid wetting the leaves;
- Potted vegetable garden plants:
When the temperatures start to rise slightly and the cold weather subsides, you can start growing some ‘common’ vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers and aubergines in pots. These vegetables can be grown indoors or in a greenhouse and then transplanted outdoors when temperatures become milder;
Some ornamental plants can be sown or transplanted in February. Violets, primroses and begonias are among the most common examples. All three can be planted in greenhouses in February and then moved outdoors when the risk of frost decreases.
To ensure that you have chosen the most suitable type of plant for the specific weather conditions in your region, it may be useful to use a local agricultural calendar to determine the optimal timing for growing the different plants.
Aromatic plants to grow in February
Now that we have found out together which vegetables are most suitable for growing in February, we can focus on aromatic plants.
Fortunately, February lends itself well to the cultivation of various aromatic plants, which can be sown in pots and then transplanted into the vegetable garden when the risk of frost is reduced. Let us take a look at the main types and their general characteristics:
Parsley is a hardy plant that can be sown in pots indoors and then transplanted into the garden when the temperatures have moderated;
Marjoram can be sown in pots during February and then transplanted into the garden in spring;
Sage, like parsley and marjoram, is also a hardy aromatic plant suitable for sowing in pots during February. Seedlings can then be transplanted outdoors as soon as the risk of frost is reduced;
Basil is a very popular aromatic plant. It can be sown indoors in pots or containers and transplanted outdoors when night temperatures are no longer too low;
Mint can easily be grown in pots or inside special containers. As mint tends to be rather invasive, it is advisable to keep it directly in pots or in an isolated area of the garden;
Oregano is a very robust aromatic plant. You can sow the seeds in February and transplant the new seedlings outdoors with the arrival of spring;
Rosemary is an aromatic herb suitable for growing in pots, which can easily be sown in February. Make sure to place the container in a well-lit area of the house, so that it can receive at least 7 hours of light per day.
Plants suitable for transplanting in February
In February, you can start transplanting certain types of plants, helping them to thrive outdoors without difficulty. The ideal time for transplanting outdoors varies depending on the crop, but generally one should wait until night temperatures are above zero and there is no significant risk of frost.
Once you have made your specifications, let’s take a look at some of the types of vegetables that you can consider for transplanting in February:
Broccoli and cabbage seedlings can be transplanted outdoors in February, precisely because we are talking about winter crops that tolerate even the coldest temperatures without difficulty;
If the temperatures in your area are not yet too cold, you can transplant lettuce and spinach seedlings in February for an early harvest;
Onion seedlings and garlic cloves can be transplanted in February to give them time to ‘stabilise’ before the main growing season;
Peas are cold- and cold-hardy crops. Like most legumes, they can be transplanted outdoors in February for an early harvest;
Speaking of fruit, it is worth mentioning the juicy strawberries. In some regions – where temperatures are not too cold – strawberry seedlings can be transplanted in February. If you have the chance and want to try, make sure that the soil is well drained and that the plants receive enough sunlight.
In general, remember to adapt your choice to the specific climatic conditions in your area and follow the specific recommendations for each plant. Sometimes, it may be necessary to protect the plants with special covers, which have the power to ward off the cold.
Vegetable garden care in winter
Once we have found out what to plant and what to transplant in February, let us try to better understand how to care for winter plants in February. In this cold and tricky month, winter plants may have to cope with harsh weather conditions.
So here is a handy list of tips on how to care for winter plants, trying to make the most of even the darkest season of the year:
In winter, the pruning process helps to promote growth and maintain the shape of the plant. Watch the plants for damaged or dead branches and proceed with their removal;
- Protection from the cold:
If your region is still prone to frost, be sure to protect sensitive plants from the winter cold. To do this, you can use special protective covers or place a rich layer of mulch around the roots to keep the temperature as stable as possible;
Examine the plants carefully for signs of disease or pests. Always try to treat any identified problems promptly and quickly, remembering to use only natural and suitable plant care products;
If the soil appears too frozen or too wet, avoid fertilising the plants. If, on the contrary, conditions permit, take advantage of the help of a mild fertiliser to promote the continued and safe growth of your vegetables;
During the winter months, be sure to maintain an adequate level of hydration for all your plants. Watering should always be moderate, avoiding over-saturating the soil. Remember to carefully check for standing water around the roots so that you can recognise the symptoms of over-watering immediately;
Throughout the year, remove weeds that form around the plants to prevent them from competing for nutrients and water. In most cases, careful cleaning is what prevents different kinds of problems and diseases;
If you have problems with animals that damage plants, such as rabbits or small pesky insects, you can opt for the use of defensive tools. From building fences to buying ‘good insects’, there are plenty of ways to take care of your vegetable garden and prevent other animals from damaging it.
Step by step, we have seen the most useful tips for taking care of your vegetable garden in February and sowing the right plants.
Cold-hardy vegetables are particularly suitable for this period, when the temperature is still low and the risk of frost too high. What you need is well-nourished soil and good cold protection, so that your vegetable garden has a warm and safe environment in which to allow individual plants to develop.
Good luck and enjoy!