Should You Start Your Garden in February?
When you think of gardening, February might not be the first month that springs to mind. But it could be the perfect time to start your seeds indoors.
Here’s why: Some plants benefit from a bit of a head start to reach their potential during the growing season. For example, colorful annual flowers brighten planter boxes all summer long, but they’re only ready for this impressive show because they’ve had several weeks of indoor growing time already. And while some vegetables go from seed to table in a very short time (radishes are lightning fast), other vegetables (such as tomatoes, peppers, and winter squash) require a long, warm growing season.
By planning ahead and starting these flowers and veggies indoors, you’ll give your seeds several weeks of valuable growing time. And you’ll set your plants up for a successful summer.
Time It Right
The idea is to give your seeds a head start of six or more weeks before transplanting them to your outdoor garden after the danger of frost is past. But because the last frost date varies depending on where you live, the date of your seed-starting project will vary. Starting in February may be too early if your last frost date is in June. But if your last frost date is in early April, February is the perfect time to get things growing. Find your last frost date here.
Choose the Correct Plants
Some plants don’t take kindly to transplanting, like summer squash. The shock tends to place them in a prolonged state of stagnation. So before you sow those February seeds indoors, make sure the flower or vegetable you’re planting can handle transplanting. However, keep in mind that there’s no law that says you must move your plants outdoors after the weather warms up. Indoor growing systems are designed for year-round use, eliminating the guesswork of frost-free days and transplanting.
Use Proper Tools
You’ll need appropriate seed-starting containers, a variety of seeds, and—ideally—adjustable grow lights that allow you to raise the light source as the plants grow taller. That’s not to say that you can’t plant seeds in paper cups and place them on a sunny windowsill. But you’ll likely have better success with the correct equipment. Happy planting!