Planning the February Garden
The La Plata (Silver) Mountains of the San Juan Range, dusted in snow under blue spring skies!
What an inspiring day today was in Southwest Colorado with a high of 53 degrees melting some of the remaining snow and ice in the yard. It was one of those spring-teaser days when I know winter will return in the next six weeks, but a trip to get potting soil with the windows down gave me such an unseasonable thrill! After this little jaunt to the store, I now find myself sitting on the front porch in the fleeting afternoon sunlight on this longest of days in months planning the February garden.
February for me is the action month in which garden plans begin to literally take root under grow lights and visions of pollinator-attracting perennials dance through my head. In the spirit of Kaizen (the cycle of continuous improvement), there will be some January tasks I never completed that will surface in February, namely stratifying perennial seeds and setting up my seed starting shelves. Most of the tasks on the calendar below will also need to be done, save the cold frame. I have decided to defer the cold frame until next fall once I have had a chance to develop the space for it in the yard.
Without a cold frame, I will be getting some cool-season vegetables going that will be transplanted outdoors in the early spring with some greenhouse plastic to help them survive the cold nights. This means many of the plants I had planned to direct sow in the cold frame such as broccoli, endive, mache, onions, spinach, kale, and arugula will find a home in my modular grow light system. In addition to the plants listed on the calendar, I do always start a few tomatoes, tomatillos, and peppers in February to give them a good head start in the spring. This also gives the tomatoes and tomatillos plenty of stem that can then be planted below the soil surface to create a more robust and healthy root system.
I brought this small shelf up from the garage to my office and purchased one more shelf and two more grow lights to complete my modular set up for this year's seed starting.
I have found a wealth of information on the web about cold stratifying perennials in recycled milk jugs as mini-greenhouses that can live outside. I plan to try this as it saves refrigerator space and gives the plants the time they need to adjust to the elements in a slightly protected environment. This will be this year's experiment and I hope it is successful as this is a nearly maintenance-free way to get them started with very little investment of time, money, and attention.
Ongoing Maintenance of Indoor Plants
Meyer Lemon Blossoms!
If we don't get much more snow, I will make my way out with the hose to give the trees a drink, but otherwise, my attention will continue to be on my indoor plants. I am still hopeful I might be able to photograph an avocado on my tree, but so far, it continues to bloom, drop blossoms, and bloom some more. The Meyer lemon is really blossoming so perhaps we will see the beginning of fruit this month. There is still no sign of fruit on the key lime, Haas avocado, or fig tree.
The Promise of Winter Color: Orchids!
One orchid continues to bloom and the other two healthy plants have buds galore. I purchased some more orchid potting mix today to give more coverage to the roots of my more sickly orchid that is down to two leaves. I am hoping to restore this one as it was my very first Mothers Day gift after my first daughter was born, thus I am invested in its survival.
Chico Amaryllis Blooms from Plantgem!
I harvested the last seeds from the Christmas amaryllis and took a million pictures of the new amaryllis blooms from the unusual bulb I purchased from Plantgem. I love this flower. It is so incredibly elegant and adds some much-needed winter drama and color.
Indoor Winter Herb Garden and Microgreens
I had to send our dill plants to an untimely death in the freezing winter night as they had become infested with aphids. I suppose we could have tried to eat them with the added protein, but I have not yet expanded my pallet that far. The chives, basil, and parsley carry on well enough and after a deep cleaning of the AeroGarden to get rid of a mold and algae problem, I have planted a new crop of cilantro and chervil that should emerge any day now.
Microgreen Set-Up! Easy, vitamin-packed winter greens to top every meal!
What is not in the February calendar are the microgreens that I plan to grow this month using up older seeds that need sprouting. Last year I purchased several trays and some silicone mats that worked well for propagating radish greens. For microgreens with tinier seeds like arugula, I still have to use soil as a medium and I like to use recycled mushroom containers with a few holes punched on the bottom. Microgreens will give us that little taste of fresh green we have been missing through the winter season and carry us through until spring.
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Considering the wealth of information and photographic garden inspiration, at just $2.50 per month, the 2022 Year-Round Gardening Calendar is a bargain! On sale for $27.50 for the next 11 months of planting, maintenance, and harvesting schedules for indoor plants, cold frames, garden beds, home orchards, and berry patches. This is the perfect gift for the gardeners in your life to inspire and organize their edible ambitions from January through December of 2022.