February Gardening

February – Here is when you’ll really get your kickstart into planning and may even start planting vegetables, fruits, and flowers indoors if you haven’t already.  You’ll want to get started on the gardening layout in February.  One wouldn’t think a layout of a garden is all that important, but it really is.  For example, you wouldn’t want to plant zucchini by cucumbers or you’ll get a weird cross bread that does not taste pleasant.  Believe me, I know…unfortunately.  Below is a list of things to consider when planning your garden layout for the season.

  1. Consider fruits and vegetable’s enemies and allies – You can’t plant anything you want by anything and I’ve learned this the hard way.  For example, this past summer I grew potatoes next to cucumbers, but the cucumbers never amounted to anything because they were planted next to potatoes.  Be strategic about where you plant things.  I’ve created a table of plants that are good companion plants, plants that will excel next to each other, and plants you should not plant together.  Other gardening tables have been confusing for me to read so hopefully my table will be easier to understand.

Vegetable/Fruit

Companion Plant

Don’t Plant Together

Asparagus

Tomatoes

None

Beans (Bush or Pole)

Celery, corn, cucumbers, radish, strawberries and summer savory

Garlic, onion, peppers, sunflower, and beets (note: beets can be grown next to bush beans just not pole beens)

Beets

Bush beans (not pole beans), cabbage, broccoli, kale, lettuce, onions, garlic

Pole beans, mustard

Broccoli

Beans, Beets, Celery, Onions, Potatoes, Sage

Cabbage, Cauliflower, lettuce, pole beans, tomatoes

Cabbage Family

Beets, celery, dill, Swiss chard, lettuce, spinach, onions, potatoes

Pole beans, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries, and tomatoes

Carrots

Beans, tomatoes

Dill and parsley

Celery

Beans, tomatoes, cabbages

None

Corn

Cucumber, melons, squash, peas, beans, pumpkin

Tomatoes

Cucumber

Beans, corn, peas, cabbage

Herbs, melons, and potatoes

Eggplant

Beans, pepper

None

Kale

Cabbage, dill, potatoes, rosemary, sage

Strawberries and tomatoes

Kohlrabi

tomatoes

Lettuce

asparagus, beets, brussels, cabbage, carrots, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, onions, peas, potatoes, radishes, spinach, strawberries, sunflowers, tomatoes

broccoli

Melons

Corn, pumpkin, radish, squash

Other melons

Onions

Beets, carrots, Swiss chard, lettuce, peppers

All beans, peas, and sage

Peas

Beans, carrots, corn, cucumbers, radish, turnip

Garlic, onions

Peppers

basil, coriander, onions, spinach, tomatoes

Beans

Potatoes

Beans, broccoli, cabbage, corn, peas

Tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, squash, sunflowers, turnips

Squash

Corn, melons, pumpkins

other squash

Tomatoes

beans, carrots, celery, cucumbers, onions, peppers, asparagus, basil, dill, lettuce, melons, onions, parsley, radishes, spinach, thyme

Corn, potatoes, kohlrabi, broccoli, brussels, cabbage, cauliflower, kale

  1. Sunlight – You’ll want to place plants that won’t be planted till later in the season in a place that will reach the maximum amount of sun.  The frost tolerant plants, like lettuce, spinach, and kale will be able to handle less sun.  Always check seed labels to see how much sun a plant needs, as some plants can handle the shade and some will die quickly without any sun.  All garden vegetable varieties I grow need part-sun to full sun so keep that in mind if you’re growing a vegetable garden.  There are many flowers that can tolerate shade to part-sun.  So, if you have a space to plant some flowers in the shade check to make sure that’s what they tolerate or the flowers might amount to nothing.
  2. Cross-pollination – Along with garden enemies, you will also want to avoid planting vegetables and fruits that are in the same family next to each other or they will cross-pollinate.
  3. Space – Measure how much space you have to work with and plan accordingly.  Also, keep in mind that some plants will need much more space than others in between rows.  For example, a cucumber should have at least 12 inches between each plant and 48 inches between each row.  Listed below is a chart of how much space should be between plants and rows for specific fruits and vegetables.

