Time for Shopping
Order tubers of Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus)
Design a flower bed for a shady area plant this at spring and summer. Plan to try impatiens, foxglove, begonia, and browallia.
Order perennial plants and bulbs now for cut flowers this summer. Particularly good choices are phlox, daisy, dahlia, cosmos, aster, gladiolus, and lily.
Set out summer flowering bulbs like amaryllis, calla, canna, dahlia, gladiolus, lily, tuberose, tuberous
begonia, and tiger flower. Plant bare-root vegetables such as artichoke, asparagus, horseradish, and rhubarb
Plant spring flowering perennials. Choose from alstroemeria, bleeding heart, coral bells, campanula, euryops, and perennial dianthus
Plant bare-root ornamentals such as roses, shade trees and vines.
Handle seed packets carefully. Rubbing the outside to determine how many seeds are inside can break the protective seed coats, thereby reducing germination.
Start the tubers indoors during late February or early March. Sprout the tubers by placing them, hollow side up, fairly close together in shallow, well-drained pans. Use a mix of equal parts perlite, sphagnum, peat moss, and vermiculite; or chopped sphagnum moss and perlite. This should be kept damp (not soggy) in a shady window where it is very cool in temperature, but not freezing.
Transplant the tubers to pots or baskets when growth starts, normally within 3 weeks. Place outside only after all threat of frost has passed.
Ageratum, begonia, marigold, and petunia seeds can be started indoors now. Sprinkle the small seeds sparingly onto moist soil and gently press them in.
Start herb seeds now in your own mini-greenhouse made from a plastic soda bottle or milk carton.
Pot up a few clumps of crocuses from the garden as they emerge. In a sunny spot indoors, they will develop blooms before the ones outside.
Fertilize spring-blooming flowers and fall-planted annuals and perennials. Wait to feed azaleas, camellias, and rhododendrons until after bloom; use an acid based fertilizer. Finish pruning cane berries, deciduous fruit trees, grapes, roses, and wisteria by midmonth. Repot cymbidiums that are bulging out of their pots. Do this between mid-February and July. Fertilize deciduous fruit trees two to three weeks before they flower. Feed other mature trees and shrubs as new growth starts. Wait to prune spring-flowering deciduous ornamentals like forsythia and quince, and spring-flowering shrubs until after they flower. Prune roses and most other deciduous shrubs.
Continue covering frost-sensitive outdoor plants. Don't let the covering touch the leaves, and remove it in the morning. If the soil dries out against a house under the eaves where rain rarely reaches, water well during a thaw to prevent loss of plants. Remember that plants require water during the winter to replace water lost due to wind desiccation and lack of rain or snow.
Watch for signs of growth in early spring bulbs. When foliage is 1 inch (2.5 cm) high, gradually start removing the mulch. Cloudy days are best for the initial exposure of the leaves to strong sunlight which can burn tender foliage.
Check stored bulbs, tubers, and corms. Discard any that are soft or diseased.
Repair and paint window boxes, lawn furniture, and other items in preparation for outdoor gardening and recreational use.
Late February is a good time to air-layer such house plants as dracaena, dieffenbachia, fatsia, and rubber plant, especially if they have grown too tall and leggy.
Avoid walking on grass or ground covers while they are frozen. The frozen leaves are brittle and easily damaged.
Weed and Pest Control
Apply dormant oil or spray neem oil on deciduous plants whose buds are still closed.
Horticultural oil kills over-wintering insects; lime sulphur or fixed copper spray controls many diseases.
Continue slug and snail control by removing their hiding places; clean up leaf litter.
As weeds germinate, hand-pull, hoe or apply a pre-emergence or weed killer.
For weed control in bulb or seedling beds apply a 2-inch (5 cm) layer of mulch
All those jobs can by done by Sunny Gardens, just contact us for details of garden maintenance, landscaping and design.