17 Plants to Plant in February: Herbs and Vegetables

Plants to plant in February

Let’s talk about the plants to plant in February

The chill of winter still hangs in the air, but beneath those snow flurries or grey clouds, the soil is beginning to wake up. As a gardener, you can feel it – spring is stirring. Now is the perfect time to feed that urge to dig your hands into the earth again by prepping and to sow seeds an early vegetable garden.

I’m sure you’re as eager as I am to watch your first seedlings burst through the soil and unfurl their tiny green leaves. But what exactly can you plant in February or early March? Getting a head start on spring planting takes a bit of planning, protection, and, most importantly, choosing the right robust plants and cold-hardy vegetables and herbs for a successful garden.

So grab your trowel and seed packets! This post will explore the best plants to start in February for a bountiful spring harvest. From arugula and radishes, which bring delightful early produce within weeks, to onion sets, which establish their roots before growing big and strong, you’ll learn everything you need to know to build a productive late winter garden.

I don’t know about you, but I’m yearning for signs of new growth and greenery. Let’s dive into February’s top plants to make the most of this transitional gardening season together! 

1. The Hardy Peas – An Early Spring Reward


Sweet peas are one of my absolute favorite veggies. 

One of the earliest crops you can directly sow now is garden peas. As a cool weather-loving vegetable, they will germinate in soil temperatures as low as 40 degrees F – meaning no need to wait for warmer weather! Once established, peas can even handle a few spring snowfalls and freeze.

Some top pea varieties I’d recommend are Oregon Giant, Green Arrow, and Maestro. Place your seedlings along a trellis or fence so they have something sturdy to cling and climb up as they grow. If you’re eager for a fresh spring taste, you could enjoy crisp snap peas straight from the vine in just two months with a February sowing.

As peas produce their sweet pods, they also improve the soil at their roots thanks to a handy trait called nitrogen fixation. This makes them a great companion to plant alongside heavy nitrogen-feeding crops like tomatoes and corn that will be sown later. It’s a clever two-for-one value for both your spring meals and enriching your garden for the future!

2. Onions – Pungent Bulbs With a Long Growth Season


You may not think of onions as an early spring vegetable. Still, they have a long growing period of 4-5 months from planting to harvest. That makes late winter an ideal time to get them started in the garden so they can reach full maturity in the summer warmth. 

Onions give you options when it comes to planting methods, too. You can sow onion seeds directly in the garden, tuck in onion sets just below the soil surface, or transplant onion seedlings if you start them indoors. Each onion planted will grow into a good-sized bulb come mid-summer.

Varietal options for hardy onions include Ailsa Craig Exhibition, Stuttgarter, and Paris Silverskin. I’m partial to sweet Vidalia onions myself! But look to your growing zone to find out which varieties you can successfully plant in your region. Once you have chosen your varieties and are ready to grow your vegetable seeds, amend the soil with compost or aged manure to give this root crop the nutrient richness it craves.

While growing, onions prefer consistent moisture and weed-free beds. Their shallow roots can’t compete well with other plants. Mulch well around your onion crop to retain water and discourage weeds.

3. Garlic – The Aromatic Bulb


For home gardeners in colder regions, February is the last call for planting garlic this season. The bulbs require about eight months of cool-weather growth before they are ready to harvest in late summer.

When planting, choose plump, healthy garlic cloves from organic sources whenever possible. Separate the head into individual cloves, keeping the papery skin intact around each one. Plant the cloves root-side down about 2 inches deep and 6 inches apart in rows.

Some stellar garlic varieties to try are Music, Spanish Roja, and Georgian Crystal. To give the developing bulbs a nutritional boost, amend the soil with some compost. 

Once established, garlic needs about an inch of water per week, either from rain or irrigation—mulch around plants to retain moisture and discourage weeds. Then sit back and wait for an aromatic harvest of large, cured bulbs by July or August!

4. Carrots – A Cold-Hearty Below-Ground Crop


Carrots are another satisfying root crop that can be planted directly into your vegetable garden. These sweet orange taproots thrive in cooler weather. As long as your garden soil is workable, sprinkle carrot seeds for a harvest within two months of sowing.

Choose quick-maturing varieties of early carrots like Thumbelina and Little Finger to enjoy petite young carrots by early spring. Or opt for long-rooted types like Scarlet Nantes or Napoli to harvest all summer long. No garden should be without carrots!

Remember that carrot seeds are tiny and shallow-rooted, so create a fine textured, rock-free soil for them to sprout and grow in. Adding a thick layer of compost when prepping planting beds helps avoid stunted carrots later. Gentle, consistent watering is vital as well once seeds are sown.

