February is a tough time for gardeners in the South. Spring begins to tease us with a day or two of warm weather (sixties). Yet those days are followed by sleet and snow.
What’s a gardener to do?
So we wait patiently for the cold weather to move on so we can savor the mild, yet fleeting days of Spring. Remember, you’ll be able to fry eggs on your sidewalk by July.
If a nice, sunny day comes along, we go nuts and head for the nursery to find and plant whatever we can, forgetting that it’s still the dead of winter.
It’s a great time to pay a little attention to some garden “housekeeping”.
When was the last time you cleaned your garden tools? Or washed your dirty gardening gloves? Have you swept out your gardening shed in the last year or so? February is a perfect time to accomplish these things.
I know, I know. That’s no fun, but at least you will be doing SOMETHING!
While you never know from one day to the next what the weather will be like in February, there is plenty to do to get your garden ready for that glorious spring day when your bulbs begin to flower and ornamentals can start going in the ground.
Mulching is a big one and it’s almost instant gratification. Mulching now will save you a lot of weeding come spring. Weeds are popping up like…well…weeds in my garden!
The best time to pull weeds is when the ground is nice and soft so you get the roots. If you’ve had a nice rain (we’re supposed to get one this weekend), head out the next day and pull some of those nasty weeds. Once you’ve done that, mulching is the next most important thing to do. Not sure how to mulch? Easy! All you do is clear all the weeds away and rake up all around to get any dead leaves, etc.
Spread some pre-emergent weed control all around the beds, following the manufacturer’s instructions. This will help to stop any weeds from growing before they can get started. Top that with single sheets of newspaper, being careful to overlap at the seams so no dirt is showing through. This will help to keep water and air from getting to the ground which would nourish any weeds that might be ready to pop up (and you don’t want that!).
Mist the newspaper with a little water, but do not soak. Then put your mulch down…any kind will do; My “advisor,” Shirley Dawkins, swears by pine needles, but bark nuggets, and bagged mulch will do.
Make it thick…2 – 3 inches is a good amount. Make sure to mulch around your existing plants and leave a little room around the plant free from mulch. This makes an excellent “bowl” for the water you give your plant.
So if you’re itching to get out in the garden and “play”, here’s your list for Feb:
Clean your garden tools
Clean your garden shed
Buy new containers if needed
Clean old containers
And finally….don’t forget our fine feathered friends. Keep putting bird food out to keep em coming back!
Source: The Happy Gardener, www.thehappygardener.info.