If your on top of your planting game, you will have already started most of your companion flowers and woody herbs indoors during the month of January. Key flowers for us, that you can start at this time of the year, are Nasturtium, Asters, Cosmos, Strawflowers and Sunflowers. Woody herbs, such as Thyme, Lavender, Rosemary, Mountain Mint and White Sage take longer than their green cousins to grow and just a few seeds of each may be all you need. All the types that we plant are to support bees and provide habitat for helpful garden birds and bugs. During the month of February as the flowers sprout, we will be transplanting these to bigger containers while we start spring and early summer vegetables.
We have doubled our planting Aisla Craig onions; they are delicious and after last summer’s issues with contamination it just makes sense to us to at least plant double. Along with various onions, we are beginning the first waves of greens – lettuce mix and mizuna. Greens will germinate fast and you want to keep them on the cool side …plant more than you can eat because they can be more easily hardened off than most veggies if our spring does come early as predicted .
The primary veggie to start planting for February though is the noble Pea. Snow Peas and Sugar Snaps are suited to our climate and if all things go well, you will be munching on pods by the beginning of April. However you never know do you 😉 ? Last year, we had our last night of frost in April…. so we are hedging our bets and start some Pea bedding plants for the cold frames while also starting some Pea beds if conditions look promising.
You don’t need a complex system to get your seeds sprouted and on their way but once you have started them, it becomes a daily chore to care for them as they grow. We start seeds in relatively close castings and then when they reach the appropriate size (two leaves in most cases), we transplant them up. There are stages of growth where it is best to transplant so keep that in mind when you are planting… plant your greens and in three to five days you will have to be ready to transplant. A lack of light will make your fledgling seedlings floppy and susceptible to rot. You can add supplemental lighting easily and economically given the options for LED lights these days. If you don’t have indoor space with a southern exposure or a protected/heated cold frame then you will want to wait a few more weeks or just stick with greens and Snow Peas.
We have made all our seed purchases for the year and given the last year, we are trying a few different cultivars than we would normally. To support that, we are putting in a larger cold frame on a cement pad to hold the starts. We have a few more spaces of garden this year to cultivate and figure that now is as good as any time to satisfy some curiosities. Seed prices look like they are relatively the same but the number of seeds, in some cases, has been halved so another reason not to put off trying some long green beans or mashed potatoes squash. We will be sharing these curiosities as well as our tried and true cultivars likely near the end of March, beginning of April. If you are an indoor grower and are looking for some starts, please feel free to reach out. We plant more than we need of our core veggies …. Coastal growing is just as fraught with perils such as Towhees in the green house…. so you never know. Let the planting begin and here is to a year of community, kindness and joy.