FEBRUARY GARDEN CALENDAR

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My photograph above shows young heirloom perennial and biennial plants in flats and seed containers.  Now is a good time to finish repotting them so they will grow large enough to set outside when weather permits.

If your climate is mild enough, February is a good time to begin planting deciduous trees, roses, raspberries, gooseberries and currants.  Roses, fruit trees, raspberries, gooseberries grapes and currants may be pruned as well, if your climate is not too cold.  In very cold climates it is advantageous to wait until very cold weather is over and you are sure of the extent of winterkill on branches.  If fruit trees and roses are pruned too soon, they will begin to grow earlier and my be harmed by late spring frosts.  This is especially true of tender roses, apricots, almonds, peaches, prunes and grapes.  In Montana, living in USDA climate zone four, I usually waited until March to prune hardy fruit trees, and April to prune tender fruit trees and roses.  That way, one can cut off the winterkilled portion, cutting into live wood about an inch and a half.  Make sure your pruning tools are clean; a 10% bleach solution in water will sterilize the tools.  Clean tools after pruning each tree or shrub and after any cut into diseased tissue.  After pruning is finished, rinse tools with clean water, dry them and wipe them with light oil to prevent rust.  If pruning roses, do not use the pruning sealants designed for fruit trees, as they will cause die-back of canes on your roses.  An excellent sealant for pruning cuts on roses is a water-based glue that dries hard, such as Elmer’s.  Sealing rose pruning cuts will prevent cane-drilling wasps from destroying viable canes and prevents canes from drying out.

Seeds of hawthorns and large species or shrub roses may be sown outside now to make thorny hedges.  Seeds of fruit, shrub and rose rootstocks can be sown now also.  Make sure to continue to check any plants in frames and to ventilate them whenever weather permits.

If your climate is mild enough, you can begin dividing most perennials and replanting them.  Wait until July to divide German irises (Iris germanica cultivars).  Wait until August/September to divide peonies.  Many hardy annuals can be sown outside now if weather permits: larkspur, lavatera, lychnis, nigella, poppies sweet peas and kiss-me-by-the-garden-gate.  These all need cool temperatures to germinate well.

In the greenhouse you can force bulbs, strawberries, ranunculuses, pansies, violets, wallflowers, stocks, sweet williams, carnations, roses, etc.  Under lights or in a warm greenhouse several tender annuals may be sown now, such as petunias, impatiens, geraniums, snapdragons, etc.  Seeds of several cool hardy vegetables can be started in the greenhouse also, such as cabbage, cauliflower, kales, and onions.

February is a good time to spread manure, alfalfa meal, bone meal, wood ashes, and other soil amendments over vegetable beds, asparagus beds, rhubarb, grapes and vegetables still in the garden.  Do not place manure too close to grape or rose stems.  Be sure to check mushroom beds and protect them from too much moisture.  Dry straw is a good cover, and it helps to have a shed roof over mushrooms to protect them from too much rain.

In February you can finish your orders for seeds, perennials, roses, fruit, evergreen and deciduous trees.  Enjoy February!

 

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