It’s Soon Time to
Get Gardening Again
“The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size.”
February Garden Chores and Tips
It’s hard to believe that it’s been five weeks since we closed for the winter season and harder still to realize that in six weeks things will be going full tilt at the garden center and farmer’s market. So much to do with so many great ideas to make this year even better than last year.
February feels like a turning point in the garden. Sure it is still cold outside, but there are signs heralding spring’s imminent arrival all through the garden beds. The garden seems to slowly start coming to life again, after a few months of dormancy. At first glance you sometimes see no change, but upon looking closer, ahh there it is. A tiny stem with an unfolding leaf basking in the late winter’s sunlight.
Towards the end of February, temperatures slowly rise, light levels increase and the dawn chorus increases in volume. Buds on the early spring blossom begin to open and the flowering bulbs begin to push through the soil. Spring is definitely around the corner!
This month’s garden jobs are mostly about getting things ready for the spring. But there are also some early sowing and growing tasks to accomplish:
- This is an excellent time of the year to peruse a good gardening book while planning this years crops and flower beds.
- Organize this year’s seeds by sowing date. Get hold of a box with dividers and file your seed packets by the month they need to be sown in.
- Prune summer-flowering clematis towards the end of the month, before active growth begins.
- Cut back the old foliage from ornamental grasses before growth begins. You can go ahead and cut them to within a few inches of the ground. They’ll be fine and thank you for it.
In the vegetable garden:
- Start chitting early potatoes- stand them on end in a module tray or egg box and place them in a bright, cool, frost-free place.
- On the warmer days towards the end of the month you can build raised beds before the growing season gets underway. Raised beds allow you to make an early start in the garden; the soil warms up faster and raised beds drain quickly too, so they’re a great way to deal with clay soils.
- Prepare vegetable seed beds by removing all weeds and forking in plenty of compost. Cover prepared soil with sheets of black plastic to keep it drier and warmer in preparation for spring planting.
- Wash empty pots by scrubbing them with hot water and a mild detergent. Rinse them well afterwards.
- Keep feeding the birds. The weather is still cold this month so hang fat balls and keep bird feeders topped up.
- Find out what type of soil you have. Invest in a soil testing kit to help you choose the right plants for your garden.