The list of February garden chores is not too long—but it sure is fun. This is the time of year when gardeners have rested up enough from the past season to be excited about what they will grow in 2021. Here are some of the February garden chores to tackle:
Plan Your Garden The other day, I pulled out a sheet of paper and mapped out what I’m going to put where in my vegetable garden. Some gardeners we know create spreadsheets laying out their seed starting schedule, outdoor planting schedule and harvest schedule. These plans are super helpful for anyone wanting to do succession planting. Garden planning may also include deciding where you are going to put in a new shrub or perennial border or which bed or border will get a complete re-do in 2021. Figuring out which plants you want to buy and where you’ll put them is the kind of garden dreaming we all enjoy. If you are planning a major project and want to do the design work yourself, check out the class on sustainable garden design for homeowners offered by MSHS and the University of Minnesota Extension.
Buy Seeds. If you have not bought your vegetable or annual flower seeds yet, don’t delay much longer. We’ve heard of seed companies that are so swamped with orders they have had to shut down ordering temporarily. You may find some popular varieties are out of stock. If your preferred seller is temporarily out of stock or not taking orders, consider alternative seed sources. There are many small seed companies that will be happy to take your order. You may also want to share seeds with friends or fellow gardeners or do a plant or seed swap later in the season. Or, buy seeds from your local garden center or nursery. The only seeds to be starting now are those for onions, leeks or very long-growing annual flowers.
Winter Sow! Have you tried winter sowing yet? It’s a budget-friendly way to start seeds outdoors in the winter without using lights or other equipment. With winter sowing, you create mini-greenhouses using milk jugs and other household supplies and set your seeds outside. As the weather warms, the seeds germinate. Winter sowing can be used for perennial plants as well as vegetables.
Get Your Gear Together. Now is a great time to take inventory of what you will need for the next season, especially if you are doing indoor seed starting. Are your lights working? Do you have those S hooks that always get lost between seasons? How about seed starting mix or potting mix? Next time you are at the garden center or hardware store, be sure to pick up what you will need. Now is also a good time to decide whether you want to add more raised beds, trellises or other structures to your garden. I’m planning to build this cool standing raised bed for growing herbs and using as a cold frame.
Monitor Your Houseplants. As days get longer, your houseplants may be getting more light and starting to grow a bit. Keep an eye out for houseplant diseases and, by the end of the month, begin feeding your houseplants a weak solution of liquid fertilizer every two or three weeks for optimum growth.
Take Inventory. February is a good time to go through the freezer and pantry to see which preserved foods you should plan to eat in the next few moths. This is time when I count my bags of pesto, jars of pickles and relish and anything else that I preserved last year. If you stored squash or other vegetables fresh, check to make sure they aren’t getting soft. Most frozen or canned goods will last a year or more.
Take a Class! Now is the perfect time to learn more about gardening. There are dozens of online classes available. At MSHS, we have a three-part series on vegetable gardening that starts this month with a class on seed starting. In March, we have classes on planting for pollinators and growing culinary ginger! Check out the full list here.