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February Gardening Calendar

February Gardening Calendar

February is a month that can vary widely from year to year in the Southern Great Lakes Region. Some years, February is an extension of January, merely a flip of the calendar page. Other years, February is a preview of spring, with rainy days and a few pop-up flowers. It is really a roll of the dice; one never really knows what February might bring, or the March that follows.

Just when winter starts to wear thin, Valentine’s Day comes to the rescue. Young and old alike participate in the exchange of Valentine cards, gifts, dinners, and nights out on the town. Whatever it might mean to an individual, this little holiday offers a mental break from the sameness of routine that winter brings.

Many of the same gardening chores of January follow into February. But, this is also the time of year when the tide starts to turn for the gardener. Some plants can be started for the upcoming spring season, and there are some other chores that can be tackled towards the end of the month. Let’s see what the short month of February brings:

1.  Continue to order early from mail order sources. Many choice plant items sell out quickly, and many early ordering bonuses end in February.

2.  Continue to bring in pre-chilled pots of spring flowering bulbs for early season floral displays.

3.  If the snow melts and the lawn in matted, gently rake up the lawn to help get air circulation down to the crowns of the grass plants.

4.  Continue to fill bird feeders and maintain an open-water source of drinking water for the birds.

5.  Inspect flowerbeds during the thaw cycles for signs of frost heave. Place the plants back into the ground, and when the ground refreezes, apply mulch.

6.  Remove any storm-damaged branches from trees and shrubs, pruning away cleanly.

7.  Towards the end of the month and into March, pruning can begin now on deciduous trees, fruit trees, and grapes.

8.  Reapply anti-desiccant to broadleaf evergreens and exposed rose canes one more time. Do this when the temperature is above 40 degrees.

9.  Continue to inspect young trees for rodent and rabbit damage. Make sure tree wraps and tree guards are holding up to winter weather. Inspect windbreaks as well.

10. Crack open coldframes on sunny, warm days to vent. Again, check for any signs of trouble such as too wet, too dry conditions, diseases, etc.

11. Continue to check tubers, corms, and other summer “bulbs” for disease and excessive drying out. Mist the holding medium and bulbs if they are becoming too dry.

12. Towards the end of the month, branches of many early flowering shrubs such as forsythia and pussy willow can be taken indoors for forcing.

13. Check houseplants for heat stress. Maintain adequate humidity and light levels. Water appropriately.

14. Continue to remove newly fallen snow from evergreen branches and other shrubs and trees that can suffer breakage from the weight of the snow.

15. Some seeds of early plants or those plants that require a long indoor growth period can be started. These include pansies, seed geraniums, and seed-started begonias. Get a book or magazine with a timetable to help determine when to start seeds. For example, if your average last frost date is April 20 and a plant requires twelve weeks before the last frost date to reach transplant size, count back those twelve weeks from April 20 to determine when to start seeds.

Some of my favorite seed sources

Herbs: basil, scallion

Various Veggies

I figured this could go hand-in-hand with my posting about online and mail order shopping.

Here are some really great places to do a bit of winter dreaming and buying for your gardening needs:

Pinetree Seeds

It would be hard to top this company. A tremendous selection of vegetables, spices, herbs, flowers, and and and!!

The best things after the quality and wealth of offerings are the prices. Many of the seed packets offered are less than a dollar, many are an ounce or more of seeds, you simply cannot go wrong here!!

Reimer Seeds

Reimer Seeds, based out of North Carolina, is a great all-around seed source. Offering many favorites and some unusual seeds at fair prices, Reimer Seeds offers a loyalty points programs for customers to save even more on future orders.

The Cook’s Garden

From Warminster, PA, The Cook’s Garden is, indeed as its site states, ” Dedicated to cooks who love to garden and gardeners who love to cook.”

Emphasis here is on culinary herbs, vegetables, edible flowers, and anything for the gardener who also enjoys cooking. There are also other flowers and plants available. An added bonus: Recipes for the gourmet gardener as well.

Artistic Gardens/Le Jardin du Gourmet

If you are like me, a big bone of contention is receiving a humongous packet of seeds when only a few are needed. Sometimes they carry over for another year, sometimes, they don’t despite seed saving efforts.

Artistic Gardens/Le Jardin du Gourmet, offers many varieties not found elsewhere for the dedicated kitchen gardener. Seed packs for samples start at 35 cents apiece. This makes it very easy to buy many different “bits of this and that.” Also offered are flowers and herbs, bulbs and plants.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seed

Sooner or later, most gardeners will try their hand at old and proven varieties of flowers, herbs, and vegetables. Baker Creek offers many old varieties, many with great disease resistance and old-time color, fragrance, form, and flavor. I highly recommend them!

Johnny’s Selected Seeds

Another great company with a good reputation. Johnny’s Selected Seeds offers many great offerings across the spectrum. It is one of the few places where I was able to find Hungarian Paprika Peppers. Perhaps a bit more expensive than some other places, it is still competitive and Johnny’s seeds have never failed to grow for me. Well worth the price.

Pantry Garden Herbs

If you love herbs, this is THE place to browse! The selection is great, the prices are fair. For herbal gardeners everywhere. I highly recommend this site!


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