What to Grow at Home in February and March: Growing Your Own

Updated: Feb 25, 2021

seeds to sow in february
Peppers, Aubergines and Tomato seeds sown

What to grow in February and early March

It’s that time of the year again, the days are getting longer and warmer as spring approaches. Last year we saw a boom in hobbyist gardeners when we all had lots of spare time at home during the lockdown and we expect there will be lots of home growers starting to wonder what plants to sow in February and March.

One of the gripes of new gardeners is not knowing the right time to plant their seeds, so we’re going to be publishing lots of blogs (and videos on our social channels) to help you on your home growing journey. Think of them as your very own beginners guide to growing at home!

This blog is aimed at those who want to get ahead of the game and have a long fruitful season of harvests. All of the principles mentioned below apply whether you have a garden you can plant directly into, or a balcony where you can practice container gardening. If you’re not sure where to start with growing your own, check out our previous blog explaining different growing environments and methods.

If you're wondering 'is it too cold to sow my tomatoes?' you're on the right track, but only when we're thinking outdoors! The threat of frost hasn’t passed yet but it’s the perfect time to sow certain seeds indoors. In particular we are going to focus on Tomatoes, Peppers and Aubergines, which are all Nightshade plants. These plants benefit greatly from being planted indoors early in the year as it extends their growing season.

If you follow the steps in this article you’ll have an abundance of Tomatoes, Peppers, Chillies and Aubergines all throughout the summer months. Yum!

What are Nightshade plants?

The Nightshade Family (Solanaceae) are a family of flowering plants with over 2700 different species and have great importance across the globe, they’re found on every continent apart from Antarctica!

The most recognised Nightshades are Solanum (Potatoes, Tomatoes and Aubergines) and Capsicum (Bell Peppers and Chilli Peppers). All of these types of Nightshades are annuals, which require a long growing season. That’s why they should be planted in late winter/ early spring so they can fruit during the summer and die out later in the year.

How to sow your seeds in 8 simple steps

1. Source your seeds and compost

If you’re wondering where to get your seeds, there are lots of online vendors to choose from, one of my favourites is “realseeds.co.uk”. Some larger supermarkets and stores like B&Q or Wilkos also sell a good variety of seeds.

The next thing to consider is your growing medium. Generally you want a fine, well draining compost, which doesn’t contain a high amount of nutrients/fertiliser (this could damage the seeds/seedlings). I recommend looking for a ‘seed and cutting compost’ or ‘seed sowing compost’, these are widely available online and in gardening stores.

If you live high up in a flat or apartment you may not want to carry heavy compost up to your residence. A great solution to this problem is buying coconut coir bricks. They arrive dehydrated and then you hydrate them in a bucket/large pot with some water, they will then expand around 6 times the original size! You can mix this with perlite or horticultural sand to provide increased drainage.

2. Choose your planting trays

Planting Tray for sowing seeds
Flat Planting Tray

There are two types of containers you can sow your seeds into, flat trays and cell trays. The former being the easiest to source and upcycle from what you have around the house.

Old strawberry or raspberry trays are perfect for planting seeds into, the same applies with old egg cartons and tupperware (make sure you add some drainage holes to these containers).

3. Fill your trays and moisten well

When you have chosen your planting trays, fill your trays with compost and firm down gently, creating a flat planting surface. Moisten your compost well before sowing your seeds.

4. Sow your seeds

All of the seeds we are planting (Tomatoes, Aubergines, Peppers) are very small and do not need to be planted deep into the compost. If you have cell trays you can plant one seed into each cell of the tray.

If using a flat tray container, you can scatter the trays evenly over the whole surface of the tray.

5. Cover the seeds with a fine layer of compost

Prepare a small amount of finely sifted compost, if your compost is clumpy you can just crumble it in your hands until it has a fine consistency.

Scatter a very thin layer of this compost so it covers the seeds. Gently firm the compost down and lightly moisten the trays again.

seed tray sown with seeds