February Garden Tasks

Dada! Indoor seed starting. Some hate it, I love it!
200 pepper seeded in late January, up-potted and looking rather good. Peppers take along time to grow: they need to be well established in the garden before summer heat parks itself over us. When it’s too hot, many drop their flowers and one harvests very little until temperatures moderate again in the fall. I plant a mixture of bells, cubanelle, Italian, a few chiles and some odd ones. And I start them early!

The 2 dozen eggplants are looking well and the 15 tomatoes (the ones started in January in hope of a early harvest) are already 3″ tall. This week-end, another 50 cells got seeded with more tomato varieties. In the greenhouse, celeriac and violas have been transplanted to individual cells, chard is germinating and leeks finally got seeded. Some kale seedlings were up-potted and left in the greenhouse – the remainder transplanted outside under agro-fabric.

Outside, I direct-seeded 3 kinds of peas on Sunday: 2 sugar snaps and one dwarf garden pea. I always soak the seeds for several hours until they plump before planting them.

Soaking peas

Sweet potatoes are rooting nicely on one of the dining-room window sills.

Chayotes started. I love chayote, that fruit/vegetable of my childhood. While my Northern Virginia Piedmont climate does not allow me to grow it for its fruit, I can grow for its edible and prolific shoots – a wonderful summer cooking green. For more details, read those prior posts on starting chayote and on growing chayote in Virginia. Next: ginger needs to be started.

Chayote sprouted and potted

More on the needs-to-be-done-real-soon  list: more seeds of spinach and lettuce. And then parsley, basil  and thyme (for the bees). Also favas; onion transplants; broccoli; cabbage; cardoon; mustards; nasturtiums…

I do love it so.

6 comments

  1. I clicked through to all of your posts about growing chayote, and I’m convinced: I must grow some in the alley behind my apartment this summer. I’ve been wondering what to grow up the fence and metal grate over the windows–I was concerned that pumpkins might break under the weight, so perhaps cucumbers, but I’m allergic… But chayote is wonderful, and I love sauteeing pea tendrils and young bean shoots, so I’m convinced.

    I didn’t find chayote until I moved to Saudi Arabia last year. Seems funny, considering how I lived in a highly international part of DC with tons of ethnic grocery stores that I frequented all the time. But now that I know what chayote is, I buy it regularly (and see it in almost every episode of Star Trek when there’s a bowl of fruit laying out).

  2. Hi Kenneth – definitively give it a try! If nothing else it’ll give you shade. Funny that you discovered them in Saudi Arabia, but they originate from Meso-America! Start Trek? STAR TREK????? Who knew?

  3. val says:

    I don’t like seed starting–it makes me anxious! But I love propagating things like avocado, lemongrass, and ginger (a first for me this year). I’ll have to try the chayote too–maybe I can enjoy the shoots, since I avoid the fruit because it makes the skin on my hands peel (weird, I know–someone should make a natural exfoliant of it).

  4. sylvie says:

    Val – there is a milky substance in the skin that also “eat” my hands away – like butternut squash, except worst. I cook the fruit, then I peel it – it’s easier to peel AND your hands don’t get damaged! And yes, you should give chayote a try – with your remarkable green thumb (love all your garden pix!) it ought to do very nicely for you

  5. val says:

    Good tip, thanks! Rick Bayless has a recipe for a corn and chayote casserole that is fantastic–with chayote or any other squash.

  6. Mike says:

    Looks like you have been busy, may those early grown crops provide you with an excellent and early harvest this season.

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