Gardening in February – Things to do

Garden shear on a log
Garden shear on a log

In February, slowly but surely, the first gardening tasks fall into place. To ensure that the new garden season is a complete success, you should start laying the foundations for it now.. You can already prepare the soil and beds, clean out dead parts of early bloomers and perennials, and sow the first plants. To find out what other gardening tasks are on the to-do list for the ornamental garden, read the following gardening tips.

Use, the now still quiet time to buy seeds for the new season. If you act early, you can start sowing in time. The first plants will be pre-cultivated already at the end of this month and at the latest in March it will really start.

General gardening in February

Plan the garden

If you have not yet drawn up plans or sketches, you can still use the time in February. Pick out appropriate plants and seeds for the coming gardening season. Where there is extra sun, you can also plant winter-blooming woody plants and some hardy perennials now.

Transplant and replant plants

If the soil is no longer too moist, you can plant evergreens and leaf-losing plants in the garden in February. Be careful not to let the root balls dry out during light frosts. Hardy plants and shrubs that lose leaves can be transplanted now. You can improve your sandy and clay soil by spreading mulch over the surface.

Care for the lawn

Actually, you can still take your time with lawn care. However, in areas of the lawn where puddles form, you will need to provide drainage for the water. To do this, prick the ground with a fork so that the water can then drain away. Friends of natural gardens, should not remove moss. First of all it´s the natural way, and second of all moss cleans the air.

Cover compost

Cover your finished compost with a tight plastic tarp or a bigger fleece to prevent moisture from getting to it. Too much moisture will interfere with the rotting process and cause rotting. Make sure that the water can rinse of.

Maintain garden tools

If you haven’t already repaired and maintained your tools before the winter break, now is the time to do it, because the new gardening season hasn’t really started yet. Clean the tool and then rub the iron parts with linseed oil.

Cleaning the greenhouse

Before the greenhouse is stocked, it must be thoroughly cleaned. Then again more light gets through the panes and overwintered germs are removed.

First vegetables can be pre-cultivated in Winter
First vegetables can be pre-cultivated in Winter

The fruit and vegetable garden in February

The first outdoor sowings and plantings in the vegetable garden can already be done. Therefore, the first plants are sown as early as February, so that they can be planted in the garden on time. So early are sown especially plants that need a long time to germinate and grow.

Prepare vegetable beds

If you have not already taken action in the fall, you can dig up the garden in February and fill it with manure and humus. If the weather is dry and frost-free, you can already prepare the first beds for sowing with a hoe and rake. It is also a good idea to remove the first weed roots during this process, they are still manageable now.

Plant berry fruit

Berry bushes are good to plant now. You can plant gooseberries and currants in the garden bare-root, without a root ball, in February. To ensure that the shrubs grow robustly, you should shorten the root tips somewhat and cut back above-ground shoots by about half. Fruit trees may be pruned carefully in frost-free weather.

Pre-cultivate rhubarb

Rhubarb makes its presence felt as early as February with red leaf shoots. If you can’t wait, now is the most favorable time to pre-plant. It will then be ready for harvesting after about four weeks. To do this, cover the plants with a perforated black film or a fleece at a sufficient distance from the plant or put a bucket over it. When it reaches the film, the rhubarb can be harvested. However, repeat this procedure only every two years, otherwise the plant will not be able to regenerate sufficiently.

Grow early vegetables

Cauliflower and pointed cabbage, savoy cabbage and lettuce can be sown on the windowsill or in the greenhouse as early as February. Tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers can also be grown in a heated greenhouse. However, make sure that the sowing is not too much exposed to the blazing sun. Initial outdoor sowings are also possible, including peas, cress, carrots and radishes, for example. Clear away all twigs and leaves that have previously served as frost protection.

Pre-sprouting early potatoes

At the end of February you can pre-sprout early potatoes. The potatoes should be loosely spread out in shallow boxes and then placed at 12 to 15 °C / 54 to 59 °F as brightly as possible.

Pre-cultivation of vegetables in February

  • In February already begins the process of growing eggplant in advance. Be sure to provide sufficient heat.
  • The first herbs, such as oregano, mugwort and lemon balm, can also be grown on the windowsill as early as February.
  • Directly into the open field you can already sow early varieties of carrots, from the end of the month.
  • In temperate locations, broad beans can be planted directly in the bed.
  • If you want to sow onions yourself, you can do it already from February. The onions should be sown either under glass or on the windowsill and grown in advance.
  • From mid/late February: preplant kohlrabi, peppers and chili.
  • Romaine lettuce can also be preplanted under glass as early as the end of February, and then planted outdoors in the garden in April.
  • Spring cabbage can already be pre-sown under glass or on the windowsill.
  • Soon there will be fresh and tasty herbs again, from the garden or from the balcony and terrace. So that you can enjoy herbs early, the first herbs should be sown slowly but surely, on the windowsill or in the greenhouse.
  • Garden cress is also ideal for the windowsill and brings fresh flavor to the kitchen even in winter.
  • If not already set in October, you should plant garlic now.
  • Owners of a cold frame can already seed lettuce and pick lettuce in it.
  • If you still want to harvest fresh artichokes this year, you should pre-sow them on the windowsill as early as February.
  • Under protective garden fleece from February can already seed some varieties of radishes.

Gardening on balcony & terrace in February

When the days get longer, potted plants and balcony plants also start to sprout and can hardly wait to get out into the fresh air again.

Pruning shoots

Gardening in February includes checking plants that are housed in winter quarters for long and thin shoots. Cut the shoots completely, otherwise the plants will lose their shape. Continue to ventilate when the weather is not too cold and water container plants regularly, but sparingly. For many potted plants, February is a good time to repot.

