28 reasons to feel fab in February!

We turned February into Fabruary over on the Kitchen Garden social media, with a new reason to feel fab every day. Here are all 28 to look back on whenever you need a pick-me-up.

February is a particularly difficult month for many people due to short days and cold weather and it can often bring a sense of melancholy. So we at Kitchen Garden decided maybe we should rename it Fabruary and look at reasons why it is a better month than we think… so follow us for the next 28 days and enjoy our daily February positives

Reasons it’s Fabruary 

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1 Once we get to February it isn’t long until March and spring is nearly here or in the words of Shelley “If winter comes, can spring be far behind.” It will soon be time to rip open those seed packets and be thrilled in bringing new life into the world. Fabruary is the month of anticipation for gardeners.

2 Look low down at the earth and see hope and beauty popping through the soil all around you. Bulbs are emerging and snowdrops are in bloom. Look out for gardens open this month where you can see carpets of this pure white flower which dazzles in the darkest of February days. The snowdrop brings us all a little cheer making it Fabruary indeed

3 When things are dark and dull and your mood is low watch the birds flocking to your bird feeder. They sing with joy on all days. They live in the moment and in that moment all is well. It’s simply fabulous, feathered friend Fabruary

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4 This month buy seed potatoes and chit them. That is put them in a tray of some sort and place them somewhere light and frost-free. If you don’t have a garden but have a porch, a balcony or just a tiny space outside your front door you can grow potatoes. You can buy a 10 litre bag of cheap compost and plant a seed potato or two in that. Come June lift the potatoes, boil and drizzle with butter. Just thinking about that first taste of summer sends your taste buds into raptures. Bet your mouth is watering already. Get excited about spuds now. Smile its spud prep Fabruary

5 If we get snow it can be difficult to navigate the world but it can also quieten things down. That time when newly fallen snow just makes us all stop. Have you ever walked outside and enjoyed making the first footprints in the snow? Have you observed how quiet and still it is. Those moments are simply magical. In your immediate world everything stops. Wildlife hunkers down.  Humans stop rushing around because they don’t have a choice. Enforced stillness and calm. Nature telling us to stop and accept what is. A truly Fabruary moment

6 When our gardens are covered by snow they take on a stunning beauty. Even areas that are messy and another ‘job to do’ are suddenly hidden beneath a beautiful white blanket. It’s as if the message is ignore this for a while it is just fine. There is nothing to do here. It is rest up Fabruary – a month when a pause may be offered and we should take it.

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7 We may moan about the cold weather but our fruit trees are sighing with relief. Many need the cold and it is a process called vernalization. Without it we will not get wonderful fruit buds forming and bountiful juicy harvests. Without Fabruary we would not have fruitfulness in our lives.

8 February is a good excuse to slow down. It is a hard, cold month to keep striving in. Unfortunately, we humans have developed technology that enables us to be productive and efficient 365 days of the year but we are ignoring our fundamental nature. As animals our instinct in winter is often to semi hibernate and slow down. Sadly we can’t go against social norms and our duties remain the same whatever the season but we can make choices to slow down. It is a quiet time in the garden and a good time to appreciate that reduced workload and not fill our time with something else but rest up and be ready for the busy springtime gardening schedule. Fabruary is a great time to say no to things you really don’t have to do.

9 Everyday go outside during daylight hours. Some office workers see very little natural daylight in the winter when they go to work in the dark and come home in the dark.

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Make the effort to go into your garden, go for a short walk in nature even if only for 10 minutes. Just stand on your doorstep and look to the sky. Even on the dullest days when you open your eyes wide  you will notice more light pouring into your eyes. This will improve your mood. On sunny days show your face and arms to the sunlight. Get that vitamin D when you can. Days are lengthening this month making it Fabruary.

10 The cold weather is good for our herbaceous plants. The ones that die back in the winter. Think of herbs such as oregano, lemon balm and mint that die back for the winter and regrow in the spring. Beneath the soil the cold weather triggers starches to turn to soluble sugars to enable the plant to have the energy to surge into growth come spring. The wonder of winter. Fabruary indeed.

11 Frost and cold weather can make life seem such hard work. It can make you want to hunker down inside and not go out but if you are able why not take just a few moments to go and observe your garden sprinkled with frost. The spiders webs twinkling in the morning sunlight, the curly kale dressed in exquisite sparkles. The seed heads on the perennials you forgot to cut down now thankfully you didn’t as they look like they are adorned with a tiara of diamonds. The beauty of frost and the work which it does to keep nature in balance is to be rejoiced and to love. Just simply Fabruary at its best that’s all.

12 We can help the planet by saving our own seed and by leaving some carrots and parsnips in the ground over winter we let them be treated to a wonderful cold Fabruary. This cold will trigger flowering and the following growing season you will be rewarded with beautiful umbels of flowers that also feed bees and other pollinators so important to our gardens. The subsequent seeds can then be harvested and sown and the cycle of life continues thanks to our cold Fabruary.

