February jobs for the garden
Still winter? Sorry, but yes. Although, gardeners are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. In February, Greenage recommends noticing love in the air and doing the following garden jobs.
Despite the cold, the signs of spring are becoming more and more visible in Somerset life. The first snowdrops, crocuses, primroses, which seem so fragile, are actually the strongest and boldest debutants of the season. When you see them, you know: we have lived through this winter and are ready to celebrate life.
In February, you need to finish the winter jobs in the garden that you started last month (or last year). The main tasks in the coming weeks are pruning the climbers and shrubs, which will soon start to wake up, as well as preparing the soil for the growing season.
On days when the weather is not conducive to outdoor activities, gardeners are planning. Do you already know exactly what trees and shrubs you will plant in the spring, where new flower beds will appear, what lawns will look like?
Preparing the soil
Having decided to work outdoors, mind not only the weather, but also the ground, It should not be frozen or too wet.
Remove any weeds that have not died out over the winter and finish digging up the garden to improve the air circulation in the soil. If it is too damp, the soil may become compacted. A possible garden answer is to put planks on its surface, so that when you need to cross the territory, your weight will be distributed.
Another important step in preparing the soil for planting season is to spread compost or well-rotted manure over the surface. Even without digging, it will penetrate into the ground and feed it.
To keep the ground dry and warm by the beginning of the sowing season, in an ideal world, they cover seedbeds with sheets of plastic, hessian, tarp or even cardboard in the fall. In the real world, this can be done in February as well. Another one of the gardening solutions is simple cloches made of transparent plastic stretched over wire hoops. They will let in light and trap warm air.
How do you know if your soil needs additional water? Determining its pH will help. To do this, buy a soil test kit and try soil samples from different parts of the garden. The test will show the level of acidity or alkalinity of the soil.
|very acid – slightly acid
|slightly alkaline – very alkaline
Most soils are neutral with slight fluctuations in one direction or another. In acidic soil, the calcium is reduced. You can fix this by adding lime or compost with its content to the ground. To lower the pH of the soil and make it less alkaline, use rotted compost needles, sawdust, or leafy compost.
Sowing and planting
Outside or inside? The dilemma of February, when the desire for an earlier harvest struggles with the fear that cold and excessive moisture will harm the plants. You can put the eggs in different baskets and try both ways, for example with broad beans.
Prepare the hole in which you will plant the bare-root tree in advance, and make sure there is enough space in it for the plant to spread its roots. Before planting, let the tree stand for an hour in water – then it will take root faster and will grow more quickly. Mulching around a freshly planted plant will keep moisture in the soil.
If weather permits, plant garlic cloves in addition to bare-root fruit trees and bushes outside. For peas, pre-covered ground under cloches may be suitable.
Daylight is increasing, and if now you sow the seeds of lettuce, rocket and other salad leaves, even in an unheated greenhouse under cover, by mid-March you will enjoy fresh greens. Also, while the soil in the garden has not warmed up, you can plant onion and shallot bulbs in the greenhouse.
What to plant indoors in February
- Fast growing varieties of spinach. Transplant them outdoors in March to harvest the first crop in April or May.
- Radishes – although the seeds have a chance to germinate under cover outdoors if the temperature does not drop below 5°C at night.
- Keep onions and leeks at a temperature of at least 10°C and transplant in March.
- Early sprouting broccoli and kohl rabi. You can plant them out in mid-April.
- Sow tomatoes and cucumbers already and germinate in a heated propagator to later transplant into the greenhouse.
Pruning and cutting
If you finished pruning apple and pear trees in January, focus on climbers and shrubs until the middle of next month. Not sure if a particular plant needs pruning? It’s best not to do it at all. Or rely on the experts and drop us a line.
To encourage your shrub roses to bloom early and give them a neater shape, equip yourself with a sharp pair of secateurs and follow these steps:
- Remove damaged and crossing stems first.
- Properly cut stems that cannot support their own weight.
- Remove old woody stems.