February Gardening Tips: 16 Things to Do in Preparation for Spring
February might seem like one of the worst parts of the year for gardening, but it isn’t actually like that. It is still cold, but there’s no need to postpone gardening anymore. Despite the competitive conditions, you can still do some planting and prepare your garden for spring. Here is a list of some February gardening tips you can apply.
What to know about February gardening
In February, the weather is still relatively cold and damp, so this month doesn’t look like the perfect moment to start gardening. However, the spring is right around the corner, and your plants should get ready for the warmer season.
However, you shouldn’t think winter is gone. The cold will still reign, and you might even experience some freezing days. In this case, you should be ready to take some extra care of your plants. Those early plants are especially in danger in such cases, so make sure you can provide them with some warmth if need be.
February gardening tips
Tree garden tips
In this time of the year, trees and shrubs are still in a relatively dormant state. This means they are ready for transplantation, but you have to hurry and do it now. If you wait until their buds start developing, you won’t be able to do it without risks.
Also, you have to make sure the transplantation goes on smoothly. For smaller shrubs, there won’t be any problems, but trees or other big plants might bring some difficulties.
- Feeding trees
In case you didn’t feed all your trees during autumn, it’s time to do so now. Make a few holes one or two inches deep around the tree, and add the treat suitable for the tree species. If you want something universal, pick manure.
Flower garden tips
It’s already mid-February, so it’s time for you to fertilize your flowering shrubs. For evergreens and leafy plants, the perfect fertilizer is an acid-based one. For other types of flowering plants, including mostly roses or other shrubby flowers, you can use an all-purpose fertilizer.
This type of fertilizer also belongs to different categories. Most of them are not difficult to use or don’t require a special technique. However, if you pick a granular one, make sure you mix it with plenty of water.
Pruning helps the plant develop better in the warmer season, as it opens it up and allows it to get more oxygen and sunlight. The best method to start pruning is by removing all the dead leaves and branches.
It’s better to prune summer flowers as well, even if their buds had appeared from last autumn. This activity will deprive them of flowers, as it will affect the buds, but it will ease their long-term development. In fact, this is the perfect moment to clean your flowers from all the decayed and dead leaves and branches.
Although it sounds risky, February is suitable even for planting a few flowers. In case you have some snowdrops in your garden, this is the perfect moment to harvest some ‘in the green’ ones for a future plantation. If they have been in the ground for a year or more, you can also move them and divide the bulbs to obtain more flowers.
The Allium and lily bulbs can also thrive in a cold February soil, so get ready for planting. Even a breed of roses can survive planting during February. The bare root roses sit well in a place where they get plenty of sunlight so that they can develop impressive colors until the summer comes.
Annual and perennial garden tips
- Pushing the plants back into place
After a harsh winter, many such plants must have been pushed up from the ground by frost. To make sure they survive for another year, you should place them back into the ground at the necessary depth. This is the ideal moment to do this, as pushing them back into place during a warmer period might be too late.
- Watering shriveled plants
Some other perennials and annuals might have been affected differently by the cold. They might not take the winter weather too lightly, and some might have started shriveling. To combat this effect, it’s better to water them. However, don’t overdo it, and use a light quantity of water.
- Making plans for planting
This is the perfect moment to think about planting. However, the soil isn’t ready yet to receive such seeds. During this time of the year, it’s better to prepare the seeds indoors and help them start the germination process. Only afterward, when the weather is warmer, can you put them in the ground.
Vegetable garden tips
No February gardening tips could miss the vegetable garden. This is extremely important, as most people should have at least a few vegetables in their backyard, and should know how to care for them during the colder season.
This is the perfect moment for tilling, where you stir the soil to allow the air to circulate. Tilling should allow the dirt clogs to dissolve and unburden the roots. Such a process should also bring the weeds back to the surface, exposing their seeds to air. This should be enough to kill them without using any herbicides.
However, you should make sure the weather allows you to perform tilling. If it’s too cold or humid, you will expose the roots to harsh temperatures and their chances to survive get slimmer.
- Get the soil ready for future planting
The warmer season is getting close, and you should prepare your garden for your future vegetables. Make the soil bed ready to receive some seeds by plucking all the weeds out, and mixing it with some compost. This way, it will be already rich in nutrients.
However, one of the important February gardening tips is to keep in mind that it’s still winter. The weather isn’t friendly enough, so you need to take some precaution methods. Cover the soil with a sheet of black plastic. This way, it will stay both warm and dry, and won’t be affected by the cold. If you want better drainage and warmer soil, you can even prepare some raised beds.
- Chit potatoes
This is the perfect time to start chitting the potatoes. Place them on a tray with individual plates for each potato. If you don’t have one, you can simply use an eggbox. After you have separated the potatoes, put them in a cool room that is still bright. However, make sure it’s not too cold, and protect the potatoes from freezing.
Some perennial vegetables might need mulching, meaning that you apply a layer of material on top of the soil. This material is usually organic and, in our case, you should cover the vegetables with compost or manure. However, make sure your plants need mulching. The species who enjoy such a cover include artichokes and asparagus.
Fruit garden tips
- Remove canes
If you have raspberries and blackberries in your garden, it’s time for you to remove all their canes from last year, even if they have not been affected by frost. This way, you’ll help them develop new canes that will make fruits in autumn.
- Remove old trunks
Some of your fruit plants might be a little too old to grow, and they prevent the growth of other younger strains. This is usually the case of currants that exceed three years. Remove all the old currant, and make room for new planting. Strawberries can be planted in this season, as well as fruit trees like nectarine, apricot, and peach trees.
Even if a greenhouse offers more friendly conditions, you should still be careful about how you tend your plants. Any February gardening tips should also include greenhouse tips, as most people tend to overlook them and their plants do not get to thrive.
- Avoid extra sowing
Although you might be tempted to sow all the seeds you have, don’t do it. There’s still not enough light during this time of the year, and most of these plants won’t grow. It’s alright if you sow only a part of these plants and then continue with the rest of them later, as they have plenty of time and resources to catch up.
- Speed up the germination
You can help your plants with the germination process if you give them a little artificial boost. Unfortunately, you need some financial resources for it. What will do the best job will be an electric propagator, which will be of great benefit to your early sowings.
These February gardening tips should help you get your plants ready for spring and for thriving. Seeds and roots keep growing even during the colder season, and it’s our job to take care of them and make sure they can make it until spring and summer. It’s not complicated to tend your garden in February; you just have to pay attention to the weather, and to some special care some species might need.