06 Feb GARDENING HAPPENINGS – FEBRUARY
There’s no doubt that February can try the patience of nearly every gardener, no matter what growing zone they are in. Warmer climates offer peeks into the coming Spring, which is really just teasing and does little to offset the itch. And colder climates, well, they know they need to continue to hunker down for a bit longer. Don’t let this slower pace get you down, though — just think of it as training for the upcoming gardening marathon! Check out your USDA Hardiness Zone below for suggested activities, but as always, double-check with your local garden experts for more specific planting times and recommendations for your area.
Zone 3 -4: Now’s the time to scout good deals on planters and tools at garden centers. Fertilize houseplants if you begin to see new growth emerging. Organize seed packets by planting date, and if recommended, start seeds of pansies, leeks, onions, and celery under grow lights. Check on your stored dahlia and glad bulbs, and toss out any that have deteriorated. If weather permits, prune dead or winter-damaged branches from your fruit trees, shrubs, and brambles.
Zone 5: If you’re a seed-starter, you’ve got some work to do this month. Indoors under grow lights, start seeds of veggies and flowers including celery, onion, leeks, lettuce, daisy, columbine stock, and impatiens. Bring your geranium plants out from their winter storage, cut them back by half and place them in a bright window after thoroughly watering. Want some indoor bloom? Make it happen by forcing branches from fruit trees, lilac, and forsythia — simply cut some branches and place them in a vase of water inside.
Zone 6: If weather allows, transplant trees, shrubs, and roses. Prune fruit trees, shrubs, and brambles as well as any shrubs that bloom in late summer. At the beginning of the month, sow seeds of onion and leek under grow lights, and at the end of the month, start seeds of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, verbena, stock, wallflower, and ageratum. Look for the earliest tomatoes like Early Girl to start under grow lights as well.
Zone 7: Start seeds of all herbs plus petunias, snapdragons, and ageratum indoors under grow lights. Set out transplants of lettuce, cabbage, and onions, but be at the ready to cover and protect in the event of a late cold snap. Direct sow seeds of radish, and cold hardy lettuce as well as spinach, turnips and peas.
Zone 8: Love roses? This is your month! On Valentine’s Day, prune your existing roses, then topdress with a thick layer of mulch. Plant new rose bushes around the same time. By the 3rd week of the month, you should be able to plant potatoes 4” deep into the soil. Direct sow seeds of leaf lettuce, collards, and other greens. Prune fruit trees, and plant larkspur, lobelia, hollyhock, and allyssum. Apply a several inch layer of compost in all garden beds including over the lawn and around trees and shrubs.
Zone 9: If you didn’t get all of your ornamental planting done last fall, do it now — perennials, trees, shrubs, vines, and bare root roses fare better when planted during cooler months. Start all of your summer veggie favorites inside under grow lights (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant), as well as wax begonias, petunias, and geraniums. Direct sow seeds of radish, spinach, carrots, peas, onions, and cabbage into the garden. Plant dahlia bulbs, begonia tubers, Iceland poppies, calendula, foxglove, and primrose.
Zone 10: Direct sow seeds of corn and cucumbers, and set out transplants of hot peppers, but be prepared to cover and protect all of them in the event of a sudden cold front. Plant fast-growing varieties of radishes, carrots, and beets as well as okra, Southern peas, and sweet potatoes. Got any more stock and snapdragon transplants? Add them to the garden as a final fling before the warm weather hits.