February Gardening Tasks

Monday 12 February 2018

February is the time where winter starts to fade and spring becomes closer. The days start becoming longer, which is every gardener’s dream!

Temperatures can vary massively in February with the low temperatures being 0.5 ºC and the highest temperatures reaching 10 ºC.
The sunny days in February, particularly towards the end of the month, will bring narcissi, cyclamen and crocus into flower to join the snowdrops. However, February can have some of the coldest days bringing rain, hard frosts and sometimes snow.
Therefore, don’t rush into sowing seeds because there still might be some winter weather to come.

Essential checklist for February:

  • Prune the shrubs that have become overgrown and misshapen.
  • Replant snowdrops.
  • Cut back ornamental grasses.
  • Start sowing bedding.
  • Sow or re-pot sweet peas.
  • Lime your vegetable beds.
  • Start preparing outdoor seed beds for early vegetables.
  • Plant rhubarb crowns.
  • Dig trenches for runner beans.
  • Feed the birds and put up nest boxes.

In the flower garden: 

  • Prune your Wisteria now, cutting back summer side-shoots to 2 or 3 buds.
  • Towards the end of the month prune summer-flowering Clematis before active growth begins - find out how with this clematis pruning guide.
  • Trim winter-flowering heathers as the flowers disappear, to prevent the plants becoming leggy.
  • Lift and divide snowdrops still 'in the green' if you want to move them or create more plants.

In the veg garden: 

  • Start chitting early potatoes - stand them on end in a module tray or egg box and place them in a bright, cool, frost-free place.
  • Force rhubarb plants for an early crop. Plant new rhubarb crowns now.
  • Start sowing vegetable seeds such as leeks, onions and celeriac under cover now.
  • If you garden on heavy clay soil but want to make an early start in the garden, build raised beds before the growing season gets under way. The soil will warm up faster and raised beds drain quickly too.

In the fruit garden:

  • Cut autumn-fruiting raspberry canes to the ground to stimulate new canes, which will fruit in the autumn. Cut the tips of summer-fruiting raspberry canes that have grown beyond the top of their supports; cut just above a bud.
  • Prune apple trees and pear trees whilst they're still dormant. Leave plum trees, cherry trees and apricots until the summer as pruning these fruit trees now will make them susceptible to Silver Leaf disease.
  • Protect the blossoms of apricots, peaches and nectarines. These stone fruit trees can also be planted now. 
  • Continue to plant raspberry canes for the coming summer.

In the greenhouse:

  • Don't be tempted to sow too many seeds this early in the season - they may become leggy due to low light levels. Later sowings will catch up and grow just as fast.
  • For better seed germination, invest in an electric propagator to help your early sowings along.
  • Soak sweet pea seeds in tepid water overnight before planting them, to speed up germination.

Looking after your lawn: 

With spring on the way it's worth preparing your lawn for the season ahead. Try installing lawn edging which creates a neat and tidy appearance and makes maintenance easier.


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