February To-Do List

Everything that needs to be done in the garden this month.

January 25, 2012

February To-Do List for Zone 3

  • Check for winter sales at your local garden center; you may find good deals on pots, planters, and tools.
  • Replace fluorescent bulbs in grow lights that are more than 2 years old.
  • Organize seed packets according to planting date.
  • Check stored gladiolus and dahlia bulbs; remove any that have deteriorated.
  • Remove geranium and fuchsia plants from cold storage, repot, water, and move them into light to restart their growth.



February To-Do List for Zone 4

  • Start seeds of slow growers—such as pansies, onions, leeks, and celery—under lights this month.
  • If snow isn't too deep, prune dead or damaged branches from fruit trees, brambles, and shrubs.
  • Try raising an indoor crop of leaf lettuce beneath lights.
  • Fertilize houseplants that show signs of new growth.



February To-Do List for Zone 5

  • Bring geraniums out of storage; cut them back by half, water well, and set them in a bright, cool window.
  • Indoors under lights, start seeds of sun-loving daisies, columbine (Aquilegia spp.), stocks (Matthiola incana), edging lobelia (Lobelia erinus), and shade-seeking impatiens.
  • Start seeds of lettuce, celery, onions, leeks, and early tomatoes indoors under lights.
  • If the ground isn't frozen, sow some spinach and radishes outdoors under cover.
  • Force some indoor blooms! Cut branches or gather prunings from fruit trees, lilacs, and forsythia. Put them in a vase with water, then enjoy the flowers a few weeks later.



February To-Do List for Zone 6

  • Under fluorescent lights, start seeds of onions and leeks at the beginning of the month.
  • Near the end of the month, start seeds of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts indoors under lights.
  • Start slow-growing flowers, such as garden verbena (Verbena hybrida), stocks (Matthiola incana), wallflowers (Cheirianthus cheiri), and ageratum indoors.
  • If winter has been mild, transplant trees, shrubs, and roses.
  • For the earliest tomatoes, start seeds of ‘Early Girl' under lights now. In April, set out the transplants and protect them with Wallo'Waters.
  • Sharpen pruning shears and use them to prune fruit trees, brambles, grapevines, and late summer–blooming shrubs.
  • Rinse houseplants by setting them beneath your shower.



February To-Do List for Zone 7

  • When you see the first crocus open, consider it time to set out transplants of lettuce, cabbages, and onions; cover them on cold nights.
  • In the garden, sow seeds of radishes and cold-hardy lettuces.
  • When daffodils "pop," plant seeds of spinach, turnips, and peas.
  • Cover the pea bed with clear plastic until sprouts begin to emerge; then, immediately switch to a floating row cover to protect the seedlings from weather and birds.
  • Start herb seeds indoors under lights.
  • Also indoors, start seeds of annual flowers—such as ageratum, petunia, and snapdragons—that need 8 to 10 weeks to reach transplant size.



February To-Do List for Zone 8

  • Feed the soil by applying compost to plantings throughout your landscape: trees, shrubs, lawn, and all garden beds.
  • By the third week of the month, plant potatoes 4 inches deep in warm soil.
  • Begin sowing seeds of leaf lettuces, collards, and other greens outdoors; for continuous harvest, repeat sowings every 2 weeks.
  • On Valentine's Day, prune roses, clean up debris, and then top-dress the shrubs with fresh mulch. No roses? Plant some now!
  • Prune fruit trees, then spray them at their "pink bud" stage with either a copper or lime-sulfur solution if you've had trouble with foliar and fruit diseases.
  • Plant alyssum (Lobularia maritima), hollyhocks (Alcea rosea), edging lobelia (Lobelia erinus), rocket larkspurs (Consolida ajacis), and Canterbury bells (Campanula medium).



February To-Do List for Zone 9

  • Build the soil! During dry spells, dig in composted manure and garden waste; turn under cover crops, such as annual rye, vetch, and clover.
  • Start seeds of indispensable summer veggies—tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants—indoors under lights.
  • Also indoors, start seeds of flowers that are slow to develop, such as lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum), wax begonias, petunias, and geraniums.
  • Plant perennials, bareroot roses, trees, shrubs, and vines. (Next month could be too hot!)
  • Direct-seed radishes, spinach, carrots, peas, onions, and cabbage family vegetables.
  • Continue to plant Iceland poppies (Papaver nudicaule), calendulas (Calendula officinalis), foxglove, and primroses in flowerbeds.
  • Plant dahlia bulbs and begonia tubers.



February To-Do List for Zone 10

  • Celebrate winter's end by filling window boxes and planters with cold-hardy snapdragons and stocks (Matthiola incana).
  • Plant seeds of corn and cucumbers in the garden, but be prepared to protect them from a surprise frost.
  • Set out transplants of hot peppers; be prepared to protect them from frost and, as the weather warms, from intense sunlight.
  • Plant fast-growing varieties of beets, carrots, and radishes so you can harvest a crop before the real heat sets in.
  • Also start southern favorites, such as okra, southern peas, and sweet potatoes.
  • Lubber grasshoppers hatch this month: Spread Semaspore around the perimeter of your property and on their favorite foods—amaryllis (Hippeastrum spp.), tuberoses (Polianthes tuberosa), rain lilies (Zephyranthes spp.), and crinum lilies (Crinum spp.).

Continue Reading: 7 Secrets for a High-Yield Vegetable Garden


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