February lies in the depths of winter, so your February garden jobs may still be thin on the ground. However, as anticipation builds for Spring, there are things we can get on with to prepare for March.
By February you can just start to see the days drawing out a little, and the odd day calls you outside with a beam or two of sunshine. I do enjoy taking five minutes outside with a cuppa and the sun on my face in the morning before starting work.
So with the intention of being ready for busier times in March, here is our list of February garden jobs to get on with.
Clean digging tools
Having prepared your cutting tools last month, now we can get our digging tools ready for use.
Your spade is another of those tools that should be expected to last a lifetime. So choose carefully, picking one that feels comfortable to use and keep it maintained if you want to realise that expectation.
Back to cleaning, and this is a relatively quick job to get done. Grab your spade or fork and give it a run over with a stiff brush to remove any dirt. Stand it in a bucket of soapy water and give the metal areas another brushing to get them nice and clean before standing it up to dry.
Once dry, apply a little oil to the metal area and to the handle, if it is wooden.
Clean and prepare pots
Most of us have a number of pots that spend the winter sitting empty around the garden or shed. Its a good idea to give these a good clean to get them ready for this year’s plants or trees.
Firstly, make sure that you aren’t disturbing any wildlife taking refuse in the pile or stack of pots. If anything is nesting in there, leave it in place for a while longer.
In order to prevent the spread of any disease, you need to ensure that the pot is cleaned thoroughly. We use a three stage process for this:
Stage 1. Using a stiff-bristled hand brush, give the pot a good rub over inside and out to remove any soil, dirt or organic plant matter.
Stage 2. Prepare a bucket of hot water and washing up liquid solution. Dip the stiff hand brush in the water and give the pot a scrub over. Do this inside and out, making sure the pot is thoroughly clean.
Stage 3. Stack the pots to dry, allowing air to flow through and around them.
For the Galanthophiles among us, February is the time for snowdrops. You have to admire snowdrops, one of the first plants to push through the ground – they always bring a smile to my face.
Once they’ve finished flowering, and the foliage is starting to yellow, you can easily divide your snowdrops for a greater display next year.
Simply dig up a clump once the flowers have gone over and shake of excess soil from the bulbs. Divide the bulbs onto two or three smaller clumps and replant them around the garden leaving the leaves on to die back naturally.
Plant bare root trees
Bare root trees are excellent value for money but they are only available for short periods. Now is a great time to plant any bare root trees that you wish to add to your garden.
To plant them, dig a hole to the correct depth in the desired location. Place the tree in the whole, making sure that you’ve picked the right aspect of the tree to face the front. Add some bone-meal fertiliser to the hole and backfill with soil, firming the tree in with your heel.
If extra support is required, add a stake and tie the tree in to prevent windrock from disturbing the roots. Don’t forget to water in well and apply a generous layer of mulch.
Visit the garden centre
I’m sure you don’t really need to be told to visit a garden centre. But now is a good time to get some inspiration for the year ahead, and also to see which trees or plants look good at this time of year.
You can also pick up any compost, soil additives or gravels that you think you will need for the coming months.
Make the most of your time while you can and before the warmer weather arrives. It is understandable to want to get out there, but before too long the garden will make a claim on any free time you may have.
Why not plan ahead and take a look at the RHS show dates for this year? You can pre-order tickets if there are any that you fancy going to for inspiration.
Don’t forget Valentines day on the 14th, you wouldn’t want to be in the dog house. Those RHS show tickets may be a good gift option.
The final item on our February garden jobs list is to keep those bird feeders topped up to keep them visiting your garden.
Scarfs at the ready and see you again next month!