Month By Month Gardening

February Jobs In The Garden

February Jobs In The Garden

February Jobs In The Garden

Pick a nice day to potter..

For those itching to get into the garden on those rare but exceptional, sunny February days, there are plenty of reasons to go and make the most of them. Even though the weather may be cold and the plants still dormant, there are still many useful things you can do to keep your garden looking it best, healthy and ready for spring.

Right Now, It Is All About Pruning, Cleaning, Protecting, Planning and Preparing
First on the February list of winter garden maintenance jobs is to continue to tidy up your garden, clearing out any leaf litter, weeds, or dead plants that could give rise to disease and harm your garden. Clearing the debris will also help you to identify where new gaps in the border have appeared, and in the process, created space for new plants.

Pruning Ornamental Trees, Shrubs and Woody Plants
Pruning any ornamental trees, shrubs and woody plants that flower late in the summer on this year’s coming new growth, is a really satisfying job to do now. Most are currently dormant and have shed their leaves, making it easy to identify and access any stems that need trimming back or removing. First of all get rid of any parts that are dead, show mould or disease, be sure to then clean the cutting blades well  to prevent the unwanted spread of disease to other plants. Then stand back and look at the general shape of the plant. Remove any stems or branches that overlap, are growing in the wrong direction or swamping other nearby plants, to improve its overall shape and encourage vigorous new growth.

Keep in mind that early flowering woody plants tend to bloom on lasts years ripened stems, these plants should be left alone right now, or you may greatly reduce flowering for the coming season. It is usually best to prune those lightly straight after flowering.

Sweep and Clear any paths or walkways
Sweep and clear any paths or walkways in your garden, this will prevent them from becoming a slippery hazard but also reduce the number of weeds that are trying to get an early foothold in the gaps.

Lawn Care
If you really want a properly healthy gardening workout, then rake and aerate your lawn - but only if it is dry and the soil is not wet or muddy. Remove any moss or thatch that has accumulated with a scarifying tool or spring tine rake. Aerate the lawn by opening up the soil structure with a tool made for the purpose or simply by repeatedly plunging a garden fork into it and repeating this across the entire lawn. You can then further improve the drainage of your lawn by sprinkling sand over it and sweeping it into the holes you’ve just made. This is especially useful in areas of lawn prone to get boggy.

Winter Protection
A gentler job that takes only a little time and is well worthwhile is to walk around and check on any protection you have used for your overwintering plants, especially after strong winds and winter storms. Make sure any fleece, tunnels or cloches you have used are still up to the job of protecting your plants from frost, snow, and ice. At the same time check on any tree or plant ties that may have been loosened in bad weather.

Getting The Garden Spring Ready
February is always a good time to get ahead and make the garden ready for the spring season, by doing some preparation and planning. This will give you a head start and a better chance of having a successful and beautiful garden when the growing season gets under way. Here are some of the jobs you could do now.

If the ground is not waterlogged or froze, dig over your beds, and enrich the soil with compost and soil conditioner like well-rotted manure, organic matter or compost. This will improve the structure, drainage, and fertility of your soil, and make it easier for your plants to grow.

In warmer regions, or under cloches, sow or plant some crops that can survive the winter, such as garlic, onions, broad beans, or peas. These will give you an early harvest in spring. Be aware though that it they will certainly need protecting from hungry pigeons or mice at this time of year.

Planning Ahead
Plan ahead for your spring sowing and planting, by choosing the plants, seeds, and bulbs that you want to grow. It often helps to draw a simple map or a sketch of your garden, plot north and south to better understand shady areas and how the sun moves and decide what new plants to place where.
If the February weather remains bad where you are and the ground is too wet and muddy to work just yet, then this last job is a nice one to do indoors, sat in the warmth. Gardening is so often about patience after all.

Reading next

Month By Month GardeningJanuary Gardening Advice
March Jobs In The Garden

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