Garden To Do List February
Don’t wait for the groundhog to tell you spring is on the way, it’s time to get out into the garden! Many of the tasks this month will give you a running start when temperatures warm and the plants begin to emerge.
- If you love blueberry muffins, plant bushes now. Read more about planting blueberries.
- Prune early spring flowering shrubs such as forsythia, quince, winter honeysuckle and winter jasmine immediately after the flowers fade.
- After your amaryllis finishes blooming, cut off the stalk, but leave the foliage. The leaves help reinvigorate the bulb so you will have plenty of blooms next year. Treat it like an ordinary houseplant until next fall then cut back the foliage, put it in a dark place, and stop watering. About a month later bring it out, begin watering, put it in full sun and presto, a whole new generation of flowers.
- Keep those Valentine cut flower arrangements fresh longer with a simple solution of equal parts lemon lime soda and water plus a dash of bleach. Also, before you put your flowers in your vase remove all of the lower leaves that sit below the water line.
- Get out your pruners! Cut back hybrid tea and repeat blooming roses before the buds break. Wait to prune one time blooming roses until after they have bloomed. Crape myrtles, butterfly bush, group C and group B clematis should also be pruned in late winter/early spring.
- Sweeten acidic soil with wood ashes for plants that prefer a soil pH of 7 or above. Read more about applying wood ashes in the garden.
- Fertilize established clumps of rhubarb as new growth begins to emerge in spring. Apply 1 cup of 10-10-10 fertilizer to each plant. Sprinkle it in a circle around the plant and work it into the top 2" of the soil. And the rumor is true! You shouldn’t eat rhubarb that has frozen.
- Save daffodil, hyacinth and crocus bulbs that have been forced into bloom indoors for planting in the garden. Keep the foliage healthy after the blooms fade, plant them outside when weather turns mild and let the foliage die back naturally. Toss out paperwhites and other bulbs that have been forced in water.
- Test the germination rate of seeds you saved from last year. Place approximately 10 seeds of the same variety on a damp paper towel. Roll up the paper towel and put it in a plastic bag - do not seal the bag. Keep the bag in a warm area. Check the seeds daily and keep the paper towel moist. After 2 or 3 days count the number of seeds that have sprouted. This will give you a pretty good idea of how the seeds will do in the garden. If half the test group germinated, then it is likely that half of the rest of the seeds will grow.
- If you haven’t done so already, remove dead fronds from your asparagus plants.
- Get a jump start on spring. Check your seed packets to find out how long it takes the different varieties to sprout. Mark the last frost date for your area on the calendar and count back the number of weeks needed for sprouting. This is the date you should sow your seeds indoors.
- While a gentle rinse helps clean the dust off of most houseplants, not so for African violets and other plants with soft fuzzy leaves. To spruce up these plants, use a soft brush, such as a paintbrush or baby’s hairbrush to gently stroke dirt off the tops and bottoms of the leaves.