Depending upon where you live, the weather outside in February may be frightful—but that doesn’t mean that the enjoyable tasks of gardening are completely out of reach. On the contrary, February is an excellent month for gardeners across the country, serving as the perfect time to research, plan and begin laying the groundwork for the gardening that will take place in the spring. Here are some ideas of how you can indulge your green thumb, even as winter plods on for a few more months:
1. Seed catalogs begin arriving at homes across the country in February, giving cabin-fevered gardeners the chance to dream of the heady bounty of their spring and summer vegetable gardens. Peruse the catalogs, plan your garden, and place your orders before popular varieties begin selling out—by the end of February is best.
2. February is also when bare-root plants (such as roses) begin appearing in gardening stores. Buying bareroot plants is an affordable way to purchase mature (but dormant) plants for your garden. By later in the winter, only leafed-out and blooming plants will be available (at a higher cost), so snag your plants early on for the best savings.
3. Weeding is best done early and often, and even February is an ideal time to go out into the garden and combat unwelcome garden interlopers. Remember: pulling one weed before it seeds is much easier than pulling the twenty that sprout up afterwards.
4. Towards the end of this month, start seedlings indoors for spring plantings. The extra weeks you gain by starting seedlings indoors will give your spring garden a boost, and increase production before the substantial heat of summer sets in.
5. Don’t forget to water if rainfall falls short. Cold weather can be harshly dry for plants, lawns and trees, so a consistent watering is important, even when it isn’t hot out.
6. Take the time to sharpen, repair or purchase necessary gardening tools. This is also a good month to organize your potting station, gardening shed, or planting box, making a list of needed items and replacing outdated or exhausted supplies of fertilizers, soil amendments, and herbal or traditional pesticides.
7. Finally, don’t forget to lay the groundwork for the coming busy gardening season. Build or tend to the composting bin, enrich the soil in your vegetable beds, fertilize winter bloomers, and test your soil to see if it needs to be amended. Getting these tasks done in February means that when the blooms of Spring start to arrive, you’ll be ready to get your spring garden rolling, without a moment’s delay!