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GENERAL GARDENING

Give Your Garden a Boost! 10+ Seeds To Start in February

Jump start the gardening season with a selection of plant seeds you start indoors in February. Seed packets provide information about planting times, sowing depth and the days to harvest.

The information is a guideline for the home gardener who wants to save money on seedlings or grow his own plants. As a general rule, start the seeds 4 to 6 weeks before the outdoor planting season begins. Start the seeds earlier to produce a more mature plant for transplanting. Some plants do not transplant well, such as carrots or radishes.

Vegetables

Warm weather vegetables, such as tomatoes and peppers, need a long growing period. Start the seeds indoors in February and grow them for 6 to 8 weeks. Once the seedlings reach about 8 inches high, harden them off for a week or two before transplanting into the garden. Other vegetables to start in February include lettuce varieties, chard and eggplant.

February is a good time to start cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cabbage. Start summer squash when you start the pepper and tomato plants. Plant cucumber seeds during the last week in February.

Fruits

Start watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew by planting seeds indoors, due to the long growing season required by melons. Pumpkins require a long growing season as well and should be started in February. Strawberry seeds need about 6 weeks of cold before planting in February. Once the seedlings have three leaves, the plants need hardening off and moved into their permanent growing site in the garden.

Herbs

Start basil, oregano, parsley and dill indoors in February. Other herbs that do well when started indoors include mints, thyme and sage. The seedlings transplant well into containers that sit on the porch or patio. You can also transplant the herbs directly into the garden. Basil and parsley suffer in cold weather and do not survive temperatures below freezing. Many other herbs grow as perennials in cold and warm weather climates.

Flowers

A packet of seeds costs considerably less than a flat of flowers at the greenhouse. Start heliotrope, violas and snapdragons indoors during the month of February. Other flowers you may desire to grow from seed in February include delphinium, candytuft and impatiens.

The seedlings need gradual exposure to the outdoor temperatures for a week or two before planting directly into the flower beds. Your planting zone or microclimate determines exactly when to move the seedlings outdoors.

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