I like to repeat sow carrots every 2-3 weeks for a continuous supply. Do you have enough garden space to try succession planting with carrots this season? 

5. Peppery Radishes – A Fast, Early Treat


As one of the quickest-growing vegetables, radishes are a great crop to sow directly into the garden. In just four short weeks from seed to harvest, you can bite into crisp ruby-red globes with a burst of peppery juice.

Radishes prefer cooler temperatures and will actually bolt and turn pithy during summer’s heat. That makes them perfectly suited for spring planting.

Some top radish varieties to try are Champion, Cherriette, and Easter Egg II Mix – which has a delightful range of magenta, purple, and white roots! Be sure to keep seed beds moist for the best germination and growth.

Given their rapid life cycle, radishes are a satisfying first edible crop for children. After planting radish seeds an inch below the soil surface, young gardeners will be delighted to uncover the vibrant roots ready to eat so soon. It’s an instant vegetable garden gratuity!

6. Crisp Lettuces – Delicious Leafy Greens


If you’re eager for fresh salad greens this spring, have no fear – lettuces are excellent cold-weather performers. As soon as the ground can be worked, sprinkle lettuce seeds directly into the garden or transplant seedlings started indoors.

The beauty of lettuce is that it comes in so many diverse varieties – frilly oakleaf, buttery bibb, crisphead, and quick-growing cutting lettuces. You could try a medley of all types! When selecting seeds, look for cold, hardy cultivars, like Arctic King, Winter Density, and North Pole.

Lettuces prefer nutrient-rich soil amended with nitrogen-heavy compost and consistent moisture. Installing a cold frame over plants will offer extra frost protection on especially icy nights. In just 45-60 days of growth, you’ll be harvesting the first tasty leaves.

7. Arugula – A Cool Season Salad Green


If you love the distinctive peppery zing arugula adds to salads, pestos, and sandwiches, late winter is an ideal time to start this leafy green. A relative of mustard and other brassicas, arugula prefers chillier temperatures in the garden.

As soon as the soil is warm and the ground can be worked, you can sow arugula seeds directly in the garden 1⁄4 inch deep and just 2-3 inches apart. Well-drained soil amended with compost is key. For baby-sized leaves ready to snip in just 3-4 weeks, choose quick-growing varieties like Astro or Runway. Or try wild arugula, which is slower growing but deeply lobed and extra tangy!

One of the easiest salad greens to raise, arugula will re-sprout for secondary cuttings after the initial harvest if kept consistently watered. A simple cold frame over your beds will protect young plants if icy temps linger into early spring. Before you know it, that characteristic arugula zest will bring your dishes to life!

8. Sturdy Seed Potatoes – Plant Them Deep


Potatoes are fun root crops to grow. It is satisfying to look out over your potato plots and have lots of green growing. Potatoes are hardier vegetables, and late February may be a good time in your region to get the seed potatoes in the ground. Potatoes take around 3-4 months to reach harvest size, making February an optimal time for sowing them in warmer regions or pre-sprouting tubers indoors before planting in colder zones before March.

When selecting seed potato varieties, choose mid or late-season cultivars like Yukon Gold, Kennebec, or Red Pontiac. Place sprouted potatoes 4-6 inches deep into soil amended with compost or aged manure. Keep mounding more soil, straw, or mulch around the base to encourage more tuber production underground as plants grow.

If you’ve never grown potatoes before, they are remarkably satisfying to cultivate and fun to dig up by the handful! They are also delicious when roasted or mashed with a nice steak or salmon, if that’s your thing. 

9. Broccoli – A Cool Weather Loving Brassica


Broccoli is a classic spring vegetable that needs about two months of cooler temperatures to form its dense, tasty flower heads. Getting transplants in the ground by February gives them plenty of time to mature. Plus, broccoli handles light frosts just fine once established.

When selecting broccoli varieties for spring planting, look for quick-growing types like Arcadia, Gypsy, Green Magic, or Marathon. Green sprouting calabrese is another cool-weather broccoli that produces an abundance of smaller tender shoots and buds instead of one large central head.

If starting broccoli indoors, harden off the transplants for 7-10 days before transplanting into well-drained, compost-enriched soil in full sun around mid-February. Space plants 12-24 inches apart. Maintain consistent soil moisture and fertilize every few weeks with a balanced organic fertilizer. Come April and May, you’ll be rewarded with the first harvest!

10. Cabbage – Iconic Cool Weather Crops


Cabbage plants thrive when maturing during cool seasons like spring and fall. Setting out transplants in February allows time for full-sized dense heads to develop before summer’s heat sets in. Both green and red varieties bolt less quickly in moderate temperatures.