13 Bulbs are the most amazing plants and offer us some amazing spectacular flowers to enjoy in our gardens. Some bulb species need the summer to form bulbs yet the autumn to produce roots and then the cold winter to stimulate a long growing stem. Another reason for Fabruary – the coldest month

14 Valentine’s Day is not just about giving cards and gifts to loved ones. Valentine’s day can be a reminder that we love not just people close to us but all living things and more importantly ourselves. Today also love yourself and if you have a hard time doing that most of the time just for one day appreciate yourself. Today go into a green space, your garden, a park and spend some time observing nature and for a brief moment be as one with it. Breathe and let everything go just for a minute or two. If you are on the veg patch observe the fact it is dormant and resting and love that. If you have a crop of leeks or other winter veg just love the fact you have that. You made that happen. You grew and nurtured and loved those crops and they are there now providing you with healthy food. Just fabulous February and much to love about it

15 In the darkest moments dream. Your mind can be your biggest enemy but it can also be your greatest friend. Dream of summer, dream of sunny days. Dream of a veg plot overflowing with produce so healthy and gorgeous. Dream of the warmth of the sun on the back of your neck as you hoe the rows. Hear the click and the clack as the hoe strikes a stone or two. Hear the birds singing in the trees around you. Dream of pulling that first carrot and the delight of seeing that long orange root emerging from the ground. Perfect. Dream of the smell of the greenhouse on a warm day in July. That warm earthy, tomato smell and you smile as you see the little tomatoes swelling each day and turning colour. Simply dream and in a moment in February it becomes Fabruary.

16 Some seeds need a cold period or stratification, before they will germinate. It is often wild native plants that need this such as many tree seeds or wildflower seeds. Some examples include many tree species including apple seeds, sloes, plum and also wild rose. Without the cold we would not have had generations of these plants growing in our wild. Fabruary’s cold is so beneficial.

17 Why not dig out some old seed packets of lettuce, rocket, carrot, or anything with an edible leaf and sow a little tray of these on your windowsill. You can use an old mushroom container or any fruit and veg container and fill with a bit of compost. Water and then harvest just the young shoots by picking individual leaves or cut with scissors. These miniature crops are packed with vitamins and are so good for you. Sprinkle them in a sandwich, on top of soups or just on your main meal of the day and give yourself a nutritious boost. A great treat and something so lovely to do in Fabruary

18 If we did not have the contrast of dark, cold days we would not appreciate the sunny ones. You may tire of dull weather but when the sun does finally come out don’t you appreciate it all the more. Without darkness we cannot see the light. “What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness” (John Steinbeck). Fabruary shows us this

19 There are still delights to enjoy in the winter garden. See the new shoots of bulbs emerging, the yellow aconites with their sunny flowers. Enjoy the frost covered grasses, the red or orange stems of cornus, the varying leaves of evergreens. Some thin and strappy, some broad leaves, some bright green. Some have white markings, some pink. These are plants that shine now. Don’t let them display their beauty for no reason. Appreciate them now in Fabruary

20 Appreciate the views. Have you stopped to notice what you can see through the bare branches of the trees and shrubs. You see more in winter when the trees are leafless. Appreciate seeing so much more in Fabruary.

21 Although it is a bit early to start sowing most vegetables you can make a start with some if you have a greenhouse or polytunnel. Tomatoes, aubergines, peppers can be sown in small pots and placed on a warm windowsill and started off this way before placing the young plants in the greenhouse or polytunnel to grow on. It is more of a risk to start now rather than wait until March but if you have a way of keeping the greenhouse slightly warm then give it a go. Sow much fun in Fabruary!

22 There are many plants that produce flowers with the most beautiful scent in winter and worth looking out for to plant in your garden. Try Chimonanthus praecox, Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’ , sarcococca, winter honeysuckle, daphne and Chinese witch hazel. Plant these and enjoy their sweet scent on a cold winter’s day. A joy to experience in the Fabruary garden.

23 Time to plan. It is a month to do less but also a month to put your feet up and get comfortable and plan too. Have fun with pen and paper planning your veg plot. Where are you planting those spuds? What new varieties can you find in the seed catalogues. What delightful new qualities do they possess? There is something so exciting about flicking through the catalogues like a kid in a sweet shop you just want them all but just a few will do. Fabruary is a great time to be excited about planning your plot.

24 Haven’t started growing veg yet but want to? Now is the perfect time to think about it and come slightly better weather to do it. Look at where you could grow? Can you get a local allotment? Can you fit even just a couple of pots outside your front or back door? Can you turn a lawn into a glorious productive space. Why not give it a go. Think about it, plan it a bit and then just do it. Later this month start to prepare the way and buy a few seeds and off you go. It is so exciting in Fabruary for wannabe gardeners

25 Go for a walk and look closely at the buds forming on the dormant trees and shrubs. Notice the buds are starting to swell. They may be changing colour. They may even show signs of bursting open. Every second they are gradually moving towards bursting forth in spring. Finally we are turning a corner and soon the cold weather will be behind us. Nearly there in Fabruary

26 Enjoy a bunch of daffodils in your home this month bringing a taste of spring. The daffodil season starts in the UK as early as November with heated production of the flowers but then as early as December outdoors in the south of the country –  the Isles of the Scilly in particular being the first to harvest. Gradually the season moves on up the country with daffodils from Scotland in April/May. Make it Fabruary with lots of daffs

27 On very mild February days you might spot the emergence of a small tortoiseshell, peacock or brimstone butterflies looking for early flowers and queen bees may venture out. Life is starting to awaken in anticipation of spring. Towards the end of Fabruary life is stirring

28 So if you are still not convinced it is Fabruary then at least you can rejoice today is the last day of the month …and that it isn’t a leap year. Hurrah for Fabruary

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About the Author

Alex Bestwick
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