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Starting your summer garden in February

When to start our warm weather vegetable seeds?

Warm weather vegetables, such as tomatoes and peppers, have a long growing period. Starting seeds indoors in February and grow them for 6 to 8 weeks will give you a head start on your growing season. Once the seedlings reach approximately 8 inches tall start hardening them off for a week or two by putting them outside short periods of time. Each time you out them outside add 20 to 30 minutes of outdoor time and in a week or so your veggies will be ready to transplanting into the garden. Other vegetables to start in February include lettuce varieties, chard and eggplant. February is a good time to start cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cabbage. Start summer squash when you start the pepper and tomato plants. Plant cucumber seeds during the last week in February.

     You may also want to start watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew seeds indoors too, due to the long growing season melons require. Pumpkins also require a long growing season. Once the seedlings have three leaves, the plants need hardening off and moved into their permanent growing site in the garden. At Red Frog Farms we start a our melons an pumpkins in late February for the best results in our zone.

      Always start your seeds in a quality potting soil for best results. When watering your seeds de-chlorinate your water first if you are using a municipal water source. Adding cal mag will add essential minerals to help your seed get off on the right foot. Red Frog recommends Botanicare cal mag. Happy gardening and get the seeds growing!