Before the month is completely gone, I thought I would give a quick tour of the garden here in late February. It’s hard to believe we had ice and 8 to 12 inches of snow covering everything about a week ago, and the thermometer didn’t get above freezing for over a week. But warmer temperatures have now melted the snow, and you would hardly know it ever happened! I was surprised to find the collard greens had survived all the bad weather. These are growing uncovered in the main vegetable garden, and survived temps that got down to 3°F one morning and 4°F on two others. They are a little limp looking but otherwise in reasonably good shape, all things considered.
I have harvested quite a few of the leaves on many plants, but there are still many plants left with leaves. The hybrid Tiger is variety with deep green leaves that has held up quite well.
Hen Peck is an open-pollinated heirloom variety that I have harvested quite a bit already. There are still a lot of young leaves on the plants though, and hopefully they will begin growing again as the weather continues to moderate and the days lengthen. Eventually all the plants will bolt to flower, but last year that didn’t happen until sometime in April. I will likely try and save seed from some of the plants this year like I did in 2020.
The heirloom Purple has been highly variable in size and shape for me. One plant turned out short and wide last fall, with large rounded leaves. They were covered in frost this morning when I was out with my camera. The one plant has more than enough leaves for a meal or two for us.
Behind the greenhouse, I have a cold frame bed planted with kale. The cold frame is covered only with bird netting to keep the deer from eating the plants. The Starbor curly kale has held up well, and I haven’t harvested any of it yet. It will be ready whenever we need it.
The Mars Landing variety is also in the cold frame bed. I have cut some leaves from it already, but it is making new growth and there should be more for cutting in a few weeks. It’s my first time growing this one, and it appears to be quite hardy in our area.
But vegetables aren’t the only things we grow here. We have several beds with perennials planted, including ones for both shade and full sun. Daffodils are one of our earliest flowers to bloom, and I found a few leaves poking up out of the mulch already. We have several different patches of them planted here, including one that was here when we bought the place. The early ones typically begin blooming in March, although in 2017 we had a few that flowered in Februray.
We have quite a few ferns planted in the shade garden area, and a couple of them have stayed green all winter. I don’t know the species on this one, but it emerged unfazed from the snow covering when it melted.
We also have quite a few different hellebores planted. I found buds on several of them, so they should be blooming even before the daffodils flower.
Over in the sun garden area, the irises have new leaves coming up. It will be April or May before most of them flower, and they usually put on quite a show since my wife has quite a selection of them planted. We always look forward to the annual iris show here, and I am guessing the 2021 version won’t disappoint.
I hope you have enjoyed this tour of our garden in February. I’ll be back soon with more happenings from Happy Acres!
Seeing your photos makes me long for my old days in southern Indiana. We still have about half our snow here, and a very frosty morn. I did spot a few crocus tips pushing through where the snow has melted, but certainly no hellebore buds yet. I did harvest some spinach this week, and can dig some carrots and leeks in a covered bed as soon as the ground thaws!
Hi Dave, I do like the idea of these loose leafed cabbages, although they are very hard to get in the UK. Searching google I find only a handful of varieties from only a few suppliers. I’m wondering whether sowing a hearting cabbage – like a savoy – at high density, will stop it hearting and as a result allow me to harvest loose : All the best – Steve
We planted some kale and it is still baby sized. It just didn’t want to grow,
How do you keep your iris’ blooming? Mine grow, but do not flower… only one here and there. It’s very disappointing. I am in California in the 95247 zip code. Any suggestions?
To keep our irises blooming, we plant in full sun. Then, we don’t cover the rhizome, just put it on top of the soil and press down. Also, every few years we divide the roots. A little fertilizer won’t hurt either. I hope this helps!