If you want to garden in winter and year-round, you can do it. Check out what to do in the garden in January and February.
What to do in the garden in January and February
In Oklahoma, it’s easier than in a lot of places because we don’t have harsh winters. I have grown herbs year-round, kale, carrots and radishes. Some years I can even grow cabbage, kohlrabi, cauliflower, broccoli, and brussels sprouts, especially if I throw some plastic over my raised beds to keep in a little warmth from the sun.
Some years we don’t get many freezes in winter, and January and February don’t see any or many below-freezing days so I can run out and throw a blanket or something over the bed when it does fall below 32 and keep things growing. Most years, that doesn’t work though.
If you want to garden in January and February, you can check into cold frames. They give you quite a few degrees higher environment for your plants to grow.
Cold frame growing
If you want to continue to garden in January and February, even in very cold climates, you can build or buy cold frames. The idea of a cold frame is a sturdy frame which could be made from wood, metal, plastic, or whatever you already have lying around, and some sort of glass or plastic to let in light. I’ve seen many people build cold frames with straw bales and old discarded windows.
I’ve also seen people build works of art from wood, or use old windows to build an entire greenhouse. You need to use plastic or glass that allows light to penetrate, but that can block out any wind. The things to remember when deciding what to get are, water and ventilation.
If the weather becomes a little bit warm, the cold frame can get super-hot inside. You need to make sure the cold frame is vent able and that you go out and open any kind of vents to let heat escape or your plants could burn up. If you used the straw bales and old windows, you could prop the windows up with a stick.
Also, because you’ll have glass or plastic over your bed, it won’t be receiving rainfall. You’ll have to water if the tops can’t be removed to get moisture. So, remember once a week to go out and check moisture levels and make sure the winter crops have enough water.
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Winter garden chores
If you haven’t finished your fall garden chores, now is the time to get them done. It’s not hot anymore so work is easier to get done. Make sure you’ve added compost to your garden and mulched over the top or planted cover crops in your winter vegetable garden.
There’s not much need to water in winter unless you are in a serious drought. I don’t water my garden at all in winter. The garlic, herbs and whatever else is still growing is just fine. There’s also no weeding to do.
Gardening in January and February
There are plenty of other chores to do in the garden in January and February. February is the month that fruit trees need to be pruned. You also apply dormant spray or other winter fruit tree treatments in winter.
If you haven’t ordered seeds for spring, now is the time to study all the gardening catalogs and make a wish list on your garden map. Decide what you love to eat and how much space you’ll give each type of garden plant. I like to make a detailed list and pick out varieties and then shop around locally and see if I can find any of those verities at my nearby garden centers.
What to plant in January
In January in Oklahoma, you can set seeds for radishes, peas, carrots, lettuce, spinach, kale and even potatoes and onions in the garden. It’s also a great time to start seeds for your spring garden that you will germinate inside and grow seedlings under a grow light until planting time. Your seeds planted outdoors may not germinate until later, but they could and that will give you a jump on growing.
Occasionally we have a year in Oklahoma gardening that seeds will germanite and then we’ll have a super cold spell and they will get nipped. I always do it anyway because seeds are fairly inexpensive and I just love growing.
What to plant in February
In February in the Oklahoma garden, you can set seeds for radishes, peas, carrots, lettuce, spinach, kale, and even potatoes and onions, but you definitely need to be trying to get your onions in the ground and even potatoes in February or at the very latest March so they will have time to produce before it gets too hot.
Many people don’t understand that the cold in Oklahoma is less of a challenge than the heat actually is. We plant radishes, peas, and carrots in February every year with our onions and potatoes.
Inside, you definitely need to be planting seeds for any seedlings you want to grow yourself. We don’t grow seedlings; I just don’t have the knack for keeping them alive and growing. I need God’s help outside for my growing skill level. But many people are very successful with it, so go ahead and try it and see if it’s your cup of tea.
Plants you need to plant for the winter garden as seedlings that you may want to grow indoors yourself are spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cilantro, and cabbage. These can be put out at the end of winter around the first of March for spring growing.
Plants you need to plant for the spring/summer garden as seedlings that you may want to grow indoors yourself are tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, artichokes, herbs, and tomatillos. Some of the other spring/summer vegetable crops can be direct-seeded in the ground outside in spring.
Winter vegetable garden
I love gardening in fall and winter, it’s so much more pleasant than summer. There aren’t any bugs to eat up everything in sight, and it’s not HOT. I’m super sensitive to the heat, so gardening in summer is torture for me. The garden is the only thing to love about summer. Ha! So, I love trying to find as many ways as possible to grow in the winter vegetable garden.
There is more that will grow in winter than I think people realize. Many foods are much sweeter in winter as well. Radishes, turnips, and brussel sprouts are far tastier when they’ve been through a freeze and are then harvested. If you try to grow them in the heat, they are very bitter. Winter vegetable gardening can be surprising and lots of fun!
When to plant vegetables chart
If you need a chart to help you know when to plant each type of vegetable, check out this month by month garden planning guide. It will help a lot.
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