Winters are normally not severe in our area so one might be fortunate enough to gather and sauté some greens during this time. I use this quiet time in the garden for reflection, as well as planning the changes I will make for the next growing season. My little garden is forever growing and changing that is for certain.

February’s Best Days in the Garden (2013)

February’s Best Days in the Garden (2013)

Gardening by the signs has always proven to be beneficial for our family.  I would imagine my grandfather mastered the Blum’s Farmer’s and Planter’s Almanac (located and published in Winston-Salem, NC) and all it had to offer.  Me?  Well…I am still learning but would not dream of gardening without it.

As promised here is what Mr. Almanac, as I fondly refer to ‘him’, says about gardening and the month of February:

  • Plant above ground crops:  12, 13, 16-18, 21, 22
  • Plant root crops:  1-4, 7, 8, 27, 28
  • Plant flowers:  1, 21, 22, 27, 28
  • Transplant:  2, 3, 4
  • Prune:  To encourage growth:  2, 3, 4  To discourage growth:  10, 11, 14, 15
  • Apply organic fertilizer:  2, 3, 4
  • Destroy weeds:  9, 25, 26
  • Harvest crops:  5, 6, 9

Mr. Almanac also forecasts the weather for the month of February and it looks like this current weather pattern of wind and wet will continue throughout much of February for the Atlantic Coast so batten down the hatches.IMG_3190

I am thinking I will be doing a lot inside this month…planning….crocheting scarves and toboggans…cooking…cleaning out…and praying for SPRING and warmer days so I can get outside and get some dirt under these fingernails!  Yep, I am just that weird…I think they call it being a ‘tomboy’ in the south~ 😉  But, hey, I can dress up with the best of ’em…it just isn’t my preference!


February Garden Plans in the Piedmont

February Garden Plans in the Piedmont

 Always wanted to try your hand growing a ‘crazy good’ vegetable garden?Edible Landscape 8 1 2011It is easier than you think and February is the time to start your plans and preparations here in the Piedmont.  Let me help you get started~

  • Prepare your beds for late February and early March planting, as well as spring planting.  Don’t freak…there is no need to do extra work like tilling, weeding or removing layers of grass.  If this is your first year trying “Tess’ Till-less Method” here are the instructions.
  • Plan where you will put your beds and what you will grow in them.  This post might help with that.
  • Take inventory of last years seeds and make a list of what you will need for spring/summer.
  • Prune fruit trees and bushes when temperatures are above freezing.
  • Start seeds indoors.  Aerogarden with Cilantro and Dill 4 2011I use an Aerogarden as my starter; however, you can certainly use a starting tray and seed starting potting mix.  A lid will help keep humidity in and the seeds moist when they sprout.  Spinach, cabbage, kale, lettuce,  broccoli and cauliflower all grow well when started as transplants inside.  When you see the first crocus open, consider it time to set out transplants of lettuce, cabbages, and onions; cover them on cold nights.
  • I also start my basil, parsley and other herbs indoors at this time as well.  My sweet marjoram, oregano and thyme are all planted in the ground on my front lawn and come back every year.  The rosemary flourishes all year long, as does bay leaf (thus far anyhow – see the rosemary in the lefthand corner of the picture below – swiss chard doesn’t look so hot 😉 but, believe it or not, that is from LAST WINTER so it certainly performed well – bless it’s heart).IMG_3194
  • This is the time to start your annual flower seeds like petunias, marigolds and zinnias inside.
  • Later on in the month, start warm-season veggies such as tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, squash and peppers indoors.
  • In late February or when daffodils ‘pop’, plant peas directly in the garden.  So yummy and super simple to grow!  You may want to cover with clear plastic until you see sprouts popping through the ground.  Use a trellis so they will have a structure to grow up immediately.  This allows for a bigger yield.
  • You can also plant radishes and cold hardy lettuces directly in the garden at this time.
  • Clean up!  This means cutting back ornamental grasses like lirope, raking up debris and composting when possible.
  • Check out and sharpen/repair your garden tools so you will be ready to ‘go’ on those warm, sunny days in the coming months.
  • Clean our your tool shed and make a list of what you will need for the coming growing season.  Do you need twine?  plant labels?  watering wand?  gardening gloves?  hat?

One more helpful tip…work your garden according to the signs.  This means that I use an almanac to plant, to prune and to harvest.  Watch for a post this weekend on when the ‘signs’ tell you to do these things during the month of February!  May sound weird but my grandfather gardened this way and, believe me, it makes a difference!!!

And there you have it!  Your February ‘To-Do’ list!!!  Now all you need is the desire to feed your family foods that you KNOW is as organic as it can be and a desire to get your hands in the dirt!  It does not take much space at all and  you can make it visually attractive by adding annuals, bird-feeders  bird-baths, pavers.


Worked in among my ‘regular’ landscape are tomato plants, rosemary, basil and asparagus.  It is beautiful…so much so that my neighbors are on board and are planning their Tess’ Till-less Edibles on their front lawn this year as well!  It really is contagious – especially after you share some of your fresh, organic bounty with them!!!

Happy Planning and PLANTING everyone!!!




Crazy Good Gardening in the New Year – Zone 7

Crazy Good Gardening in the New Year – Zone 7

With the new year comes longer days (yea!) and preparation for your crazy good spring gardening plan (YEA!).  Based on Organic Gardening information it is time to take care of the following gardening chores:

  • On mild days, remove winter weeds, such as wild onions and chickweed.
  • Sow seeds of Shirley poppies (Papaver rhoeas) for bloom in May and June.
  • Sow larkspur seeds directly in flowerbeds where you want them to grow; look for blooms by midspring.
  • Indoors, start seeds of perennials or slow-growing annuals, like coleus and geraniums, beneath lights.Aerogarden with Cilantro and Dill 4 2011
  • Start seeds of cabbage, early lettuce, and at the end of the month, broccoli.
  • When onion and cabbage transplants are available at the garden center, select the best ones, then plant them in the garden beneath a row cover.
  • Near the end of the month, weed the asparagus bed and strawberry plot, then feed the plants and renew the thinning mulches.

I would also like to add that during this first week of the new year, I sit down with the almanac, as well as my calendar and go through making notations for the coming year…when to trim for growth or not, when to plant above ground crops or root crops, when to harvest…you get the picture.  Doing this gets me hyped with the anticipation of getting my hands in the dirt once again in a couple of months and producing organic, not to mention DELICIOUS, food for my family and friends.

My method is easy – NO DIGGING OR TILLING!  I invite you to join me…many have and LOVE it!!!