Now that January is behind us it’s time to get some vegetables planted in the kitchen garden. The weather here in the lower mainland has thawed and it won’t be long before we see green shoots in the garden. Just yesterday I spotted Narcissus about four inches high in my garden. There is a lot you can get started in February. Try growing some asparagus from seed indoors this month. It takes three seasons before you will get your first asparagus crop but the wait will be worth it. If you would rather not grow from seed, wait until March when asparagus roots come up for sale at the garden center.
Try growing mustard and claytonia outside this month. I grew a mustard called Red Kyona mizuna and it grew well all winter long. Its leafy texture makes it a delight in salads.
Broad beans were planted in my garden last fall but the long cold weather seems to have killed them back. I will give them a bit of time to see if they grow back.
You can plant broad beans again in February. Broad beans are often referred to as English beans at farmer’s markets and are hard to find. I like them as they are high in protein so it’s a good addition to a salad. What makes these beans different is how they grow on the plant. The beans tend to grow horizontally unlike their cousins.
By mid February you can start to plant peas outside. Peas love cool weather and are often harvested in June. There are so many types of peas you can grow. Read the seed packages carefully to see how high your plants will get. Peas have tendrils and like to cling onto a support. For support you can place posts at either end of the bed and run strong netting across. Be sure to attach the netting snugly as the plants are heavy when full of pods.
Plant cool season crops like pac choi, radishes and spinach under cover this month. Last fall we built a hoop house over one of the raised beds. Not only did it keep it warm enough for the plants to keep growing, it will also let us get a head start growing seeds.
The hoop house consists of three plastic pipes arched over the bed and secured with clamps. Over the pipes we have secured some heavy plastic to create a greenhouse effect. If you don’t have a hoop house you can start seeds indoors and plant seedlings outside towards the end of the month. If the weather still seems cool at night, use a floating row cover over your crops at night to keep them from freezing.