We’re almost there…. February is underway and spring is just around the corner. I still want it to hurry up though!
It really won’t be long before I’m up to my neck in packets of seed and fussing over my labelled pots like a mother hen. But the fact remains that it’s still winter, and most plants just won’t tolerate being started off until the weather warms up a bit and the light improves. There are some that will happily get going in February though, here are some suggestions for what you can get a head start on now.
You can sow these little fireballs in February, but they need to be in a greenhouse or indoors on a sunny windowsill as they need the heat to germinate. Our favourite is Apache, which is a small plant that produces loads of chillies with a real kick. We always dry some of the crop too, the bright red fruits look lovely hanging in the kitchen.
Broad beans are easy to grow and not very fussy about the soil they are in. The seeds are big, so children can plant this crop easily too. Sow them in pots in the greenhouse and plant them out from March – this is a particularly good idea if you’re planning on growing more than one type of bean, as you can spread out the harvest and avoid a big glut.
Leeks take a long time to grow, so starting them as early as February is a good idea. You can sow them in pots in an unheated greenhouse or cold frame this month, doing it this way makes it easy to separate the seedlings when you plant them out. I think we’ll have a go at harvesting early this year so we can have lovely tender baby leeks; this will also free up space for other crops.
The easiest way to grow onions and shallots are from ‘sets’ – you plant a ‘set’ onion in the ground and it grows into a bigger onion, which you then harvest. Shallot sets are planted the same way, but each one grows a cluster of shallots (a bit like garlic). They are a great vegetable for children to plant, as you just push them into the earth until only the tip is showing. You often get one or two sets popping out of the soil while they grow, my kids think this is hilarious and love shoving the ‘naughty onions’ back into the ground.
I think this is enough to keep me going until the rush of Spring is upon us. What are you going to plant this month?