Care for geraniums

Geraniums that have been overwintered now want to be cared for. Towards the end of the month, you should repot old plants in fresh soil. To help the plants grow into a compact shape, trim the shoots back to two to three leaf nodes. Place the summer flower at a bright window, then it will sprout faster. February is also the right month for propagation, respectively, to take cuttings.

Gardening: Caring for shrub and trees in winter
Gardening: Caring for shrub and trees in winter

Gardening in February: Trees and shrubs.

It may be some time before spring really arrives. Therefore, in February, focus on tree work in the garden. Now is the best time to do it.

Care for ornamental shrubs and trees

Regular watering is one of the indispensable gardening tasks, even in February. On frost-free days, with dry weather, water boxwood, rhododendron and conifers. Coat tree trunks with lime broth, so that the bark of the tree does not crack. Trees are often affected by this during large temperature fluctuations. Fleece protects sensitive evergreen plants from too much sunlight.

Pruning woody plants

Prune your fruit trees in winter to encourage leaf and branch growth. However, only prune fruit trees when frost-free days persist. You can also heavily thin out hedges, overly dense ornamental shrubs and shrub roses during this weather. Ornamental woody species, however, which already bloom in spring, are excluded from pruning. Dead leaf remains must also be removed now in any case.

Remove fruit mummies

To prevent reinfection with fungal diseases of the previous year, remove – if not already done – all still attached fruit mummies and all fallen fruit.

Pruning fruit trees

Pruning can be done at temperatures above minus 5 ° C / 23 °F. Care should be taken that all diseased and dead shoots are also cut back to the healthy wood.

Proper pruning of fruit trees is the most important measure for keeping them healthy and for a good yield.

A common mistake is heavy pruning of young trees that showed undesirable strong shoot growth the previous year and did not bear fruit. However, this is usually due to too much pruning the previous year. Each additional pruning, however, in turn stimulates shoot growth and thus also further postpones the start of yield or reduces the yield. Such trees should instead be pruned sparingly. Only competing shoots and inward growing shoots are taken out. Otherwise, the tree should be left to rest. To reduce shoot growth and stimulate flowering, long shoots can be tied horizontally.

Use of wound closure agents?

Do not use wound closure agents, whether tree tar or other agents, with or without fungicide. Whether the tree remains healthy does not depend on the agent, but on the pruning (what and how) and the pruning time (physiological phase of the tree). And on a few other “little things”.

In many books and courses on how to prune fruit trees, the closure of cuts is still strongly recommended. Since the 1980s, however, there has been a change in thinking due to research by an American forest scientist (Alex Shigo). In short, wound closure products do more harm than good. The problems after pruning are usually due to the wrong pruning or the wrong pruning time.

Transplanting shrubs and bushes

Before shrubs sprout again in March/April, you can still move them to another place in the garden in February. However, make sure the weather remains frost-free here as well. Dig up the plant generously and shorten the roots a bit. Place the plant in the new planting hole, fill it with excavated soil, plant debris and compost and tamp it down. After transplanting, you must always keep the plant moist so that the roots do not dry out.

Pest control

Pests that are still active in February are pretty tough. Make sure that the plants that have survived the winter well so far, have a good start to the new gardening season.

Check and remove glue bands

Those who applied glue bands to the trunks of fruit trees in the fall should now check them regularly. Apply new glue or change the glue rings if the glue has become brittle. Check the trunk for pests below and above the glue band as well, and brush them off carefully with a wire brush.

Ward off coral spot disease

Especially after prolonged drought or frost damage, this fungal disease becomes noticeable on deciduous trees. Especially dead wood of maple, chestnut, ash and lime trees are affected, later also the healthy wood becomes diseased. You can recognize the pest by wilting of the foliage and discoloration of the wood. In autumn spherical red and in spring cylindrical cream-colored fruiting bodies are noticeable. It is best to cut back the infested parts down to the healthy wood.

Prevent leaf curl disease

If you have a peach tree, you can treat it with tonics as early as February. The peach leaf curl disease infects the trees even before the first leaf shoots. In particularly mild weather, you effectively prevent the fungal disease with early and repeated care.

You can prevent this by:

  • choosing a sunny spot
  • pruning the tree crown regularly
  • fertilizing
  • plant other plants under the tree, such as nasturtium, horseradish or garlic
  • using a biological tonic
  • removing leaves and shoot tips
Snowdrops in winter
Snowdrops in winter

The flower and perennial garden in February

In February, individual spring flowers can already be seen in the garden, enlivening the landscape and setting colorful accents.

Planting bulbs and fertilize them

Bulbs of lilies, which bloom magnificently in the summer, must be planted in the garden in February. The hole in the ground should be deep enough, the bulbs should be about 15 to 20 centimeters (6 to 8 in) below the ground so that they can flourish. Winter frost can not harm the bulbs, but their flaky surface tends to dry out in the air. That’s why you should plant them in January and February.

Even now in February, you can still plant spring-flowering bulbs in the garden. However, they will then bloom later. To ensure that you can still enjoy the plants in a few years, you will need to fertilize them. As soon as the first leaves appear, you can spread compost around the plants and lightly work it in with a rake, then cover the shoot tips with brushwood. Loosen the soil and spread a little compost before planting. Fertilize the beds and shrubs also with dried horse manure.

Sowing summer flowers

You can sow summer flowers such as busy lilies, petunias and geraniums in trays at the end of February. For the seedlings to grow healthy and robust, they need enough light. It is best to place the seedlings by the window in bright light, or you can help with artificial light for at least four hours a day. You can now tie climbing plants back up.

Check perennials

If you have planted perennials in the garden in autumn, you should check the position of the young plants in February. If they sit too loosely in the ground, you need to press them down with your hands. Otherwise, you should replant them again, then water thoroughly.

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