February seedling sowing for an early garden start

rollinggarden Avatar

Although great, in scorching climates, forest gardens can be a problem for an early vegetable start. The lack of sun and prolonged shade can keep the soil too cold for decent plant growth. Because of this, I concluded that it is best to start sowing the seedlings earlier than is normally recommended. This way I have bigger seedlings that won’t be bothered so much by temperature fluctuations or cooler soil. They will continue growing easier and give fruits earlier. This is particularly helpful in very short summers and cold autumns when everything that happens in the garden must be quicker.

What can we start indoors in February?

February is perfect for starting everything but fast-growing vegetables like corn, zucchini, and cucumbers. Everything else, including all of the flowers(except Ipomoea and Impatiens) can be sown in the early and middle of February. I usually start with tomatoes and peppers, which I sow in the first 2 weeks of February. I could start them until March 15th, but not having the perfect germination conditions makes my seedlings grow slower. I’ve noticed that my tomato and peppers seedlings aren’t ready for May transplanting when I start them in March, so I started sowing them in early February.

This year I went with 3 sweet pepper varieties and almost 40 varieties of tomatoes. I haven’t decided how many seedlings I will have. I’ve sown all of my seeds, and I will find enough room in the garden once I see how many seedlings I will get. Now, in the middle of February, I’m getting the first little plants. Mostly cherry and dwarf varieties, but I’m sure the rest will follow in a week or two.

I’ve also already sown brassicas, onions, and leeks, which are now sunbathing outside. Brassica seedlings are much more resistant and can be transplanted before the frost date. I usually transplant mine in April, so January sowing of the brassicas is the best way for my garden. Still, I’ve sown more brassicas this week, which I’ll transplant in May to have a continuous harvest.

What about outdoor sowing?

As I mentioned in the beginning, a forest garden is cooler than a “normal” sunny garden. This is why I usually struggle with plants that should be directly sown before May. After many years of trying out the best ways to sow them, this year I decided to try and sow everything into trays. The tray sowing in February is possible if the soil doesn’t end up completely frozen. We are still having morning frosts. But I found a position in my garden that gets early morning sun, so the trays don’t get the chance to freeze completely.

This week I’ve started spinach, peas, onion, leeks, beets, carrots, lettuce, parsley, and radishes. Some of these vegetables, such as carrots and beets, are known not to like transplanting. But I still want to try it. The garden is just too cold for an early start, and the cold March soil gives me nothing. The seeds stay in the soil for weeks, sometimes even months and I don’t see any plants until May. During this time bugs ravage the seeds and I’m always using huge amounts of seeds to get a couple of plants that then don’t have the time to grow big fruits.

With February sowing I’m hoping for an early start in a sunny place, and even if the soil in the garden will be a little cold for growing, I will have seedlings that will just continue growing when the time is right and I can skip the problematic germination phase.

Early start of forest garden vegetables is a perfect way to avoid the cool spring months and to have healthy and big seedlings in May.

rollinggarden Avatar

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More Articles & Posts