We’ve been giving thought to just some of the February garden jobs that need tackling this month and let’s hope it’s not too long until we can celebrate and say “Spring is in the air” but it is just around the corner and there is lots to get done in preparation for a new season. Bulbs are starting to pop through as they get ready to delight us all with welcome additional colour to our baskets, pots and borders. We’ve been giving thought to just some of the jobs that need tackling this month –
Check Your Tools
A good place to start as we prepare for Spring, now is the perfect time to just check everything is working well. You may have blades that need sharpening or replacing. If your lawn mower or strimmer needs servicing it’s worth booking it in now, ahead of everyone else so you are ready to go and not anxiously waiting to get the lawn mowed or strim that hedge! Whilst you’re at it you could also tidy the shed, you’ll be glad you did before life in the garden gets busy.
Prepare Your Compost Area
Give your compost heap a turn this month. Turning will aerate and stimulate the heap.Too dry – continue adding wet kitchen waste, and water it occasionally.Too wet – add more carbon-rich stuff such as twigs, crumpled cardboard and paper waste. If you have a worm bin make sure it is still wrapped up and feed only occasionally as the worms will be hardly eating at all in the chilly weather.
Consider installing a water butt now ready for the summer. Rainwater is particularly useful for watering acid-loving, ericaceous plants (tap water is often slightly alkaline) and it also contains nitrates and organic matter, so it feeds and nourishes the plants as you’re watering them.
Buy New Compost
Get ready for this year’s sowing and growing. Last year’s compost will have deteriorated but is still good to spread over the garden or lawn. It’s best to get new for the coming season, ideally environmentally friendly peat free compost with a good moisture and nutrient retention, as it reduces the need for watering whilst also encouraging healthy, lush growth.
Invest in a Soil Testing Kit
Finding out what soil type you have can be really useful when planning and choosing the right plants for your garden. They are over 90% accurate and are a fast and economical way for home gardeners to improve nutrient management in their gardens.
Get Tidying Up & Pruning
If your winter flowering shrubs such as viburnum have finished flowering, now is the perfect time to prune them.Trim winter-flowering heathers as the flowers disappear, to prevent plants becoming leggy.You can also remove any faded flowers from winter pansies to stop them setting seed. This will encourage a flush of new flowers when the weather warms up.
Check your climbers too as some of these may need pruning before the end of the month and if you have a rhododendron there is still time to tidy it up whilst they are dormant. You can also move any deciduous trees or shrubs that need repositioning provided the soil is not frozen or waterlogged. Remember to also check for the fungal disease Hellebore leaf spot (rounded brown spots on the leaves) and remove any leaves that are affected. Don’t allow dead, infected leaves to remain around the plants, as this will cause infection in the following season.
Check Trees and Shrubs
Replace, tighten or slacken any ties where necessary. Newly planted trees and shrubs may need re-firming if they have been lifted by frost or by strong winds. Remove weeds from around the base of young trees. Put rabbit guards around newly planted trees (and shrubs) to protect them. Rabbits can do a lot of damage as they like to eat the leaves etc. but they do tend to stop as trees and plants become more established so protection in the early stages of growth is a good idea.
Get a Plug Plan
The days can still be chilly, cold and wet but there are some February garden jobs that you can also do from the comfort of your armchair whilst enjoying the warmth of the fire. Start thinking about plug plants (these are basically a halfway house between a seed and a fully grown plant) they are now online to order so now is the perfect time to draw up a garden plan and decide on quantities. Do a little bit of research on how to keep them as you can start by putting them out in the day and bringing them in at night so they toughen up ready for planting.
A final note: If you missed any jobs in our January garden jobs, February is still a great time to get many of these done. If you haven’t already done so and use Facebook you might want to consider joining The Golden Valley Patch – this is a growing community of gardeners who can ask a question to us or each other, share ideas and tips and get access to offers and discounts.