February is a great month to get everything ready for this year's productive growing season. This post hopes to help you learn how to choose and chit the right potatoes, what could be planted this month & a few other projects that will help you achieve a bumper harvest.
But it's too cold I hear you say, well yes, February does tend to be a cold month but some seeds require a long germination time so getting ahead now means you'll hopefully have a truly successful bounty of veg to harvest later in the year, so put on those wellies & wrap up warm as you'll be getting lots of fresh air!
WHAT TO SOW IN FEBRUARY
Even though it can be super cold still in February you can still sow some seeds both indoors & outdoors, if the ground isn't frozen. Plus certain types of garlic actually need the cold, it helps the bulbs form so it's the perfect time to get them in the ground.
Quite a few people tend to plant them in Autumn but if you haven't done that & you aren't predicted cold weather in your area, here's THE BEST GARLIC HACK EVER! Ready..... pop them in the fridge! Yes you heard me! Pop them in the fridge for a couple of weeks and then plant out next month. Cool tip huh?!
There are a few things you can normally start off as seeds this time of year, either in a green house or inside next to a window - Think along the lines of winter salad, broccoli, onions and peas. Direct sowing - go for broad beans, shallots & garlic.
We're currently still renovating to make room for more of our lovely natural soaps so we're starting this year with planting direct into the soil only. First up is broad beans - Aquadulce Claudia which is a new one for us but as an alternative you could slo try, Crimson Flowered which is another variety that is particularly lovely if you want a bit of colour.
HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR CHITS?
You dirty minded people! I'm talking potatoes, obviously! lol.
It's time for my favourite past time - shopping. Thank god the nurseries & garden centres are still open because it's the perfect excuse to go grab some potatoes for an early harvest. There are literally hundreds of varieties to choose from too. I always get asked ''why can't I grow from normal super market potatoes?'' well the truth is - you can, BUT that said, it's good practice to buy tubers as you know they are good quality & disease free. The last thing you want is to be introducing diseases into your growing space.
Whatever you do though, please don't get carried away and start planting them all just yet as its still way too cold however, it is the perfect time to chit them. It basically means to encourage root growth. The way I do it is by using an old egg carton so it stops them rolling around but a tray would be fine too. Simply lay them in a single layer and move somewhere cool & out of the way - a windowsill would be ideal. I like to make sure they have a few good sprouting roots before planting them out in Spring.
I'm a bit of a nightmare seed hoarding & I keep all kinds of seeds in various packets but Feb is definitely a good time to give your stash of seeds a little clear out.
Why not just leave them in their old broken packets? Purely because it's faster if you know where they are, they won't fall all over the floor when you next pull them out & it stops you missing planting anything that would have been good to plant. Group them however you want, alphabetical, colour co-ord or simply just nice and neat. Hey, why not let the fussbudgety, finicky side of you take over for a bit and get it spot-on, I mean it's probably raining out anyhow...so even more of a reason to break out your inner clean freak & pop them all in tidy, new packets.
We even have a handy seed packet you can download so you can organise your seeds super easily, just click the link here.
Have way too many seeds? Maybe start a seed swap (last year we gave ours to the local primary school & did a sunflower challenge) or give to others who are like minded, even better exchange them with others for seeds you do need. Swaps are a great way to increase your variety at a low cost.