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Thursday, February 18, 2016

February gardening in the Pacific Northwest -- indoors and out

I'm spending about an hour every day gardening, now. Some of that time is spent indoors, starting seeds or planting pots. The rest of the time is spent outdoors, planting some of those bulbs I potted, as well as pulling weeds and invasive plants.

Do you remember this pot from late November? I had trimmed various shrubs from around the property and poked branches into a pot of soil.

I took that wintery-looking pot, and cleaned out all of the branches. I repotted with spring-flowering bulbs. I spread out some newspapers and worked on the kitchen floor, where I was cozy warm. 

I have a nice stash of potted bulbs to choose from, these days. I just step out to my deck and pick a few little pots. This has worked so well for me, that I think I'll be doing this again next year (buying bulbs on clearance and potting, with the idea that I can use them in spring).

It's a bit of a mess right now. But once a rain washes the leaves, it should look much better. I used some pink hyacinth, purple grape hyacinth and mixed purple and white crocus in this pot. I also potted up a single pink hyacinth into a smaller pot for the bedroom window.

While gardening, I also moved more lettuce seedlings out to the portable greenhouse, and began some more vegetable seeds.

If you're following along with my vegetable garden for this year, so far:
  • I've started a couple dozen green leaf lettuce seedlings (Black Seeded Simpson). I tried several old packets of seeds, and this one particular seed is the only type that has germinated. Green leaf lettuce it shall be!
  • I've planted 2 dozen seed-starting cells with green onions. So far, about 1/3 of those cells has germinated. I'm hoping for more in the next few days.
  • I've planted 18 seed-starting cells with green cabbage. They are just now beginning to germinate.
  • Yesterday, I started 18 cells of kale seeds and 27 cells of Spanish white onions.
All of these are for transplanting into the garden in March. Last year, I direct seeded the onions and they just didn't have enough time, so I'm trying seedlings this year. The cabbage, as well was direct seeded last year, and I'm curious if we could be harvesting cabbage in summer, by starting the seeds indoors this year.

For plastic seed-starting cells, I'm reusing some that I've had in the garage for a long time. My flats have all cracked and now leak, but I did find some aluminum foil trays and large baking pans that I can use for flats, for the time being. (My husband brings these home after group lunches at work. I'm glad to finally find a use them.)

In the garden itself, shallots and garlic are up, the kale, Swiss chard and radish greens are still usable. And in the perennials, the chives are up and could be used, as well as the sorrel. The rhubarb is just now poking through the soil. I'm thinking rhubarb pie in about a month!

February gardening is easy and slow. There's no rush this time of year. However, when March rolls around, I'll definitely feel that rush to get everything going. It's nice to have this month to ease into the heavy gardening.


  1. Eeesh..There's nothing growing here, sadly. I'm in zone 4B with lots of snow. We don't plant out til the first week of june. I have a grow light and mat, but it's still early for us. (Heavy sigh, here.) I'll live vicariously through you.

    1. Hi momsav,
      well, if it's any consolation, our weather is mild this time of year, but then remains in the 40s, 50s and very low 60s until about the 1st of July. We don't have the very warm days of spring that many areas have.

      But for now, I really do enjoy watching the spring bulbs as they come up. And I'll post some photos of flowers around my garden to share this next week.

      Have you ever used your grow light to grow herbs in winter and early spring, just for cutting and using now, like basil? I have a friend in Alberta who uses her grow light just for basil, I think, in spring.

  2. Oh how fun. I love it that the bulbs are growing so well for you. You have so many seedlings started that wonderful.
    How fun to garden inside. Is your green house working out.
    Have a great day.

    1. Hi Patti,
      The greenhouse is doing okay. It blew over again, so I do need to get a long bungee cord and hooks to anchor it to the wall. But otherwise, the lettuce seedlings that I moved out there are doing fine. And that is giving me more room under the lights to start new seeds.

      Have a peaceful day, Patti!

  3. Those bulbs worked out well for you, Lili. I think I will do the same thing next fall. One thing with planting bulbs for me is that I start to dig a place and find bulbs there already, not remembering exactly where everything is planted. In the spring, the existing bulbs would be coming up, and I could plant around them. Crocus and daffodils are blooming here in Portland now--beautiful first signs of spring coming!


    1. Hi Mary,
      I have found the same thing with trying to add bulbs to an area in the fall. One of the things I have done, is to dig up and move them in spring, when I want to cluster more together, or divide them. It seems to work okay, so long as we still have lots of rain coming which can water in any transplants.
      Crocus, petite daffodils and primrose are all blooming for me now. I would guess that the larger daffodils are in boom closer to the city. I'll have to ask the daughter who notices these things on campus. She usually reports when she sees something new in bloom in the city. It's so exciting to watch these very early flowers beginning to bloom, after those dark, dark days of December and January. Even rainy days seem less dreary when I can go out and find something blooming!

    2. Yes, with a mild January and February here, the primroses I have on our deck are blooming too. It's so enjoyable to see flowers at this time of year.

  4. Can't wait to see your pictures of the blooms!! We have no flowers in our yard, sad. But that's going to change in the near future!! I have to research what is best to grow in our area (dry) and where to buy the plant.


  5. I love spring gardening. All is hopeful at this time and unencumbered. I may even try once again to see if we can outsmart the cats and find a place to start some seeds.
    It's still a little cold and muddy here to do anything outside at this point.


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