Right this minute, especially if you live in the Northeast, most of our gardens are in hibernation mode. We might have some houseplants blooming, maybe an amaryllis or some paperwhites. As far as the outdoor gardens go, there still might be some snow to deal with and some February storms to come. In the meantime, the year has started, and it's never to early to begin planning.
GIVEAWAY ALERT! Before we continue, make sure you scroll to the bottom of this post to enter a great giveaway! So lets get started.
There are some tasks you can start right now to ensure you have a successful planting season this year. The first thing I do every winter is organize all my tools. I don't know about you, but at the end of the season, I get lazy.
My tools end up scattered here and there. I might leave one in the shed, some in the garage and even a few in the house for small garden projects. Time to round them all up! The next step is to clean what you have and take inventory. What tools would be a great new addition to your collection?
Over the summer, I was introduced to my new favorite gardening tool. It is something that I couldn't imagine living without. During the Garden Bloggers Fling, I was properly introduced to CobraHead®, The Best Tool In Earth. That pun instantly won me over. I had to give it a try!
I am definitely guilty of putting off weeding for as long as I can. Let's be honest here, how many of us actually enjoy weeding? Early in the season it's not so bad. Then, come August, my yard starts looking like a jungle!
I was given a CobraHead® "mini" Weeder and Cultivator. This immediately made weeding feel much easier as soon as I tried it out. Weeding will always be a chore no matter what we do, but this does the hard work for you.
This handy tool is super light-weight with a comfortable and efficient handle. It weighs only 5 ounces and can fit in your pocket easily. It weeds, digs, cultivates, plants and more. I love how easily it breaks through my tough and rocky soil. As soon as I held it in my hands, I knew it would be my new favorite tool.
It has a blade that is a steel fingernail® and becomes an extension of your hand. When I use it, I feel strong and, most importantly, capable of accomplishing all my biggest gardening tasks!
Here are a few examples of what this versatile tool can help you do.
It weeds, cultivates, scalps, edges, digs, furrows, plants, transplants, de-thatches and harvests.
I also really appreciate how the handle is made using recycled material. Even the tool's tag is made out of 100% recycled paper. The tempered steel blade has a curve that makes it very easy to hang. If you are a homesteader, you will find even more uses for it. I bring mine into the barn with me when I'm cleaning out the chicken coop. It can really get into those hard to reach places and help you scrape up any mess. In 2018, The CobraHead® "mini" became a Green Thumb Award winner for being an outstanding new garden product!
Want to see the CobraHead® in action? Check out this video!
I'm partnering up with CobraHead to give THREE lucky readers a
CobraHead® "mini" Weeder and Cultivator.
Start A Garden Journal
This is a task that is super simple and ends up making all the difference by the end of the season. Give yourself a place to brainstorm and write down your garden plans for the year. If you are a visual person like me, this will really make your ideas seem possible and more tangible.
You might have some brilliant ideas right now. Everyone can't help but dream big when the snow is falling outside. If you don't write it down, April will roll around and you definitely won't remember all the details of your plans.
If you are looking for a journal to get you started, check out Zoe's Garden Prints. The Little Green Veg Growers Journal & Planner is handmade using recycled paper. It comes packaged in a biodegradable (compostable) corn starch bag, ready for you to start jotting down all your ideas. Take a look at what Zoe did with her 2017 Allotment journal.
— Zoe (@zoes_garden) December 29, 2017
Purchase Some Seeds & Bulbs
Now is a great time to start taking inventory of what you already have and highlight what you might need. There are so many great places to purchase seeds, bulbs and live plants for next season. A great way to become inspired and get those ideas flowing is to sign up for some catalogs. There are so many great gardening companies that offer free catalogs packed full of gardening favorites and even some new varieties to add to your garden. Here are some favorites I'm ordering from!
- Harris Seeds (Seeds, Plants, Bulbs & Supplies) - Founded in 1879, this Rochester, New York based company provides quality vegetable seeds, flower seeds, plants and supplies to gardeners throughout the US. They allow you to purchase in bulk, which I absolutely love! This is especially perfect if you are looking to fill your garden with a large amount of a certain variety like zinnias or sunflowers! Click here to request a catalog.
