February Gardening Chores

Check seeds, most are good for 2-3 years. Old seeds, back, are only good to hold memories!

Check seeds, most are good for 2-3 years. Old seeds, back, are only good to hold memories!

February Garden Chores

There are signs of activity in my hillside garden, ever so slight maybe but activity nevertheless. I am spotting mole runs through some of my walking paths, and the mums I planted last fall are sprouting little tufts of green in the center. I live in USDA Zone 5b.

I know, I should appreciate cold enough days that I have to stay inside but I enjoy sunny, warm days when I can get some things done. Here are my garden chores for February:

1.     Prune trees. I focus first on my compact fruit trees, pruning them into a goblet shape. I have one pear tree that I didn’t prune for many years, now I am trying to catch up by pruning only up to 1/3rd of the tree every year.

2.     Composting yet? If not, this is a good time to pick out and area and get it set up. There are many ways you can compost, from using pallets, reinforced chicken wire or splurge on a self-contained unit. I have three because I knew my wildlife would consider the other methods as fine dining.

3.     Remove dead branches. I used to wait to do this until a branch almost hit me on the head. I now remove them as soon as I see them, even if weather conditions are not conducive to being outside.

4.     Photograph your flower beds. It will give you an easy reference later when you decide to reshape them with plantings. Good bones are important for gardens, too.

5.     Inventory bird baths. How are they doing in terms of giving birds access to water? Add a heater to at least one to make sure your feathered friends have water access. If you have a base or a cut off tree, buy only the bird bath top to make sure you have a source of drinking water. My little waterfall off my front porch has been running most of the winter, inviting all sorts of birds and wildlife to take a drink including 9 bluebirds and 3 robins at the same time. I also enjoy having birds on my favorite throws like this birds in the garden. Keeps me warm!

February is a good month to get your key garden tools sharpened, such as my favorite pick ax.

February is a good month to get your key garden tools sharpened, such as my favorite pick ax.

 

6.     Get your gardening tools sharpened. Many home and garden centers offer this service so if you haven’t checked, this is a good time to do so.

7.     Save milk jugs, toilet paper rolls, kitty litter containers. You can use milk jugs for early spring plant covers; make planting pots out of toilet paper rolls and repurpose empty kitty litter containers into watering cans.  Save a few extra to exchange with other gardening friends who may have plastic bottles you can puncture holes in and bury in pots for watering.

8.     Check indoor plants for mealy bugs and other pests. Usually by now those bugs have found a foothold and need some nudging to leave.

9.     If you haven’t ordered gardening catalogs, do so now. Catalogs are good references for names and plant care. Plant tags have become very generic and almost not much help so get at least one catalog you can use as a reference.

10. Have your early spring seeds picked out? Lettuce, spinach, peas all like cool spring growing conditions.

What are your February garden chores?

Charlotte