Vegetable/Fruit

Space Between Plants

Space Between Rows

Asparagus, Seed

3 inches

18-24 inches

Asparagus, Root

18 inches

3-4 feet

Beans, Bush

2-3 inches

24 inches

Beans, Pole

4-6 inches

36 inches

Beet

2 inches

12-18 inches

Broccoli

18-24 inches

36 inches

Brussels Sprouts

12-16 inches

24-30 inches

Cabbage

12-18 inches

24-30 inches

Cabbage, Chinese

15 inches

20 inches

Carrot

1-2 inches

12-18 inches

Cauliflower

14-18 inches

24-30 inches

Celery

2 inches

18-36 inches

Collards

14-18 inches

24-30 inches

Corn, Sweet

3-4 inches

30-36 inches

Cucumber

4 every 3 feet

4-6 feet

Eggplant

18 inches

24-30 inches

Endive

12 inches

18 inches

Kale

18 inches

18-24 inches

Kohl Rabi

3-6 inches

15-24 inches

Lettuce, head

4-8 inches

12-15 inches

Lettuce, leaf

2-4 inches

12-15 inches

Melons

18 inches

48 inches

Mustard

2 inches

12-18 inches

Okra

12 inches

3-4 feet

Onion, Seed

2 inches

12-18 inches

Onion, Sets

2 inches

12-18 inches

Parsley

1/2 inches

12-18 inches

Parsnip

3 inches

18-24 inches

Peas

1-2 inches

24 inches

Pepper

15-20 inches

24-28 inches

Pumpkin

3-4 inches

4-6 feet

Radish

1/2 to 1 inch

12 inches

Rutabaga

1/2 to 1 inch

18-24 inches

Salsify

2 inches

18-24 inches

Soybeans

3 inches

24 inches

Spinach

2 inches

12-18 inches

Squash, Summer

4 every 3 feet

3-4 feet

Squash, Winter

4 every 4 feet

6-8 feet

Tomato

36-48 inches

36-48 inches

Turnips

4 inches

18-24 inches

Watermelons

4 every 4 feet

8-12 feet

Flowers

Space Between Plants

Achimenes

12 inches

Ageratum

10 inches

Alyssum, Sweet

8 inches

Asclepias

12 inches

Aster

12 inches

Begonia

10 inches

Celosia

12 inches

Chrysanthemum

12 inches

Coleus

12 inches

Coreopsis

12 inches

Crape Myrtlettes

24 inches

Dahlia

12 inches

Daylily

12 inches

Delphinum

15 inches

SDusty Miller

12 inches

Flowering Cabbage, Kale

12 inches

Gazania

12 inches

Gerbera

12 inches

Geranium

12 inches

Hibiscus

18 inches

Hollyhock

18 inches

Impatiens

12 inches

Lisianthus

12 inches

Marigold

12 inches

Monarda

12 inches

Nasturtium

12 inches

Pampas Grass

4 feet

Pansy

10 inches

Pardancanda

12 inches

Petunia

12 inches

Pertulaca

12 inches

Primula

12 inches

Redbeckia (Black-eyed Susan)

15 inches

Salvia

12 inches

Snapdragon

12 inches

Statice

12 inches

Strawflower

12 inches

Sunflower

12 inches

Vinca

12 inches

Zinnig

12 inches

  1. Planting Dates – Depending on how many plants you plan to grow you should start making a planting calendar.  Some plants can or must be planted early spring and some must be planted later in the season.  I have found that it is easier to map everything out before you start planting.  Listed below is chart of when certain fruits and vegetables can be planted.

Vegetable/Fruit

Time to Plant in the North

Asparagus, Seed

Early Spring

Asparagus, Root

Early Spring

Beans, Bush

April to July

Beans, Pole

May to June

Beet

April to August

Broccoli

March to April (earlier if starting from seed)

Brussels Sprouts

May to June

Cabbage

March to April

Cabbage, Chinese

May to June

Carrot

April to June

Cauliflower

April to June (earlier if starting from seed)

Celery

May to June

Collards

Late Spring

Corn, Sweet

May to July

Cucumber

April to July

Eggplant

April to May

Endive

April (July)

Kale

August, September,

Kohl Rabi

March to May

Lettuce, head

March to May

Lettuce, leaf

March to May

Melons

April to June

Mustard

March to May (September)

Okra

May to June

Onion, Seed

April to May

Onion, Sets

February to May

Parsley

Early Spring

Parsnip

March to April

Peas

March to June

Pepper

May to June (earlier if starting from seed)

Pumpkin

May to July

Radish

March to September

Rutabaga

June to July

Salsify

Early Spring

Soybeans

Summer

Spinach

September and Early Spring

Squash, Summer

April to June

Squash, Winter

May to July

Tomato

May to June (earlier if starting from seed)

Turnips

April and August

Watermelons

May to June (earlier if starting from seed)

I recommend beginning planting flowers indoors in January, but listed below is when they should be transplanted outside for best continual growth.  Remember when you transfer them outdoors you will want a transitioning period for the plants.  This means that two weeks before you officially transfer the plants outdoors you will want to start placing the plants outdoors during the day and taking them back in at night in their containers.  The plants need time to start acclimating to the less than perfect conditions that occur outdoors, like wind and heat.

