Gardening within the South in Late February


Warm winter weather is often a joke! It’s too early to grow plants outside with warm weather, but here’s what to plant before March.

COLUMBIA, SC – February is a true winter month for South Carolina. It’s our third coldest on average but holds the record for lowest temperatures and most snow. February 2021 is running colder and rainier than average, but the wintergreens planted last fall are doing well and now we are preparing for spring.

In the first half of February, temperatures are 2 degrees below average and rainfall is more than 3 inches above average. Meteorological winter ends on March 1st, and when all is said and done, temperatures will likely be almost below average overall. We have more freezing mornings on average than the 30-year historical norm, but temperatures have dropped below 25 ° F less than normal, and the Midlands missed extreme cold this winter. The lack of warmth prevented our winter plants from growing this month, but they stayed green.

We’re a month away from the typical last frost and 6 weeks from when I start planting the summer garden, but I have a head start on eggplants. They germinate indoors and go out on warm days.
🌱 mid-March
🚜 beginning of April
🍆 June # GandysGarden #SCwx #Garden #plants

– Alex Calamia (@AlexCalamiaWx) February 23, 2021

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What should you grow (and what not) in February?

We’re still a few weeks away from frost-free weather, but frost-tolerant plants will really pick up speed over the next few weeks. The snow peas that I planted last fall didn’t grow much in winter, but they do flush with new growth this month. February is a great month for sowing snow peas and other frost tolerant (and fast-ripening) plants like spinach and lettuce in the ground. It will be too late to ripen slow ripening plants like broccoli or kale from seeds, but they can be started as seedlings at this time of year.

February is too early to plant delicate plants in the ground, but they can be started indoors under the right conditions. Summer crops require warm temperatures to germinate and plenty of sunshine to get healthy. These plants prefer direct sunlight over their heads, so even a bright window may not be bright enough for healthy growth. I was lucky enough to get tomatoes and squash from seeds outside at WLTX in late March or April, but warm weather slow-ripening plants like eggplants should now be started inside or as seedlings outside in the spring. I bring seedlings outside on warm and sunny days and inside on cold days so they can get the sunlight they need to get healthy but not be numbed by the occasional frost in March.

RELATED: Are We Free Of Freezing Temperatures?

In the South Carolina Midlands, gardeners have had great success with wintergreens and even summer favorites. You can join the conversation on our WLTX Gandy’s Gardeners Facebook page. Just answer the safety questions – so we know you are not a robot!