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February – when the busy Gardner prepares for summer flowers
Gardening Month By Month: February Projects
Some plants, as you know, grow from seeds and bloom the same year as they are sown, and then die back down; these plants are called Annuals. Other plants that come up year after year are called Perennials.
You can get a beautiful show of flowers for your garden from nothing but Annuals and a few packets would be sufficient to make a really fine show, but I think you would do better to plant a few Perennials and sow the Annuals between them for a really fine show.
A little heat gets seeds off to an early start. Browse modern heated seed trays >
Sow sweet peas now. Browse the latest varieties of sweet pea seeds >
Wildflower mixes are great for summer shows and help insects. Help nature with native wildflower garden mixes >
February Gardening: what are you to do in this month of February? Well, first of all you should certainly sow a row of Sweet Peas. Get out your big spade and garden line, and dig a trench at least a foot deep. (The deeper, the better.) Put a layer of stable manure at the bottom, then fill up the trench to within about three inches of the top. Buy a few packets of Sweet Pea seeds, and sow them separately in the trench, putting the seeds about two or three inches apart. Perhaps it would be better to buy two packets if your trench is a fairly long one, because these Sweet Peas have to stand the winter, and perhaps some of them may not come up. Sweet Peas sown at the beginning of February usually make stronger plants than those sown in the spring. Lupins are very pretty flowers, and you can take a small piece off an old root and plant it in your garden. It will bloom in June and July.
In the vegetable garden it’s also getting active you may now plant Broad-Beans and Green Peas if you’re after an early crop. Now is a good time to plant a Rhubarb root and invest in a rhubarb forcer.
Your monthly February gardening checklist
February is a great month to get ahead in the garden and make a great start to a productive gardening year. Here’s our handy check list to make your garden in February a great one.
In the Ornamental Garden
- Chop back deciduous ornamentals left over winter
- Divide clumps of snowdrops after they have finished flowering
- Prune clematis, cutting back to the buds about 30cm from the base
- Fill containers with hardy bedding flowers, such as primroses, wallflowers and forget-me-nots
- Cut back wisteria side shoots, to encourage masses of flowers in spring
- Prune buddleia to it’s base so it docent take over
- Trim back ivy and other climbers before birds start nesting
- Sprinkle slow-release fertiliser around the base of roses and other flowering shrubs
February Jobs In the Edible Garden
- Organise your seeds and place orders for new ones
- Prepare vegetable beds for sowing by weeding, then cover with a thick layer of compost or black plastic
- Feed fruit trees and bushes to support fruiting
- Put cloches or fleece over strawberry plants to encourage an early crop
- Plant rhubarb into enriched soil, or lift and divide existing clumps
- Finish winter-pruning fruit trees and soft fruits such as apples, raspberries and currants
- Plant bare-root fruit bushes, trees and fruit canes
- Seeds to sow in February: Sow mustard and cress on a warm windowsill for pickings in just a couple of weeks. Tomatoes, eggplant, chilies, kale, winter salad leaves, peas, sprouting broccoli, leeks, spinach, kohlrabi, globe artichokes. Plant shallots and garlic (if not done already in autumn).
- Chit first-early potato tubers, by standing them in trays in a light, frost-free place
- What to harvest in February: Mediterranean herbs such as rosemary (all year), Brussels sprouts, parsnips, cabbages, cauliflower, kale, and leeks.
Ordering seeds in my favorite ‘job’ in February. Exciting vegetable varieties to try >
Young plants need protecting for the birds and weather. A good looking solution are reusable cloches >
Fruit trees benefit from a feed this time of year, so it a great time to provide a slow release fertilizer >
In the Greenhouse
- Sow sweet peas in deep pots
- Sow summer bedding and tender annuals, including cosmos, lobelia, dahlias, nasturtiums and snapdragons
- Sow tender crops such as tomatoes and chilies in a heated propagator or on a warm sunny windowsill
- Plant dahlia tubers in trays
- Monitor greenhouse temperatures with a max-min thermometer
- Start planting summer bulbs in pots indoors, including liatris, begonias, gloxinias, lilies, eucomis and agapanthus
- Cut back overwintered fuchsias and increase the frequency of watering
- Remove yellowing leaves from overwintering plants to prevent diseases
- Wash greenhouse glazing inside and out to let in as much light as possible
Garden maintenance and Garden projects for February
- Build raised beds or a no dig system
- Install a greenhouse and get you seedlings off to an early start
- Create garden paths for beauty or to avoid compacting the soil
- Install a nest box with a camera, so you can watch birds raising their chicks
- Make or buy a cold frame to use when hardening off plants
- Make fat ball feeders and hang them to attract native birds
- Look after the soil by spreading garden compost or well-rotted manure over garden beds
- Sort and clean up bamboo canes, plant supports and cloches
- Clean and service lawn mowers and garden tools
Now is the perfect time of year to invest in a Greenhouse for your garden. Choose a sturdy glass greenhouse to add value to your property, or an inexpensive temporary plastics greenhouse is both useful and affordable >