Many cool-season vegetables can provide fresh, nutritious produce in February, especially if you live in a temperate climate zone. If your winters are colder, you can still grow lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, snow peas, radishes and other vegetables under the protection of floating row cover, in a greenhouse, under a cloche (bell jar) or beneath a cold frame.
Lettuce and Other Greens
Many leafy green vegetables perform well in the cooler months, including lettuce, mesclun mixes, spinach, kale, Swiss chard, collards, arugula, herbs such as sorrel and cilantro, and more exotic greens such as shiso, bok choy and tat soi. They are good candidates for growing under a floating row cover or plastic. A small, movable frame keeps the covering material from touching the plants, because frost can harm the plant if the covering gets hit by the cold.
Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and other cabbage family vegetables are hardy to temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit. A little bit of frost on the top leaves of the cabbage family plants usually will not damage them. Grow cabbage family plant in rich, slightly sandy soil and protect them against aphids and other chewing insects by spraying with insecticidal soap as soon as such insects appear.
Vegetables that are produced under the soil surface do fine in temperate winter climates. You can grow radishes, carrots, turnips, beets, parsnips, rutabagas and all types of onions and chives. Although you must plant the seeds for your root crops in late summer, many will continue growing into the colder months and can keep well because of the colder temperature of the soil. Grow root crops in light, slightly sandy soil for the best results.
Peas and Beans
Chinese snow peas are a crunchy edible-podded pea that does well in the cooler months. Grow them in soil rich in organic materials such as compost, and provide a cover for them to keep them dry. Winter rains can cause the pods to rot.
Fava beans, bell beans and other types of cool-season beans make fresh additions to your dinner table. And they serve as a cover crop that you can dig into the soil in late winter to add nitrogen and other nutrients to the soil.
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