What better way to honour San Valentino than with a freshly picked basket of basil and tomatoes? I can not think of a more perfect Valentine’ Day gift. I hope my spouse agrees.
My small greenhouse becomes a very comfortable spot during the winter months. A chair, a small waterfall and a few blooming geraniums give me a perfect retreat to have my morning cup of coffee/tea and complete my daily crossword puzzle.
In my greenhouse I have a couple of pots of basil and a tomato plant that gives us a a few special treats during the winter. I also have several planter boxes, on wheels, under one of the shelves. Equipped with a grow light this cool spot is the perfect place to grow fresh salad greens all winter. Since this lettuce is grown solely with the grow lights, it is also the perfect crop for any inside venue, that is not below freezing.
Inside activities for February also include shelling dried Romano beans. These beans were a mainstay of many of my family. In autumn, many were shelled and then canned. The remainder were left to dry in their pods for shelling during the winter months. My preferred way of consuming them is to add the beans to a pepper and tomato “stew” that I prepare in the fall. Extra containers are added to my freezer. A perfect winter comfort food.
Saving favourite or heritage seeds is a family tradition. Romano beans, lettuce/chicory and tomatoes were part of my family’s seed saving. They bore names such as Mattioda Lettuce, named after the Mattioda family that first gave us some seed. Seed saving and heritage seeds are coming back in fad these days. Groups such as the Kelowna Master Gardeners operate a Seedy Sunday each year. This year, they are holding a free drive-through operation on March 14.
If you are looking for some seeds, or have extra seeds you want to contribute, go their Facebook page:
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A most important outdoor gardening activities for February is pruning trees. Fruit trees are pruned to increase production and to make the harvesting easier. It is also a perfect time to prune ornamental, deciduous trees. Without the leaves, it is easy to see the structure of the tree. Weak or overlapping branches are easy to spot during the winter months. Well pruned trees make a great visual impact in the winter landscape.
Our main February bloomer in the garden is Witch hazel. This small bush is available in yellows and reds. We have ours located along the front side walk, where it provides our winter travellers a hope for an early spring.
January is considered by most to be the start of a new gardening year. But, for me, it is just one more month in my love of gardening. In preparation for Christmas, cedar, pine, fir and Oregon grape prunings were added to our flowerpots to create displays for our winter garden. In a usual year, pathways through the garden are kept clear of snow, to allow us to enjoy leisurely strolls enjoying the fairy lights adorning each of the flowerpots. Bird feeders and the bird bath are also kept filled, enticing our feathered friends to linger in garden.
Growing up on a farm meant that we raised most of our own food. Our diet was controlled by the seasons. Fresh January produce may be limited to cabbage, endives, celery and squashes, but this also gave our family incentive to create winter menus including the making of gnocchi.
Pumpkins are used in our garden as October and November decorations. In December, some of these pumpkins are used for making our Christmas pumpkin loaves that are given as gifts. By January, the last of our pumpkins are used for making gnocchi. A “agile e olio con pepe” sauce is made from tomatoes canned last fall, garlic harvested, braided and hanging in the garage and hot peppers that were dried and crushed. The gnocchi, sprinkled with fresh basil growing in the windowsill and served with a glass of wine, is a perfect tribute to our gardens, asleep for January, but still in our hearts.