This is our February gardening guide, that suggests which gardening tasks, you should consider doing in the month of February.
Many gardeners consider the month of February to be one of the wettest months of the year. However that is actually a bit of a gardening myth. February usually has more dry days than wet ones.
It does vary from place to place throughout the United Kingdom, but February is actually a useful gardening month. In reality the UK will tend to suffer from both North and Easterly winds, so it tends to be a frosty month.
While that is useful for breaking up the soil, it is far from ideal for any early growing. You need to consider any outdoor growing attempts with great care.
Generally speaking February is a good month for digging up and loosening soil with a fork, to let any frost help you with this task. This is also a good month to apply any well rotted manure.
If you have areas of heavier soil, this is also a good month to condition those with a seaweed conditioner. Many gardeners use this month to apply lime to give a little acidity to their soil. It works really well on heavier soil types.
Many gardeners use this time to test their soil before applying anything to it. Small soil testing kits are a cheap purchase and can help a lot for treating your soil the right way.
The majority of garden plants have the best growth in soil with a ph rating of between 6.4 to 6.8 on a soil testing kit.
What Gardening Tasks Should You Have in Your Plan?
Much of the advice we offer here is heavily dependent on the weather. One thing you can always do is to loosen up the soil with a fork, and allow any frost to help cultivate the ground.
If you didn't have the opportunity to tidy up your tools and clean them in January, then February is also a good time to do that type of task.
The UK Flower Garden in February
It draws ever closer to planting time. Depending on the weather you can plant out in February but you would be strongly advised to leave this to late February. Keep any eye though on the longer distance weather forecast for any late frosts.
In Scotland, Northern Ireland and the North of England, we would not plant at this time, and late March is simply a much safer bet. This is really all about the temperature of the soil.
If you do plant later in the month, then offer some night time protection with glass or cloches of some kind. You can also scatter a little ash or grit to ward off slugs.
February is a good time to move any deciduous shrubs, herbaceous plants and ferns, but only do that on sunny mild days. (never if there is a chance of frost) Lift these with plenty of soil around them to protect the roots.
If you are lucky enough to get a few dry days in a row, then that is a great time to do your weeding and to firm in any flower beds or borders.
Space large bulbs well apart and check any plants for disease or damage from slugs. If you don't mind using slug pellets, then this is a good time to get those down.
The Vegetable Garden
If you plan on sowing any type of vegetable in February, it is all about making sure the soil temperature is right. Before any type of planting, the temperature should be 10 degrees Celsius or above.
The soil should have also started to dry out. If the temperature is below this or the soil is still too wet, then growth may fail or be very slow to germinate. If the February temperature is above this with no signs of frost, then you are good to sow.
This is a good time to grow beans and early peas. You can also start your parsnips, spinach, garlic asparagus, and lettuce. We also know this is a great time to get your first batch of potatoes in the ground.
All of this is of course if the weather is on your side.
The Fruit Garden
You may already know, but just in case, never let bush fruits or fruit trees carry a crop in their very first year.
- Blackcurrant bushes should be pruned back hard to the second bud on the shoots.
- You can also cut back the canes of newly planted raspberries to about 6" above the ground.
- You can also prune newly planted gooseberry bushes to about 3" from the base.
- You can also spray nectarines and peaches to prevent leaf curl and fungus.
- Protect your precious fruit from the birds at this early stage. If you are prone to getting rabbits in your garden, then you should also protect the tree trunks of your fruit trees.
February Garden Summary
Just like December and January, February is a month of activity that is primarily dictated by the weather. In the North of the UK it is more difficult to sow and grow as the soil temperature is typically too low.
Your biggest problem is almost always going to be the rain. This is a time when the UK can get a lot of rain. If that is the case all you can really do is try and make sure that your drainage is as good as it can be.
If nothing else you can at least get a sense of where your main wet spots are. That will allow you to plan where you may need to provide some extra drainage.