February Checklist

  • Have your lawn mower serviced.
  • Take stock of leftover seeds. Get them organized and do some germination testing if they’re more than a few years old or if storage conditions have not been cool and dry. Even under ideal storage conditions, some vegetable seeds have a fairly short life and probably will not be good one or two years after purchase. These include sweet corn, onion, and parsnip.
  • If the soil dries out against a house under the eaves where rain rarely reaches, water well during a thaw to prevent loss of plants. Remember that plants require water during the winter to replace water lost due to wind desiccation and lack of rain or snow.
  • Make final plans for the annual and vegetable gardens and get the seeds ordered soon. A frequently overlooked factor in vegetable garden planning is the date of the family holiday. Choose planting dates and varieties carefully, so your garden won’t be ready for a full harvest when you are out of town.
  • Look for sales on seed starting supplies, tools and organic mulches.
  • Get your hand tools organized and sharpened. Check the handles on spades and hoes to make sure they’re firmly attached.
  • Branches of forsythia, pussy willow, spirea, and dogwood can be forced for indoor bloom. Make long, slanted cuts when collecting the branches and place the stems in a vase of water. Change the water every four days. They should bloom in about three weeks.
  • Repot your houseplants. Check them closely for insects.
  • Plan a perennial border. Particularly good choices for a cutting garden are daisy, dahlia, aster, gladiolus, and lily.
  • Mulch perennials that have been heaved from the soil. Replant them in the spring.
  • Miniature roses can be a colorful addition to your landscape. They range from pure white to golden yellow to dark red. They grow well in containers and planters, or they can be used as a low-growing border or mixed in
    beds/borders with other perennials.
  • Make labels for your spring garden. Plastic milk continers or bleach bottles cut in strips 1 inch by 6 or 7 inches work well. Use permanent ink markers to write on them.
  • Continue to feed the birds.
  • Have you had a soil sample analysed within the past few years?
  • Give a living plant as a present for Valentine’s Day.
  • If you’re anxious to get some seeds started, plant onion and leek seeds indoors anytime this month.
  • The flower of the month is the violet.
  • Get ready for spring! It will be here soon.

Adapted from “Seeds of Hope… Harvest of Pride!” – Gardener’s Checklist, www.bright.net/~gardens/index.html