February at Bare Acre Farm
The first of our month by month blogs detailing what we are sowing and planting now and what you can be doing on your own plot.
Are you getting the itch? Are your hands clenching and unclenching, hungry for the feel of earth between your fingers? For committed gardeners, this is a familiar feeling triggered by the increase in daylight and the current dry spell, however, unless you have a greenhouse or polytunnel, it is best to curb your enthusiasm and content yourself with planning your vegetable garden for the coming year.
Truth is, even by mid February, daylight is still limited to less than 10 hours and temperatures are still too low to consider sowing anything outdoors.
However, if you do have a greenhouse, or a conservatory, you can begin to sow some things from the middle of the month. Valentine’s Day is a good day to indulge your love for the garden. We generally start sowing our early crops from about the 15th of February.
What we will be
sowing in February.
Even if you consider yourself to be exclusively a vegetable gardener, a few flowers to plant at the end of your growing beds are not only beautiful, but they also add to the biodiversity of your garden and attract pollinators as well as beneficial predators to your plot.
February is a good time to start sowing Hardy Annuals. Hardy’s can handle low temperatures but be sure that the varieties you sow are truly hardy. (Be aware, some seed companies don’t play fair with labelling).
Most Hardy annuals can be sown direct later in the season, but if you want to start a few now then sow them under cover in seed trays for pricking out and growing on inside before planting out in mid April. One of the exceptions to this is Sweet Pea which is best started in individual, deep pots. Sweet Pea need very deep pots (or root trainers) to develop a strong root system.
We also plan to sow bedding plants in February, so they will be available for sale in the shop in late spring and early summer.
We are blessed here in North Co Dublin to have a kind climate and even more so in the coastal stretch from Lusk to Balbriggan which has a microclimate that gives us a real head start on growing early crops.
Vegetables we start in February include crops that we grow indoors as well as crops that we start for planting out late March or April.
Early Indoor Crops.
February is a great month to sow carrots under cover, make sure you use an early forcing type and that the seed is fresh, carrot seed does not last from one year to the next. An indoor sowing in early to mid February will crop by May and so can be harvested in time for you to use the same beds for tomatoes or cucumbers.
We plant first early potatoes under cover in February and they also crop in May.
Other crops worth considering in your greenhouse or tunnel are Onions (From Sets) though they do not mature until June.
Early February is a good time to module sow crops for planting indoors in March. These will give you a yield of early vegetables before the indoor crops come in.
In the coming week, we will multisow Scallions, Spinach, Lettuce & Beetroot, all of which will crop indoor in May. We will also sow some quick maturing Broccoli (Calabrese) to grow inside for a May harvest.
If you want to raise your own Peppers, Chilli or Aubergines, mid to late February is the time to sow them, they will need heat to germinate and to grow on.
Late February is a good time to sow your early Brassicas for planting outdoors in early April. These including, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and if your a fan of Kale, you can include it in your sowing.
Onions from seed take a long while to get going and to grow large enough to plant outside, however, for the choice of variety and the quality of the crop, it is worth doing. We sow onions in modules in mid to late February, about 4 seeds per cell for planting in late April and harvesting from July to August.
If you want to grow early outdoor crops but do not have a propagator or other suitable place to raise your plants, fear not, Bare Acre Farm Shop will be offering an extensive range of ready to plant vegetable starts from early April. Plants will be available in both 6 & 12 packs. You can see our list of starts and available dates here https://bareacrefarm.ie/vegetable-starts/