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How to Plant Vegetables in February

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How to Plant Vegetables in February

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Overview

The planting season for a vegetable garden can vary depending on what you want to grow and the frost dates for your area. You can start the season as early as February for many cool-season vegetables that can be planted after the last frost passes. Many other vegetables can be started indoors during winter and transplanted to the garden in February. The key is knowing when the ground is ready and what the temperature requirements are for each vegetable.

Step 1

Plant in an open area that will not be shaded at any time the sun is out. Temperatures rise and fall quickly in February, so make the most use of sunlight and warmth.

Step 2

Plant cool-season crops that can withstand soil temperatures just above freezing. Lettuce, spinach and parsnips can start when the ground is at 35 degrees Fahrenheit, but grow best at 45 degrees and above. Plant snow peas, onions and cabbage by late February.

Step 3

Break ground for the early-spring vegetables the previous autumn before the first frost, using the shovel. Use the rototiller to work the soil to a depth of 6 inches. Add the fertilizer or mulch now so it has time to work into the soil before the soil freezes.

Step 4

Start some seeds such as sunflowers, tomatoes, indoors in December. Use seed starting trays as efficient space-savers. Put potting soil into each section of the tray. Plant one seed per section according to the instructions on the seed packets. Put the trays in eastern-facing windows that get a minimum of six hours direct sunlight per day. Water the soil to keep it moist. Test the soil daily by putting the tip of your finger into the soil; if the soil feels dry, it needs watering.

Step 5

Set the soil thermometer into the ground so the metal probe is 2 1/2 inches deep into the soil. Kansas State University's Extension Service recommends taking the thermometer reading between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. five days in a row to get a consistent and accurate temperature.

Step 6

Plant the seeds for beets, broccoli, asparagus and other crops that take most of the season to grow. These should be planted to a depth of 2 inches and spaced according to the directions on the seed packets.

Step 7

Plant the seeds for peas, lettuce and beans in rows. These seeds must be sown directly into the garden because they do not transplant well. Set up low trellises for the peas; set up taller trellises for the beans. Plant these according to the instructions on the seed packets; find the instructions on the back of the packets.

Step 8

Plant the root vegetables. Vegetables such as radishes and short carrots can be started multiple times during the season when planted early. Potatoes can be diced up, making sure at least one "eye" or seed is a part of each section. Plant the sections directly into the ground. Dig the soil to a depth of 2 inches when planting root vegetables.

Step 9

Plant any gourds or eggplant in the last half of February. Plant the transplants you started indoors at this time. Dig out enough soil to set the roots into the ground. Remove the plants from the starter box. Set the plants into the ground so the base of the plant is at ground level. Cover the roots with soil. Water the soil until it is moist.

Things You'll Need

  • Seed starter trays
  • Soil thermometer
  • Shovel
  • Rototiller
  • Fertilizer
  • Mulch
  • Potting soil
  • Trellises

References

  • Star-News: Master Gardener--Plant Spring Vegetables Now
  • Kansas State University Extension: Probe to Know When to Plant Veggies
  • Alabama Cooperative Extension: Alabama Gardener's Calendar
  • The Farm: How to Plant a Garden
Keywords: February vegetable planting, cool season vegetables, first vegetables planted

About this Author

Jack S. Waverly is a Pennsylvania-based freelance writer who has written hundreds of articles relating to business, finance, travel, history and health. His current focus is on pets, gardens, personal finance and business management. Waverly has been writing online content professionally since 2007 for various providers and websites.