February is the beginning of the cool weather planting season for a new year. A thriving vegetable garden can be set into motion this month. Many veggies can be started by seed indoors by a sunny window, directly seeded into garden beds, or planted in the garden as small plants at this time.
Most of foods recommended for late winter planting are within three plant families. These families include Brassicaceae, Umbelliferea, and Amaranthacea. Brassicaceae foods include mustard, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, radish, and Bok Choy. Foods from the Umbelliferea family include carrot, chervil, cilantro, and parsley. Amaranthacea foods include beets, Swiss chard, and spinach.
Health benefits of future plantings
Many of these foods are considered cruciferous vegetables. These foods are known to have high levels of vitamin C, which is an anti-oxidant, beneficial soluble fiber, and chemicals that have anti-cancer activity.
These foods are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants. Parsley contains more iron that any other leafy green vegetable.
These foods are high in vitamins A and K. Vitamin A is an anti-oxidant.
Why grow kale, spinach and potatoes?
EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pestisides, reveals that kale, spinach, and potatoes are among the “Dirty Dozen.” The “Dirty Dozen” includes types of commercially grown produce that have been found to contain the most pesticide residues. Growing these foods organically is a good way to ensure a cleaner supply of these delicious vegetables.
Planting Guide for February
Onion sets can be planted until Feb 16th, for the harvest of small bulbs. The tops can also be harvested as chives.
Plant these foods all month:
Beets-greens are edible too
Carrots-tops are edible too
Radish-greens are edible too
Onion seed-for harvest of scallions
English and French peas
Peas, edible pod
Mustard greens-plant can also be harvested for seeds
Cilantro-seeds can also be harvested as coriander
Plant these foods after Feb 10:
Turnip-greens are edible too
Broccoli, plants-leaves are edible too
Potato, small pieces
Bed Preparation Tips
The use of compost and organic soil amendments, such as worm castings, makes for a healthy vegetable garden.
For root crops, hand till the soil a few inches before planting, and use compost to fill in the area.
Additon of a 2” to 4” layer of mulch provides protection for the roots of developing plants. Mulch keeps the soil warm during the cooler months, and will hold moisture in during the warmer months. In a thriving garden, it will be used as food for earthworms as well. Cedar mulch is a natural pest deterrent.
Local Resources for Supplies:
Happy Gardens- organic vegetable seeds, organic soil amendments, organic vegetable and fruit plant starts, edible landscape design. Throughout the growing season, Happy Gardens takes orders for food plants that do well in the north Texas area. Updates are given through email newsletters, link to subscribe page here, or find Happy Gardens on facebook.
Find organic potato seed pieces at Elizabeth Anna’s Old World Garden
Marshall Grain- organic vegetable seeds, soil amendments