What’s Happening in Austin’s February Vegetable Garden

February Vegetable Garden Checklist Tips from Paula Wolfel

plate of arugula and radish - two things that should be on your February vegetable garden checklist

Plant arugula and radishes this month.

February is a fun month for Austin gardening because we start planning for our spring and summer gardening. It is almost as if what occurs this month will dictate your gardening all the way through the fall! Hopefully you have been keeping up with the weeds, if not, use the warmer days to get out there and start spring cleaning in your garden. Early in the month, work 1-2” of compost into your beds. There are a wide range of cool weather vegetables that can be planted this month (see below) and it is also time to start some of your summer vegetables inside. I personally get really excited to once again plant arugula and radishes! With all that said, keep in mind we can still get nights with freezing temperatures and frost. So continue to keep an eye on the temperatures and protect your plants.

The February Vegetable Garden Checklist

Here is what you can do in the garden this month:

  • Continue to feed vegetables with fish emulsion or other water-soluble fertilizers every two weeks.
  • Irrigate vegetable beds so that the plantings do not dry out.  Irrigate only if the soil is dry a few inches below the surface or in newly established seedbeds.  Dry plants are more likely to freeze than well-watered ones.  But do not overwater; plants use water more slowly when temperatures are cool.
PLANTING (with frost protection)
  • Seeds:
    • Carrots (all month)
    • Peas, English, snap, and snow (early month)
    • Potatoes, Irish (all month)
    • Radishes (all month)
    • Turnips (all month)
  • Transplants:
    • Asparagus crowns (all month)

      asparagus crowns in trench ready to be covered

      Plant asparagus crowns in 6 to 12″ deep.

    • Broccoli (all month)
    • Cabbage (all month)
    • Cauliflower (all month)
    • Strawberries (all month)
    • Onions, bulbing (early month)
  • Seeds or Transplants:
    • Arugula (all month)
    • Asian Greens (all month)
    • Beets (all month)
    • Swiss Chard (all month)
    • Collards (all month)
    • Fennel (all month)
    • Cool-season greens (all month)
    • Kale (all month)
    • Kohlrabi (all month)
    • Leeks (all month)
    • Lettuce (all month)
    • Mustard greens (all month)
    • Spinach (all month)
  • Indoors:
    • Start tomato and pepper seeds indoor. I usually start transplanting mine in mid- to- late March.
    • Cantaloupe
    • Cucumbers
    • Eggplant
  • Use mild days to turn compost and build up mulch.
  • Add a thin layer of compost over newly planted groundcovers and vines.
  • Once new growth appears at the base, cut the old stems to the ground to eliminate dead sticks. My Mexican tarragon, mint, and rosemary will need this treatment after that late December weather.
  • With the warm weather many critters are starting to come out.  I have already seen red wasps and lady bugs who are both friends of gardeners.  So keep an eye out for the pests and start making the garden unwelcome for them: remove weeds and debris.
  • Flea beetles and aphids may become active this month.
  • Keep up with weeds while they are young and before they have a chance to put down roots.

    weed wiper

    Use a weed wiper to help keep unwanted plants out of the garden.

  • Take advantage of mild winter days to tidy up your shed and greenhouse, and take care of tools.
  • Keep up with the mulch (pine bark, hardwood mulch, pine straw, etc.)
If a freeze is expected:

  • Water plants beforehand.
  • Cover newly planted plants, and tender vegetables and landscape plants with row cover, sheets or blankets making sure to secure the fabric to the ground to prevent wind from blowing it up and to seal in heat from the ground.
  • Disconnect hoses and wrap faucets before the freezing night arrives.

Additional Resources

Watch the Vegetable Gardening in Central Texas Webinar

Recommended Vegetable Varieties for Travis County

Vegetable Seed Sources

Vegetable Gardening in Austin

Plant Rotations, Successions and Intercropping

Rootknot Nematode Management

Sustainable Food Center Farmers Markets

Texas Farmers Markets

Monthly Gardening Calendar for Austin and Central Texas

About Paula Wolfel

Paula Wolfel is new to the Travis County Master Gardener program but has been gardening in Austin, Texas since 2017. She grew up in the suburbs of Chicago learning how to garden from both her father—a Sicilian vegetable and fruit tree gardener—and both her grandmothers, and then spent years in Virginia gardening. Paula loves gardening because she finds it to be a grounding force- it gets her out of her head and into the present. She loves the pride that comes with cooking a meal for her family with every ingredient coming from her garden… and then the humility she feels when she loses an entire crop because of Mother Nature. She finds gardening to be wisdom, lessons, best practices passed down generation to generation, season to season and hopes to share that with you.

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