What to Pick
For Bermudians, February means just one thing: loquats (eriobotrya japonica), loquats and more loquats. This is the month children disappear into the loquat trees eager for these yellow to orange rounded fruits whose taste ranging from sweet to tart differs from tree to tree. Though loquats originated in China, Bermuda has made them their own. Children love to eat them fresh from the branch but they have also become an important part of Bermudian cuisine. Think chutney, jam and loquat liqueur.
February also marks the beginning of spring when nasturtiums (tropaeolum) also start to bloom in all their red, yellow and orange finery. Native to Central America, they were in Bermuda from the late 16th century. Another name, Indian cress, gives the clue both flowers and leaves are excellent in a salad or indeed a sandwich. You can even pickle the seeds, best picked before they get large and hard in ordinary vinegar with a few cloves, and a pinch of salt of salt added.
Talking of salad, local cucumbers and zucchini (finely chopped, zucchini is excellent in a salad) are for the picking in February.
What to Plant
Winter and early spring are great months for planting annuals. Nemesia (escential) seedlings are available in some nurseries and are perfect in our cooler months. Excellent as ground cover, the bright, snapdragon-like flowers of nemesia also look terrific tumbling out of a black or brown plant pot. Plant seedlings in well-drained, moist soil 4 – 6 inches apart.
Pentas (pentas lanceolata)
With flowers ranging from white to pink to purple to red, this plant is a major attraction for butterflies. It’s also easy to grow and maintain with its flowers blooming most of the year. It’s also easy to propagate from cuttings. Cut back when the stems become leggy. Fertilise once a month.
Cauliflower ‘Snow Crown’(Brassica oleracea) Cooked with spices or au gratin, cauliflower is a culinary delight. Plant in fertilised soil in full sun about 18-24 inches apart. Keep well-watered and fertilise every 2-4 weeks. The cauliflowers should mature in 50-55 days. Food for thought: when you eat cauliflower, you’re actually eating immature flowers.