Flowers

Where these flowers should be planted for best growth

Achimenes

Warm summer, shade rich, well-drained soil

Ageratum

Warm summer, full sun, quick to bloom

Alyssum, Sweet

Cool spring, full sun, quick to bloom

Asclepias

Warm summer, full sun, sow outdoors spring or fall

Aster

Cool spring, full sun

Begonia

Warm summer, partial shade, sow early

Celosia

Warm summer, full sun, quick to bloom

Chrysanthemum

Sow in spring for fall bloom, full sun

Coleus

Warm summer, likes moist shade

Coreopsis

Hot summer, full sun, blooms through drought, sow early

Crape Myrtlettes

Sow early for midsummer bloom, full sun

Dahlia

Warm summer, full sun, rich soil

Daylily

Sow early for summer bloom, thrives anywhere

Delphinum

Cool spring, full sun, sow early

SDusty Miller

Cool spring, full sun

Flowering Cabbage, Kale

Cool, fall or spring, full sun, tolerates frost

Gazania

Warm summer, full sun, tolerates drought

Gerbera

Sow early for summer bloom, full sun

Geranium

Warm summer, full sun, well-drained soil

Hibiscus

Warm summer, full sun, moist soil

Hollyhock

Warm summer, full sun, sow early

Impatiens

Warm summer, some shade, moist soil

Lisianthus

Hot summer, full sun, blooms through drought, sow early

Marigold

Warm summer, full sun, quick grower

Monarda

Summer bloom, hardy, sun or shade, sow early

Nasturtium

Cool spring, full sun, dry infertile soil

Pampas Grass

Hot summer, full sun, tough, any soil, sow early

Pansy

Cool spring, full sun, sow early

Pardancanda

Hot summer sun, tough, any soil, sow early

Petunia

Warm summer, full sun

Pertulaca

Hot summer sun, tolerates drought

Primula

Cool spring, shade, sow early

Redbeckia (Black-eyed Susan)

Hot summer sun, blooms all summer, showy

Salvia

Warm summer, sun or shade

Snapdragon

Cool spring or fall, full sun

Statice

Warm summer, full sun

Strawflower

Warm summer, full sun

Sunflower

Summer, full sun, fast growing

Vinca

Hot summer, full sun, tough, blooms through drought

Zinnig

Hot summer, full sun, quick grower

Use the charts above to make a sample calendar of when you’ll start planting everything in your garden.  If you’d like an example, listed below is an example of my planting calendar for the 2015 gardening season.

Dates

When to plant in the garden

Jan 25, 2015

Plant any flower seeds, you’d like to eventually be out in the garden, indoors with your Bio Dome

Feb 7, 2015

Plant tomatoes, peppers, onions, watermelon, and melons indoors if planting by seed

March 22-27th, 2015

Have the soil tilled one of those days

Mar 28, 2015

Plant these vegetables outside: Lettuce (head and leaf), kale, spinach, peas, and radishes.

Apr 20, 2015

Start putting broccoli, cauliflower, and cantaloupe outside during the day everyday and back inside at night to toughen up plant before being transplanted outside

Apr 25, 2015

Plant these vegetables outside: Beans (Bush and Pole if warm enough), broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, cucumber, cantaloupe, onion (if buying in sets), and summer squash

May 18, 2015

Start putting tomatoes, peppers, onions, flowers, and watermelon outside during the day everyday and back inside at night to toughen up the plants before being transplanted outside

May 23, 2015

Plant these fruits, vegetables and flowers outside: Celery, corn, flowers, onions, peppers, pumpkin and/or winter squash, tomatoes, and watermelon

June

Hopefully you will be able to start enjoying your most early planted vegetables like lettuce, kale, and spinach

July

Enjoy you’re blooming flowers and summer barbecues with your fruits and vegetables

August

Enjoy you’re blooming flowers and summer barbecues with your fruits and vegetables

September

Start taking out what is no longer good in the garden. 

October

Take everything else out of the garden before it gets too cold and you no longer want to go outside. 

November (early)

Do the lasagna method if you are planning on another garden for next year.

December

Your one entire month off of gardening.  Enjoy it.

Note that these dates can be arranged to fit your own personal schedule and weather permitting.

As you can see, there is much to consider when planting your garden.  For the best results you will want to start planning at least a month before you start planting.  Count on more time to plan your garden if it will include an extensive variety of vegetables and fruits.

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