February To-Do List for Gardeners

Think February is too early to begin working on your flower and vegetable garden? Think again!

Believe it or not, there are plenty of tasks for you to undertake before the snow melts. We’ve compiled a few of them.

Garden Center Sales

Hardware stores (and garden centers that remain open all season) often have winter sales, where you can find good deals on pots, planters, and tools. Here are some basic tools you’ll want to have on hand before spring arrives:

  • Shovel
  • Spading fork
  • Leaf rake
  • Bow rake
  • Leather gardening gloves
  • Pruning shears
  • Trowel
  • Wheelbarrow

Organizing Seeds

February is a great time to organize your seed packets according to planting date. For this task you could purchase a seed organizer, available online from several different retailers. Or, alternatively, you could use an empty photo album.

Either way, start by sorting the seeds according to category, such as cool season vegetables, warm season vegetables, herbs, and flowers. Then organize them within each category according to planting date. Here’s the planting date schedule for popular vegetables within Hardiness Zone 4:

February

Start Slow Growers

Go ahead and start the seeds of some of your slow-growing plants, such as pansies, onions, leeks, and celery.

FebruaryBear in mind that all seedlings require a considerable amount of light, so if you don’t have a sunny, south-facing window, invest in grow lights and a timer.

You can start seeds in almost any type of container, as long as it’s at least 2″ deep and has some drainage holes. Lots of gardeners use egg cartons, yogurt cups or paper cups. You can also buy trays that are specially made for seed planting.

Fill your containers with fresh, moist potting soil designed especially for seeds. Plant the seeds according to the directions on the packet and moisten them with a mister or a small watering can.  As they grow, keep your seedlings watered and add liquid fertilizer as needed.

FebruaryPrune

If snow isn’t too deep, late February to early March is a good time to prune dead or damaged branches from fruit trees, brambles, and shrubs.

Be sure to use good, sharp tools to make a clean cut. Pruning in late winter when shrubs and trees are dormant invigorates the plants for abundant growth in spring. It also limits the amount of time the wounds are exposed before the growing cycle begins. And it’s much easier to see what needs to be pruned after the leaves have dropped.


Rodale’s Organic Life

Gardeners’ Supply Company

P. Allen Smith

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