- Johnny's Selected Seeds (Seeds & Supplies) - Based in Winslow, Maine, Johnny's Select Seeds has been helping families and friends feed one another for over 40 years. They are committed to helping growers and gardeners succeed. They offer such a great selection of varieties, you will be amazed. You are bound to find what you are looking for! Click here to request a catalog.
- American Meadows (Seeds & Bulbs) - American Meadows, based in Burlington, Vermont speaks to both the dreamer and the do-er in me. They offer a vast selection of wildflowers, flower bulbs, ornamental grass seed and so much more. On the website, you can choose seeds that do well in your region and zone. Although they don't offer a paper catalog, you can find everything you need here.
- Longfield Gardens (Bulbs) - Based in Lakewood, New Jersey, Longfield Gardens provides high quality bulbs and plants to the home gardener. They believe that quality doesn't need to cost you more (love that!). You can look up bulbs based on your gardening needs. Some of the categories I love to browse include deer resistant, drought tolerant and for the butterflies. If you are a dahlia fan, head on over. They offer a huge selection featuring different sizes, colors and bloom styles. Right now, they are offering 20% spring orders using the code EARLYBLOOMS. Click here to take a look.
- Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (Seeds) - If you are looking for something unique and different, this is the place to shop. The year that I decided to take on a winter veggie garden, I bought all my seeds from them. I knew they would have varieties I couldn't find anywhere else. They introduced me to Elephant garlic, Japanese Giant red mustard greens and so much more. You bet your boots that the new Atomic Grape tomatoes are at the top of my list this year! Click here to request a catalog.
Other Favorites - Botanical Interests, Jung Seed, David Austin Roses, Floret Flower Farm, GrowJoy, West Coast Seeds, Burpee, Veseys Seeds, Prairie Moon Nursery, Select Seeds, Dutch Bulbs, Territorial Seed Company, Seed Savers Exchange, Michigan Bulb Co., John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds, Edmunds' Roses, Gurney's Seed & Nursery, Kitazawa Seed Company
Start Your Seeds Indoors
The first step when it comes to starting seeds is figuring out what you want to grow. Once you have your list ready, make sure you know what zone you are growing in. You can use a helpful first and last frost date calculator to help you find out when to start your seeds.
Gather your seed starting supplies from your local home improvement stores or even the companies listed above. Your seeds will need adequate lighting, warmth and special soil made for starting seeds. Take all of this into consideration while shopping for what you need. Once you have your supplies, you are ready to get planting!
Here's a list of what I will be starting this February based on my growing zone. I am from zone 6a, Massachusetts with a last spring frost prediction of May 2. I'll be starting most of these varieties at the end of the month.
- Onions (Walla Walla)
- Peppers (Flaming Jade serrano peppers, Hot Sunset banana peppers, Pretty N Sweet ornamental peppers, Sweetie Pie bell peppers)
- Tomatoes (Midnight Snack cherry tomatoes, Candyland Red cherry tomatoes, Mountain Merit beefsteak tomatoes)
- Basil (Dolce Fresca)
- Lavender (True & French Purple Ribbon)
- Savory (Summer)
- Butterfly Flowers
- Chrysanthemums (Robinson Red)
- Foxgloves (Freckled Rose Princess)
- Snapdragons (Chantilly)
- Grass (Bunny Tails)
For Indoor Use
- Baby Greens
- Cat Grass
- Microgreens (Ciao Bella Basil Blend)
Other seeds to start in February - Cucumbers, eggplants, Swiss chard, spinach, catnip, chamomile, coriander, dill, feverfew, lemon balm, mint, parsley, thyme, ageratum, alyssum, calendula, coleus, daisies, godetia, delphinium, nemesia, pansies, petunias, poppies, sweet peas, violas.
HINT: If you know how many weeks your seeds need to grow indoors before your last expected frost date, use this helpful date calculator to find your indoor planting schedule.
Now for some fun. Ready for the giveaway? Of course you are!
How To Enter: Leave a comment on this post & you will automatically be entered to win. It's as easy as that!
Bonus Entries: If you want to increase your chances, fill out the form below and share, share, share!
About The Giveaway: THREE LUCKY WINNERS will receive an award winning CobraHead® "mini" Weeder and Cultivator. This giveaway will end at 11:59 p.m. EST on February 12, 2018. A winner will be picked at random and notified by email. Wishing you good luck!