Quick-growing types to try for spring cabbage include Caraflex, Golden Acre, and Red Jewel. Space transplants 12-18 inches apart in fertile soil amended with extra compost or aged manure since cabbage is a heavy feeder.

Be sure to provide consistent moisture to help these shallow-rooted plants grow their iconic tightly-wrapped heads. Adding a thick mulch around the base of cabbage plants will help retain soil moisture and prevent weeds.

A few pests to watch out for are cutworms munching on seedlings and cabbage worms that can chomp leaves as plants mature. Check the undersides of leaves regularly and remove worms by hand or use BT spray if infestations occur.

11. Cauliflower – A Cold Hardy Cousin to Broccoli


Like its brassica cousins, broccoli, and cabbage, cauliflower produces the best flavor when grown as a cool-weather crop. Late winter is prime time for getting transplants established.

Look for early maturing cauliflower varieties bred specifically for spring planting, like Snow Crown, Amazing, or White Sails. Start seeds indoors 8-10 weeks prior to the last frost so stocky young plants will be ready for February transplanting. Harden them off for 7-10 days first.

Once placed 18-24 inches apart in garden beds enriched with organic matter, keep the soil consistently moist around your maturing cauliflower. Install low tunnels or cold frames over plants for extra frost and insect protection. Come mid-spring, after 65-85 days of growth, you’ll harvest beautiful, dense white curds!

12. Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are considered a cold-weather vegetable that prefers cooler growing conditions. Here are some key points about growing Brussels sprouts successfully:

  • Brussels sprouts grow best when temperatures range between 60-70°F during the day and around 50°F at night. They can tolerate light frosts.
  • They typically start from seed in early spring and grow through late fall to develop those famous mini cabbages along the stalks. Late summer/early fall plantings time final maturity with cooler autumn weather.
  • Brussels grows best in fertile, well-draining soil that’s kept consistently moist. Amending soil with compost provides nutrients.
  • To promote sweet flavor, these plants can be exposed to a few light frosts, which encourages the plants to convert starches into sugars.

Brussels sprouts thrive when grown as a fall/winter crop rather than summer. The cooler daytime and night temperatures help them form tighter, tastier sprouts in time for holiday harvests. Their natural sweetness develops best in chilly weather, too. Give them plenty of TLC through the colder months!

Tasty Herbs – Flavorful Foliage For Months to Come

Aside from nutritious vegetables, no late winter garden is complete without a variety of fresh herbs. Many hardy herb plants relish cooler conditions, making February an opportune time to get them started for strong spring growth. Consider mixing these aromatic foliage plants in your vegetable beds or designated herb gardens.

13. Cilantro – LovesCool Weather


If you can never get enough of that bright, citrusy flavor in salsas and Thai dishes, cilantro should top your list of herbs to direct sow. This short-lived annual thrives when grown in spring and fall and goes to seed quickly in the summer heat. Space seeds every 2-3 weeks for continual harvests.

14. Parsley – Longstanding and Decorative


Another easy herb to grow from seed in February is parsley. It’s a biennial, taking two years to mature and produce flower umbels fully. Curly and Italian flat-leaf parsley offers plenty of deep green leaves during the first season to flavor soups, salads, and more for months. Allow some plants to overwinter for second-year flowering.

15. Chives – Perennial Allium

Chives/ Green Onions

An early spring bloomer, chives send up pretty purple pompom flowers atop their slender grass-like leaves, bringing color and a mild onion zing to dishes when added fresh. As part of the allium family, chives are hardy perennials that can be divided every few years for maximum yields over many seasons. Plant some this month for years of enjoyment!

16. Rosemary – Woody Mediterranean Perennial


Rosemary is a culinary staple in Tuscan and Mediterranean cuisine, lending its piney fragrance and flavor to roasted meats and more. While an evergreen perennial shrub in its native warmer zones, rosemary can also be planted as an annual or overwintered indoors in colder climates. Start seeds now for transplanting outside next month. Provide well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight.

17. Thyme – Miniature Leaved Groundcover


Delicate looking with tiny aromatic leaves, thyme makes a lovely drought-resistant groundcover with the added benefit of making dishes taste amazing! Common thyme is a hardy perennial, best planted in spring, so roots establish before the following winter. The cultivar’ German Winter’ is an extra cold tolerant choice able to withstand freezing and snow.

Those two classic herbs round out a full late winter lineup! What Mediterranean herbs do you rely on most in your cooking? 

