Gardening Tasks for February
Tasks for the hottest month in the garden!
Both January and February are challenging months in the home garden- hot, dry conditions are often the norm and present problems for most gardeners. On a positive note, there are plenty of vegetables to harvest and stone fruit to be picked!
As most problems with houseplants are caused by over watering or under watering, it is vital to monitor the amount and regularity of water provided. Misting the foliage, even a few times a day, in February, helps promote healthy plant growth. Check older houseplants to ensure they are not becoming "rootbound". If there are signs this is happening, plan to repot in March when plant growth slows.
This is the month when quite a few vegetable gardens are ‘abandoned’ and not revisited until late March/April in preparation for the planting of a winter vegetable garden. However, with some care and attention the vegetable garden should be prolific throughout February producing quantities of eggplants, beans (cumbers and dwarf), beetroot, courgettes, cucumbers, lettuce, sweetcorn, peppers, radishes, tomatoes, and pumpkins. Continue ‘topping up’ existing soil with fresh Daltons Garden Time Compost.
Continue to remove finished flowers (deadhead). Note which flowering annuals are most successful during the very hot, dry months as this is useful information for the next early summer plantings. Probably the most reliable summer annuals are alyssum, calendulas, nemesias, lobelia, pansies, petunias, salvias, portulacas, and zinnias. Marigolds, which are possibly the hardiest summer flowering annual are available in a wide range of colours and sizes.
Towards the end of February, garden centres begin to stock a full range of bulbs including anemones, crocus, daffodils, freesias, hyacinth, iris, lachenalias, nerines, ranunculus, tulips and watsonias. As most bulbs will be a permanent feature in your garden, consider carefully where to position them. Prepare planting site thoroughly with Daltons Premium Bulb Mix, as many of the bulbs will not be disturbed for several years. Dig over planting sites and add Daltons Garden Time Compost prior to planting to ensure the areas are well-drained.
It’s harvest time for the last of the peaches and plums, and for the first apples and pears. At the same time prune any excess growth as it may be blocking the sun for reaching ripening fruit and/or reducing air movement through the fruiting trees. Water deeply and mulch trees planted last winter to encourage vigorous growth over the last months of summer.
The last of the difficult months for rose growers. March brings on late summer flushes of blooms and humidity slowly reduces. February care involves regular deadheading, the removal of any dead wood from plants and fallen leaves and petals from the ground (garden hygiene). This helps to minimise the occurrence of black spot and rust. Observe which varieties do best in your garden and in local gardens, this will help when selecting additional roses for your rose garden.
It’s not an easy month for roses. Humidity means that black spot and rust become significant problems. Spray every two weeks to treat any disease or pests. Continue to deadhead and a light summer prune of unwanted growth can be beneficial and encourage late summer flowering.
February is essentially a holding exercise when it comes to lawns. Invariably the driest month of the year unless you can irrigate regularly, lawns will suffer. However, in the months ahead the grass will recover. Do not apply lawn fertiliser until the temperatures drop and rainfall returns.
Now is the time to harvest and dry herbs where you desire to have your own home-grown herbs. Once dry, ensure they are stored in a container that is free of moisture. Remove flowers from basil, thyme, and chives as they impact on the flavour of the herbs.
Newly planted trees and shrubs
For new specimens that were planted last winter, mulch over the dry summer months to help with water retention. Water regularly and deeply to encourage a strong root system.