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Although it’s still too early to plant such popular garden vegetables such as tomatoes, beans and corn, it’s just the right time for Coastal Carolina gardeners to plant cool-season vegetables.
Cool-season vegetables are those that should be planted early in the growing season because they stop producing when hot weather comes. Among the first vegetables that should be planted in the garden are cabbage, carrots, head lettuce, onions, Irish potatoes, radishes, rutabagas, spinach, turnips, edible podded peas and garden peas, which are also called English peas. Soon after they are in the ground, it’ll be time to plant broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, leaf lettuce, mustard and Swiss chard.
Planting times vary among the different types of vegetables and in different parts of the state. For instance, if you live in the upper Coastal Plain or lower Piedmont regions, you should plant carrot seeds between Feb. 15 and March 1. In Western North Carolina, delay planting for 10 to 20 days. And in Eastern North Carolina, plant seven to 12 days earlier.
Information on home gardening in your area is available from your local county Extension office. Those interested in planting cool-season crops can request a copy of the Home Vegetable Gardening Manual.
February Garden Chores
Plant early vegetable gardens such as peas, sugar snaps, onion seeds, head lettuce, carrots, etc. Use only fresh new 2008 packaged seed. It is not wise to save seed, particularly hybrid seed, since seed will lose vigor or produce plants not true to type.
Purchase quality seed from reputable dealers or garden centers.
Purchase varieties that grow well in your regions or area.
Select varieties that have resistance to major diseases such as rust or nematodes.
Keep up with varieties that are genetically superior to older varieties.
Pansies are by far the most popular winter landscape annual. Deadhead periodically to ensure more blooms. During active growth in the spring, fertilize them about once a month.
Be prepared just on the chance there may actually be some more winter weather ahead of us. Don’t let unseasonably mild temperatures dictate what you do in the landscape.