Gardening Jobs for February
Written by Matt W (Greenhousestores) on 25th Feb 2021.
The month of February is a major turning point in your gardening activities. February is still cold but the good news is that spring is starting to show its early signs.
Wherever you look, you'll notice bulbs reluctantly emerging from the ground and of course, the days are finally getting longer. Mother Nature will also shower you with the blessings of a few blossoms here and there.
February may still be a bit cold and miserable outdoors but the occasional doses of sunshine should put you back into your gardening mode so you can get some work done. Gardening jobs for February will mainly be about preparing for the spring but you will still need to do a few early sowing and maintenance tasks to get a head start.
As long as the ground is not completely frozen one of the main jobs for February is to cultivate your garden and prepare seed beds. You also need to warm up the seeds before you sow and preferably cover them with cloches, fleece, or clear polythene.
In this gardening jobs for February 2021 guide, we look at some of the key tasks you need to do in different parts of your garden for different types of plants as you prepare for spring.
Quick Summary of February Gardening Tasks
February is a month to properly prepare for springtime. If you want to see the best growing season ahead here are some of the key tasks to accomplish in February:
- Use the month of February to cultivate and prepare your seed beds. If the ground is not frozen this is the best time to cultivate the seed beds and warm up the soil using polythene, fleece, or cloches to prepare the ground for sowing in the following months.
- February is also a good time to organize the seeds you plan to sow by date or month. You can easily do this using a box divided into several sections in which you can file your seed packets and label the month or date they need to be sold. This organization and early preparation will pay off in the few weeks to come.
- February is also a time to open your tool shed to make sure that you are tools and gardening equipment are still working fine. Check your tools and garden machinery for any signs of wear or malfunction all the necessary repairs way in advance.
- There will of course be the usual perennial weeds sprouting in your seed beds and kitchen garden. This is the time to uproot them all before the weather warms up and the weeds get a stronger hold on your garden.
Let’s now look at some of the main jobs you have to do in different sections of your garden.
The Flower Garden
There are plenty of tasks you need to do in your flower garden in the month of February after the long winter neglect. Your flower garden at this time is craving some tender loving care.
Here are some of the main jobs waiting to be done in your flower garden in February:
- Sowing is a major task at this time. You can do your sowing in a propagator located inside a heated greenhouse. If a heated greenhouse is not an available option you can do the sowing on a window sill at an indoor temperature of around 21 degrees Celsius or 70 degrees Fahrenheit for most summer bedding plants including petunia, busy lizzie, geranium, and Nicotiana flowers. Avoid sowing too thickly or over-watering because it may make the seedlings damp off and die.
- February is also a good time to get a few cuttings from chrysanthemums that had previously been over-wintered.
- If you have amaryllis, they should now be in full bloom or will soon be so make sure to water them at least once or twice every week. You can easily do this by placing the flower pot in a large source of water and let the plants taking as much water as they need without having their roots in water for a long time. Remember to remove the pot from the water saucer after around half an hour to avoid over-soaking the roots. Amaryllis can be kept on a window sill because they love warm and light conditions. You can also give them a liquid feed with the necessary nutrients at least once every week.
- Depending on the temperature, you should also deadhead plants such as pansies and primulas as well as other spring bedding plants. Removing the faded flowers at this time will also help to prevent the seeds from the setting which affects flower performance.
- February is a good time to move shrubs and flowers that have grown too large for the space they are located in to a better position. You can also prune back summer flowering clematis which grow rapidly during spring.
- You will also notice that bulbs that flower early such as Dutch Iris and alliums planted during last fall are also growing on their own in February. This will provide early seedlings for spring planting.
- For tender plants like fuchsias make sure to maintain a minimum temperature of 40 degrees F and check them at least once every week to remove dead leaves or flowers, which will help to reduce the risk of fungal disease. Trim shoots that have started to rot so that they can grow back healthier. Ensure that there is good circulation in the soil for the plants by keeping the compost dry preferably using a fan heater.
- As you head into the end of February you can start growing begonia tubers in compost trays. Tubers that had previously grown with the dead foliage should be cleaned and potted again in fresh compost. Remember to keep them watered frequently. You can also plant new tubers of gloxinias and begonias.
- Since February is primarily a sowing season keep on planting more lilies in pots and if you haven't already done it you can order lily bulbs from your local gardening store.
