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What could you do in your garden in February? With spring around the corner and the coldest days of winter a thing of the past, there’s plenty for an eager gardener to do. Here are some ideas for outdoor and indoor gardening chores for February. When the busy days of spring and summer come along, you’ll be glad you took care of these tasks in advance.
February is a good time for pruning many plants. Cut perennials back as close to the ground as possible. Remove dead branches from freestanding fruit trees. Prune summer clematis, autumn raspberries, red-stemmed dogwood, and hardy evergreen hedges. If your winter flowering shrubs have finished blooming, prune them also.
You’ll still have cold days in February, so there’s still time to browse through garden catalogues and plan your garden. Try annuals, perennials, and vegetables that you’ve never grown before. Consider making a theme garden or choosing a new colour scheme. Draw your garden plans on paper, and include new beds if you have room. Add an arbour, trellis, or other garden structure. Think about containers and sculpture that will make your garden even more interesting.
If you didn’t clean your garden tools and equipment before you put them away, now is the time to do it. Sharpen blades and clean up your garden shed or greenhouse. Take stock of supplies: planting mix, fertilizer, amendments, horticultural fleece, etc. If you stock up now you won’t have to do it when you’d rather be working in the garden. You can even fill your seed flats now if you have space to store them until you need them. Take advantage of warm days to tidy up garden beds and make new ones. These are the last days for removing leaves from beds and containers before new growth starts.
While you need to be careful not to plant too early, there are some crops you can start in February:
- Indoors, you can sow onion seeds, which are slow to germinate.
- You can make your first outdoor sowings of beetroot seeds, carrots, and broad beans. In colder areas you’ll need to protect them with a frame, cloche, or horticultural fleece.
February is also a good time to move shrubs from one place in the garden to another.
The longer days bring houseplants to life. It’s a good time to repot them if they need it – before they put on too much new growth. And you can start feeding them, too. When your amaryllis start sending out shoots move them into indirect sunlight. And you still have time to bring in any hardy bulbs you potted up for forcing.
If you need more inspiration to keep you going until spring gardening begins in earnest, clip a few branches of forsythia and put them in a vase of water in the house. Don’t forget to smash the ends of the stems so they can take up lots of water. Keep then in a bright spot out of direct sunlight, and in a few day yellow blooms will grace your house. While you are out there collecting branches, top off the bird feeder with seeds and fill the birdbath with water. With last season’s natural seed sources running out it’s not an easy time for birds. Give them a boost now and when the time comes they’ll reward you with song when you are out in the garden.
In summary, Garden jobs in February are:
- Prepare vegetable seed beds
- Feed the birds, natural food scarce
- Turn your compost