Gardening jobs for February
It is easy to think that there is little going on in terms of gardening jobs during February. The worst of the winter should have passed by now, and while they can still be snow or frosts right into March, some plants will start to brave the cold and make the most of the few sunny days.
Snowdrops, hellebores and aconites are all looking great at the moment, so its worth looking up a snowdrop opening near you to admire these heralds of spring, (especially if there is a warm pub nearby.)
Gardening jobs in your veg garden
Sowing broad beans
Broad beans can be sown again this month. Autumn sown plants will crop the earliest, but they can struggle on heavy wet soils through the winter. To extend the season, sow a few plants as the soil starts to warm in the spring too.
Dig over plot
This is a great time to finishing preparing any plots that haven’t been dealt with earlier. If you sowed green manure in the autumn you can now cut it down with a grass trimmer and dig the green tops back into the soil to provide nutrition for this years crops. Turning heavy, clay soil and leaving it in large clods allows the frost to break down its structure so it becomes much easier to work.
Prune autumn raspberries
Any raspberries that fruited in the autumn need to be cut down to the ground now. These are known as “primocane” types, and will produce fruit on the current year’s growth. Summer fruiting types are know as “floricane” types, meaning they flower and fruit the previous year’s growth.
Seed potatoes should be placed in a sunny, frost-free spot. This encourages the “eyes” to form small shoots with lots of nobbles. Each nobble has the potential to form a stem during the summer. “Chitting” isn’t entirely necessary for main crop potatoes, but can help early varieties to produce bigger yields.
Gardening jobs: Ornamentals
Top-dress and feed container plants
Life in a pot can be tough. After a long winter they are probably feeling a bit under the weather. Before it starts to warm up again, give them a spot of TLC by topping up the pot with fresh compost and a good helping of slow-release fertiliser. This will ensure they have all the nutrients they need for the spring and summer ahead.
If there is one thing that you can do which will help your garden more than anything else, it is mulching. Spread a thick layer of well-rotted garden compost or composted bark across the whole border around 7cm deep. Take care not to cover up the crowns of plants as it can cause them to rot off. The mulch will reduce the amount of weeding and watering you need to do, and it will improve your soils health, structure and nutrient holding ability.
Gardening jobs: Lawn
Repair mole damage
There can be few things more disappointing than a perfect lawn spoiled by mole hills. They are quite rare in the UK these days, so think yourself lucky – they have chosen your garden because of the incredible number of worms and grubs in your healthy soil. They can leave a mess though. Use a spade to encourage the soil back into the holes, and wash it down the tunnels with a hose. Reseed any bare patches and before you know it there will be few signs of your nocturnal visitor.
Gardening jobs in the Greenhouse
Pot up dahlia tubers
If you lifted your dahlias to keep them safe from the winter frost, it’s now time to start them back into life. If they are large they can probably be divided into good sized sections. Dispose of any soft parts. Pot them up in fresh compost and give them a little warmth from underneath, using a heat mat to stir them into life.
Gardening jobs: Pests and diseases
Snow mould on lawns
The cold weather can leave lawns prone to problems and one of the most noticeable at this time of year is snow mould (also know as fusarium patch.) It sometimes appears as a white or pale pink fluffy mould, especially after cold and wet weather. It can also appear as yellow or brown patches on the lawn in spring and summer. It’s most common on lawns that are struggling. Do not over apply nitrogen to the lawn in cold weather, and make sure the turf is well aerated by spiking in the autumn and it should recover.
Gardening jobs: Pruning
Cut back Dogwood
The buds on dogwoods should be starting to break now. To get the strongest and most colourful stems next year, cut them back to within 1 or 2 buds from where they originate. The cut stems can be used in winter flower decorations, or heel them into a slit trench at the back of the border to grow new plants for next year
By the end of February the occasional warm, sunny day will encourage things back into growth. Buds will be starting to swell on the late-flowering Clematis varieties. Cut them back to around 30cm above the ground where the new buds are forming and give them a good dose of feed.
General Gardening jobs
Repair any damage from winter storms
March can still be a punishing month, but the worst of the winter storms will have hopefully passed. Now is a good time to make an assessment of any damage and make repairs. Loose fence panels should be screwed back in place and broken posts replaced. Sometimes a broken fence is a sign it is getting to the end of its lifespan and it may be time to consider replacing the whole run.