Top Tips for Planting Success

When cultivating an early spring garden, it pays to incorporate a few simple tips to help your vegetables and herbs thrive despite February’s still-chilly temps. Take the guesswork out of growing with the following advice:

Soil Test
Soil Temperature Test

Test and Prep Soil Well 

First, check your garden soil’s quality and make any needed amendments. Take a soil test to determine pH and nutrient levels, then mix in several inches of finished compost or well-rotted manure before planting. This gives roots the fertile, well-draining soil they need.

Protective Coverings 

Garden Row Covers

Shield tender seedlings and plants from extreme cold using cloches, flexible row covers, or cold frames over beds. These materials allow sunlight through while trapping warmth. Just be sure to vent them on sunny, milder, late winter days to prevent overheating.

Grow in Raised Beds 

Raised Garden Beds

For earlier spring growth, try raised garden beds that can warm more quickly thanks to increased sun absorption and good drainage. Frame them with wood, bricks, or stones at least 6 inches high, then fill them with enriched soil. Your plants will thank you!

Monitor Soil Moisture 

Soil Moisture

Check the soil frequently and water vegetable and herb beds as needed with a gentle spray to avoid disturbing seeds or uprooting seedlings. Plants require about an inch of water per week, which is sufficient, depending on rainfall or irrigation. To conserve moisture, drape some breathable garden fabric over freshly seeded beds.

Let me know which tips you find most valuable for your beds.


Even with winter still clinging on, February offers prime opportunities to plant a wealth of hardy vegetables and herbs for months of future enjoyment. From sweet snap peas and spicy radishes ready to harvest in weeks to plump bulbs of garlic and potatoes swelling underground, your growing season productivity can start early. Be sure to provide fertile, compost-enriched soil and protective coverings over delicate plants when cold snaps hit. Before you know it, the garden will burst with fresh flavors right on your doorstep.

Even as we plant cold, hardy veggies outside, we can get a jump start on warmer season crops, too! Plan ahead and sow heat-loving plants like basil, tomatoes, sweet peppers, eggplant, and perennial flowers indoors near a sunny windowsill or under grow lights for transplanting later on. 

Make sure to use seed starting mix and containers with drainage holes. A heated propagator mat that gently warms from underneath speeds up germination. Once sprouted, provide adequate sunlight or supplemental grow lights and moderate room temperatures between 65-75°F. In just 6-8 weeks from seeding, stocky young plants will be ready to transition outdoors after your last frost date. Getting a head start with seedlings now means much earlier bountiful harvests of garden-fresh tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, and more!

I hope these suggestions inspire you to step outside and flex your green thumb this month! Let me know which cool-loving vegetables or aromatic herbs you’ll be planting in the comments. I’d love to hear what’s on your gardening radar as we look ahead to spring. Now grab those seeds, and let’s get growing!

Frequently Asked Questions About Vegetable Gardening in February

Whether you want to know what to plant this month or how to take care of your gardening beds, we’ve got answers to help your vegetable garden thrive!

What vegetables can I plant in February?

Some of the top vegetables and herbs you can direct sow or transplant into the garden now include peas, radishes, carrots, onions/garlic, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, arugula, and cool weather herbs like parsley, cilantro and chives.

When should I start seeds indoors?

Mid-February to early March is the perfect time to begin starting seeds indoors for warm season vegetables and herbs. Prepare seed starting mix and containers now for tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, squash, cucumbers, melons and basil so the seedlings will be ready to harden off and transplant outside after the last spring frost date in your area.

How do I prepare my garden beds?

In late winter, amend all vegetable garden beds with at least 1-2 inches of finished compost worked in. Test soil pH and add lime if needed to raise pH for crops like brassicas and onions that prefer more alkaline soil. Put down pre-emergent herbicide if issues with weeds last year. Install trellises for climbing plants before planting peas and beans.

Should I cover my plants if freezing weather returns?

Newly seeded beds and transplants will benefit from added insulation against hard freezes in late winter, especially leafy greens, peas, onions and root crops. Use cloches, fabric row covers or cold frames over beds, leaving the ends vented for air flow on milder days. Remove immediately if temps spike so plants don’t overheat.

What are signs my transplants are ready to move outdoors?

When starting peppers, tomatoes, eggplants etc indoors, the young plants are ready for hardening off and then transplanting outside into garden beds once they’ve developed their first sets of true leaves after the initial seed leaves. Stocky stems and at least 5 inches in height signals time to transition them slowly to outdoor growing conditions. Wait until after your last average spring frost date has passed before transplanting.

I hope these tips help you get your February veggie garden off to its best start possible! Let me know any other questions you might have in the comments.

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