“Anyone who thinks that gardening begins in the spring and ends in the fall is missing the best part of the whole year. For gardening begins in January, begins with the dream.”
If you’ve spent this month dreaming of a garden, now is a great time to put some action behind those dreams! February is the perfect month to start a vegetable garden. Here are a few simple steps you can take to get started today.
Plan Your Layout
Planning your garden’s layout can help you maximize your space. You’ll need to decide on details like what types of beds you want to create, where your pathways will be, and where you’ll plant any perennials on your list. It’s essential to get a good feel for your layout. You want to ensure you can reach across beds and have plenty of room to maneuver a wheelbarrow.
Once you have the structure laid out, you can design your plantings. Remember that you’ll want to rotate your crop families each year. For example, nightshades like tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes shouldn’t be planted in the same bed for a couple of years. You may also consider companion plantings. A mix of chives, tomatoes, cabbages, and marigolds rather than monoculture blocks helps deter pests.
Prepare or Build Your Beds
Depending on what type of beds you’re creating, you’ll need to take different steps to get started. You can use no-till methods like hugelkultur or lasagna beds, though these will generally take longer to be ready for planting. You can also try a traditional garden, double digging, or raised beds.
If you’re opting for the raised bed route, starting them now is a good idea. You’ll want to choose a solid material, but avoid pressure-treated or other chemical-treated lumber that could leach into the soil. Fill your beds with good-quality soil and finished compost if you want to be able to plant in them this spring.
Open gardens may be the beautiful idea you have in mind, but odds are you’ll need to install some fencing to keep the critters out. On the East Coast, gardeners contend with cottontails, groundhogs, raccoons, and tons of white-tailed deer, among other creatures. A good, tall, sturdy fence is a significant investment but will save you a lot of heartache and trouble in the long run.
If you haven’t already ordered seeds, it’s time to get a move on! Planting time for some crops is already here and is drawing closer for others. It’s time to finalize your seed list and send it in.
We also have a list of other small seed companies that share our values and could use your support if you don’t find what you’re looking for on our website.
To new gardeners, February may seem an odd time to be planting, but it is the perfect time for many of our cold hardy spring crops. This month, you can start broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, onions, and other greens indoors.
It may be a little cold and dreary, but don’t let that deter you. Spring is just around the corner, and February is a great month to start a vegetable garden.