What To Do Now
Spring is approaching and the first spring bulbs are emerging out of the ground. Gardening in February is all about preparing the garden for sowing and growing.
Although it is still cold and wet in the garden, there are many jobs to keep you busy. After the strong winter winds and downpour of rain it is important to check plant supports and structures are still in good condition. The main tasks for February are preparing beds and borders, digging over the soil and pulling up perennial weeds which have survived the winter and preparing the soil for planting out after the last frost.
- Avoid walking on the lawn when covered in frost or wet.
- Keep an eye on moss build up due to wet lawns.
- Continue to remove fallen leaves and vegetation.
February is often frosty which can be damaging to lawns. Try to avoid walking on waterlogged or frosty lawns. The grass can be crushed underfoot and leave embedded footprints in the ground. It is important to continue to rake up fallen leaves from the lawn. Fallen vegetation can smother the grass and create the ideal conditions for lawn disease. keeping your lawn debris free will give it the best chance to dry out and recover on sunny days.
Beds and Borders
- Prepare the ground for planting out hardy perennials.
- Deadhead winter-flowering shrubs to encourage more blooms.
- Prune wisteria, fuchsia, jasmine and clematis.
- Remove faded flowers from pansies, cyclamen and primrose to encourage further flowering.
- Trim winter-flowering heather to prevent the plant getting too leggy.
- Lift and divide snowdrops.
- Sow hardy annual seeds in the greenhouse or on a window ledge.
- Sow sweet peas in a cold frame to encourage early growth.
While out gardening in February, now is the perfect time to start thinking about sowing seeds for summer bedding plants and planning which spring flowering bulbs you would like to plant if you have not already planted them in the Autumn and are buying ready to flower spring tubers. Snowdrops and early flowering crocus should be in full bloom now. Snowdrops will soon be ready to lift out and divide. Sweet Peas are sown in Autumn but can be sown during February. Sow the seeds into small pots and place in a cold frame greenhouse.
- Start chitting potatoes.
- Build raised beds ready for the growing season.
- Prepare vegetable beds, removing weeds and digging in compost.
- Prune raspberries, blackcurrants and gooseberries.
- Cover strawberries with cloches to protect from frost and encourage growth.
It will soon be time to plant out the vegetables for the coming year. The ground needs to be prepared by digging over the soil. Place cloches, cardboard or polythene over the soil to warm it up.
You can start sowing vegetable seeds in the greenhouse now, ready to plant out when the last frost has passed. Tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, celery, carrots, onions and peas are just some of the plants which you can start sowing in a warm environment ready for planting out as the weather warms up.
Weeds and Pests
This is the perfect time to get on top of weed and pest control. The best and most natural method is keeping the garden tidy and digging over beds and borders. By digging over the soil, young weeds which have hidden beneath the surface get unearthed and can be easily picked out. At this cold time of year, garden birds will gladly help with pest control when the soil has been dug over, exposing grubs, slugs and unwelcome insect larve.
The winter has been a tough time for garden wildlife with shelter and food in short supply. While out gardening in February, continue to put out plant feeders for birds and fresh water daily, especially with natural water sources freezing over.
With the early whispers of spring on its way, wildlife will be waking up and visiting the garden in search of food. Birds are preparing their nests for the mating season. Putting up bird boxes and keeping hedges in good condition will provide suitable nesting sites. Putting out short natural fibres in the garden for the birds to collect for nest will help them during the building time.
Before long, spring will be here and the garden will be in full bloom again.