Kat Jenkins
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February Garden Club

February Garden Club

Feb 17, 2023

Hello gardeners!

Welcome to this new thing I am trying out. My new Garden Club will help you know what needs doing in your home vege garden each month.

In these posts, I'll be writing about garden pests and diseases; what to plant; and how to harvest and store what you've grown.

For February and March, the Garden Club is open to everyone! Have a read, and if you like it - join us! More info on how and what you can get is at the end of this post.

If you've got any questions, leave them as comments in the post. I'll do my best to get them answered.


If you're in a region that has has a lot of rain lately, watch out for fungal issues. In my garden, I'm seeing powdery mildew on my cucurbits, and root rots in anything with a tap root, tuber or bulb.

Root rots are the result of your plants not having enough drainage. Long-term, look at loading these parts of your garden with compost and other organic matter to encourage worms who will aerate the soil. But if you're affected now, throw out affected plants. Avoid putting them in cool composts or worm farms where the microorganisms responsible for your root rots could continue to live.

Did you know the way to tell the difference between powdery mildew and downy mildew is where they start on the leaf? Downy mildew starts on the underside, while powdery mildew starts on top. I remember it by thinking that the 'down' in downy = underneath.

Most plants will grow and produce through an infection, but if you'd like to take a crack at keeping it at bay, the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture have some easy-to-make sprays using kitchen ingredients you can try.


This year we're noticing fewer pest insects. Tropical Armyworm is an annual problem for us, but seems to be less active so far this year. A happy bonus of all this rain, perhaps?

Armyworm can be difficult to control because they live inside your crop, burrowing into your corn, tomatoes and capsicum, amongst other things. The usual defences against caterpillars (such as derris dust, neem, or 'Bactur') sit on the plant, and don't really reach armyworm. Your best defence is vigilance!

White butterfly is hanging around our place - they completely destroyed our mint earlier this month. Bactur is the commercial name for Bacillus thuringiensis, a bacteria that you can spray onto the leaves of a plant. When the caterpillar eats the bacteria, it basically makes their guts explode.

Over the last couple of years it's got harder to source home-garden sized packets, but you can still buy it by the kilogram. It'll store for years in a sealed container in a dark cool place, or you can split a pack with some gardening buddies.

Probably the worst in my garden this year are the Green Vegetable Bugs. I've found them in our native trees, in the garden, in the grass... honestly, these bugs are the reason I've given up on beans and tomatoes. The best cure for these suckers is prevention: bug net is pretty much the the only thing that will keep your crops safe.

What to plant

Everyone should be getting leeks in the ground this month! If you haven't grown your own seedlings, pick up a punnet and get them in as early as possible. I have a leek planting guide available here.

It's also a good time to get brassicas in. You can sow seeds or plant seedlings. Broccoli, cabbages, cauliflowers, brussels sprouts, kale, and Chinese cabbages like pak choi prefer the cooler weather of autumn and spring, but getting them in or going now gives them a great boost while it's still quite warm. Make sure you cover them with bug net to keep the white butterfly off while they're still active.

It's a good time to plant lettuce as (theoretically at least), it should be cooling off and they'll be less likely to run to seed. The self-sown lettuces in our garden begun popping up a couple of weeks ago.

And why not throw in some radishes? They're so easy from seed and grow really quickly. If you happen to have some hard, compacted soils, large varieties like daikon are both tasty, and great for breaking them up.

Northern and central districts can also get away with some final direct sowings of runner beans, beetroot, and carrot seed. Here's my guide for direct sowing.


You might be seeing your potatoes dying back. It doesn't mean they're dead! If you planted a 'main crop' variety, you can store them by drying them off in a dark dry place. You can check out my potato storage guide here.

With the lack of sunshine seen by much of the country this season, you may find your tomatoes just aren't ripening. You can try taking a whole 'truss' and putting them in a fruit bowl with a couple of bananas. The ethylene gas produced by the bananas will help trigger ripening in your tomatoes.

Join the club!

If you liked this guide and would like to see it every month, join my Garden Club! Membership starts at just $3 per month, which gets you 12 handy emails like this each year. The first two are free, but the rest will be behind a paywall.

For $10, you'll get a monthly 'deep dive' on a topic you vote for. Whether it's hot composting or growing carrots, once a month I'll go down the rabbit hole and find out everything I can to help you have the most productive garden.

At $25 per month, I'm going to start sending you actual physical things from my garden - seeds, bulbs, plants. Every three months, you'll get a package of goodies. In March, you'll get a collection of native plant and tree seeds from our property. Then in June, Garden Club members will get exclusive access to my garlic collection for 2023. I'm thinking September might be berry plants. To keep things manageable I've limited this level to 25 people, and you need to live in New Zealand.

And finally, if you've got a part of your property you'd like to redesign and transform, the $200 per month level gets you your own private gardening coach. We'll connect through email and video call and I'll help you come up with a plan, then cheerlead you through executing it. Perfect if you'd like to DIY with a bit of experience behind you.

You can join the gardening club by signing up at my BuyMeACoffee Page. Just select the level you'd like to support me at.

Remember - if you have any questions about gardening in the month of February, leave them in the comments section of this post and I'll do my best to answer them.

Thanks for reading, and happy gardening!


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