What to do in the Garden: February

We are now into the 2nd month of 2015 and we’ve seen little, if any, “normal” circumstances. We saw a big fat zero inches of rain in January, and very few days of frost (not actually complaining about this- I hate the cold). By the end of this month, we will have gained an hour of daylight, and I’m looking forward to being able to walk though the yard, maybe even do a few garden chores, after I get home from work. With this changing environment, its hard to know what to do when, but here are the general tasks for February.

The Northern California & Sonoma County February Checklist:

  • Plant flowering shrubs & vines. Now is the time to get jasmine, azaleas, daphne, hardenbergia, lilac, clematis, roses and the like in the ground.
A butterfly bush, hydrangea, and jasmine- needing to find a place in the garden. And photobombed by the elusive Gale.
A butterfly bush, hydrangea, and jasmine- needing to find a place in the garden. And photobombed by the elusive Gale. She disapproves. As always. 
  • Prune summer blooming hedges & shrubs. Rejuvenate summer bloomers, like butterfly bushes, by cutting back woody stems.
  • Plant summer blooming bulbs, like dahlias and gladiolus.
  • Mulch before weeds take over. The warm weather and somewhat still-wet ground is prime weed conditions. Use sheet-mulching to prevent weeds colonizing on bare ground, or to kill current weeds.
  • Feed. Give fall-planted perennials, established trees and shrubs a boost with a 10-10-10 fertilizer. Nourish citrus with special formulated citrus formula. Wait until azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons have bloomed to give them an acid loving formula.
  • Plant spring flowers. Seed or plant starts of early blooming plants, like poppies, calendula and sweet peas. Kings Nursery has a great selection of sweet peas right now.
For May bouquets, plant sweet peas now!
For May bouquets, plant sweet peas now!
  • Divide perennials on summer and fall bloomers, like agapantha, aster and Shasta daises before spring growth starts.
  • Watch for frost. With our mid-70 degrees we are having, its hard to imagine we could get frost, but we could! Despite the Spring-like weather, we are still technically still in Winter, and February can be one of the coldest months. Technically.
  • Water if needed. Normally, February gets inches of rain, but so far 2015 is not looking good. Its sad to say this, but without rain, it may be necessary to water. Consider capturing water from the bathtub or from washing veggies to supplement irrigation. I’m watering the asparagus and strawberry bed, about once a week, but holding off on the brassica beds because they are almost finished. But I have faith, my birthday is at the end of the month and it has rained on 90% of my birthdays. And, the forecast also says we have a chance for later this week!
  • Buy seed potatoes, for planting out in March. Buy locally from Harmony, or order online from Peaceful Valley for the best selection. Fancy varieties sell out fast, so as soon as they are available, stock up! Don’t try to plant potatoes from the store, as they are sprayed with an anti-sprouting agent, but ones grown last year or from an organic vendor at a Farmers Market are probably safe.
shopping for potatoes
shopping for potatoes at Harmony Farm Supply, Feb. 10, 2014
  • Plant Spring veggies, like lettuce, beets, carrots, spinach and peas, by either seed or starts.
  • Start Summer veggies from seed inside. Perhaps the best part of February is starting seeds of tomatoes, eggplants and peppers! Most veggies need to be started around 8 weeks before the last frost, which for my area, is the middle of February. Later this week I’ll post a complete timeline & countdown on when to start seeds for the correct pre/post last frost date.
starting tomato seeds
February started tomato seeds, 2014

Personal homesteading tasks include taking down the exterior Christmas lights (don’t worry, they aren’t still ON!), continuing working on the fence, continuing on weed control, getting gutters on the hen house, and preparing a space for rain barrels. I’m also accepting birthday wishes and drinks all month long!

I grow plants for many reasons: to please my eyes or to please my soul, to challenge the elements or to challenge my patience, for novelty or for nostalgia, but mostly for the joy in seeing them grow. – David Hobson

gardening checklist, february


9 thoughts on “What to do in the Garden: February

  1. I just planted potatoes yesterday that I purchased at the store. They’re organic and were already sprouting in the pantry. They should work, right?

      1. Oh, yes. They don’t get planted until April or so, but the year I grew them last I got fifty pounds to last the winter. When’re your first/last frost dates?

      2. You’re only a month shorter on season, but we definitely have you on humidity. Perhaps if you venture into cold frames you could attempt to repurpose them into steam machines 😉

      3. Oh! And they might be hard to source, but varieties of sweet potatoes grow in Japan and also in Peru, so there may be hope yet, just not for the standard American varieties.

      4. I have thought of covering a bed with hoops and plastic, to keep in humidity, but I think getting the slips would be the hardest part. Any of the suppliers I’ve found won’t ship sweet potatoes to CA! I think I’d have to try and sprout my own from organic grocery store ones. One day, when I have “extra space!”

  2. I’ve nominated you for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.

    Take care and happy blogging to ya, from Laura ~ ❤

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