The Vegetable Garden
There are not so many jobs you can do in your vegetable garden in February but here are a few key things to address at this time:
- It is time to chitt potato varieties that grow early. Chitting basically means laying out the potatoes in trays and leaving them to form short sprouts in a frost-free well-lit place. Prepare potatoes for planting in mid or end of March as this has been proven to be the best time to increase the yield of your harvest.
- You also can start sowing seeds of cabbage, parsley, celery, tomato, onion, leek, and sweet and cayenne pepper in a greenhouse or under well covered and warm propagator.
- You can plant early varieties of carrot-like Amsterdam Forcing, broad bean, and parsnip outdoors in a cold frame or under cloches. In mid-February, you can also plant shallots.
- Do not forget to order asparagus crowns at this time because delivery may take as long as late March or early April. Meanwhile, prepare the site where you want them to grow by ensuring the ground is well dug and free from weeds.
The Fruit Garden
One of the key jobs at this time is to protect and prune your fruit plants while ensuring that your peach blossoms are well protected from February frost.
Tasks to do in your fruit garden in February include the following:
- Take time to prune raspberry canes as this is your last chance to cut the fall fruiting raspberry canes to the ground and stimulate the growth of new canes. You can do this by cutting the tips of summer fruiting canes that have grown over the top of the supports. You only need to make a cut on top of the bud.
- To maintain a more productive framework, prune all your blackcurrant bushes as well as gooseberries and redcurrants.
- Remember to mulch your fruit trees using garden compost or well-rotted manure while ensuring that you don't mind the mulch around the fruit tree trunk.
- You can also prune pear and apple trees while they are still dormant. You may not have another chance to do it.
- Avoid pruning cherry, plum, and apricot trees before summer because you could easily make them prone to silver leaf disease.
- Continue protecting peaches, apricots, and nectarines blossoms from frost but leave space for pollinating insects to reach the flowers.
- Cover strawberries growing outdoors with clutches to get an early crop.
- This is also a good time to do an inventory of stored fruit and remove any rotten or unhealthy fruit.
February is a good time to give special attention to your lawn. Some of the key tasks to do at your lawn include the following:
- Mild weather conditions that appearing in February and will be accompanied by increased growth of weeds especially on areas you had initially prepared to plant a new lawn. So, make sure to bring the ground under control and ensure that it is properly cultivated and free of weeds before the planting season starts in April.
- Take time to take care of your existing lawn by removing unsightly worm casts using a stiff broom or rake.
- This is also a good time to service your lawnmower if you have not yet done it. If you decide to do a little mowing at this time avoid areas where the grass is still covered in frost as you may easily damage the lawnmower's blades.
Tree and Shrub Maintenance
In February, most deciduous shrubs and trees will still be dormant enough to transplant. You will not be able to transplant them when the buds begin to swell. Some varieties are easy to transplant but others like rhododendrons may require more effort.
If you have tree seedlings that were not properly fed last fall this is the time to feed them preferably by punching several 2-inch holes around the drip line and feed them with the right plant food. An easier and more effective way of treating your young trees is by using a mulch of properly composted manure.
Prune your shrubs not just to improve their shape but to open up the plant at the center to allow more exposure to the sun and better air circulation. Remove all dead and broken branches before you start pruning. Remember to trim back branches that have already been damaged by winter snow.
February is also a good time to take care of your ponds and wild birds. A floating pond heater helps a lot in preventing ice from forming over the surface of your pond.
Continue feeding wild birds to attract a wide variety of birds and insects that will later reward you with better pollination.
Gardening Things to Do in the Warm Comfort of Your House
There are also a few things you can do for your garden from the armchair in the warm comfort of your home.
For instance, you can start planning your vegetable plot for the year and ensuring that you will have good crop rotation. You can also plan for the right measures to take to prevent a buildup of pests and diseases in the soil.
You can also order plug plants and seeds online after you have drawn up your garden and decided the right quantities of seeds you will need.
Remember to order flower bulbs such as gladioli and Lily of the Valley well in advance as you prepare for spring planting. Decide on the fruit trees you want to plant depending on the size and space available in your garden.
If you have limited space consider growing dwarf fruit trees or dividing vegetable plots with stepover pear and apple trees.
If you have been sitting by the fire all winter and observing your garden through the window like a king or queen wondering what to do with their subjects, February is the time to step out and get some work done when the milder weather sets in.
This is the time to motivate yourself to brave the chilly weather and take care of those garden projects you have been putting off all winter.
The list of jobs discussed above should be sufficient enough to get you started. Winter may be far from over but do not be caught off guard when the spring planting season finally arrives.