February Monthly Tips
The Flower Garden
- February is bulb planting month. Daffodils, Freesias, Ixias, Anemones, Sparaxis, Ranunculus can all be planted now, in pots or directly into the garden. When planting in the garden incorporate some Bulb Food into the soil around each bulb. In pots mix in some controlled release fertiliser such as Osmocote or Acticote. As a rule of thumb the bigger the bulb the deeper you plant it – about twice as deep as the size of the bulb. More on Spring Bulbs.
- Towards the end of the month, start thinking about preparing pots and baskets for their winter displays. Start with fresh container mix, adding in some extra controlled release fertiliser. Seedlings of Alyssum, Lobelia, Pansy, Primulas, Viola will all be available this month to get you started.
- Trim back the long tendrils on Wisteria and other climbing plants that have finished flowering.
- Continue to dead head roses, perennials and annuals as the flowers finish. This will help prolong flowering into the autumn.
- In this drier period small thrip insects thrive. They especially like Fuchsias, Camellias, Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Photinias, and Gladioli. Spray with ‘Yates Mavrik’ to control these and other insect pests and diseases. More on sprays or More on Organic sprays.
The Edible Garden
- This is officially the last month of summer, but in warmer climates there’s still time to plant more lettuce seedlings that will continue providing a crop into Autumn.
- Start thinking about the Autumn/Winter garden. As the summer crops are harvested dig over the soil, adding in compost and a dressing of lime, in preparation for winter crops.
- You can now start planting out seedlings of cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, leeks, celery and Brussels sprouts. See the Whanganui vegetable planting plan.
- Continue harvesting summer veggies regularly. If you have powdery mildew on courgettes, cucumbers and pumpkins, this can be controlled with ‘Yates Fungus Fighter,’ one of the new environmentally friendly products used to control plant disorders.
- Sowing seeds is an economical and fun way to start off your winter vege garden. In February sow the following seeds – beetroot, carrots, parsnips, spring onion, and silverbeet. Sow carrots and parsnips directly into the ground and thin as the leaves emerge. Other seeds can be sown in seed trays and planted out into the garden as young seedlings. More on sowing seeds (video)
- Keep an eye out for white butterfly caterpillars and dust affected plants with derris dust.
- Lift garlic and onions and lie out in the sun to dry.