FEB #15greenmins


You can do anything for 15 minutes … including gardening. Here are the jobs I’m focusing on this month, and the February #15greenmins checklist that you can print out – or make your own for your garden!

In the flower garden

Weed herbaceous borders and remove soggy leaves/stems

Keep on top of those weeds; if you turn a blind eye now, you’ll regret it later. Don’t tidy up too much as the dead stuff acts as a winter duvet to your plants and a refuge for overwintering wildlife, but remove any soggy material to prevent rotting.

If borders aren’t too wet or frozen, keep on top of perennial weeds

Prune hardy trees, evergreen hedges and roses

Early February is the last chance to cut evergreen hedges before the birds start nesting. Also prune hardy trees and roses this month before the sap starts rising.

Tidy ragged bedding plants and winter pot displays

Cut back faded blooms and remove seed heads of pansies, violas and other winter bedding plants to stop them from setting seed. This will encourage a new flush of late-winter/early-spring flowers (see Pansy makeover). Give tired winter displays a booster feed of fertilizer

Cut off faded or curled-up blooms at the bottom of the flower stem, just above the first set of leaves
Cut back faded pansies to stimulate new blooms

Cut old leaves off Hellebores

Remove the dead leaves from Hellebores now to make the flowers more visible and reduce the risk of foliage diseases.

Look after your hellebores for glorious early spring colour

Plant bare-root roses and hedges

If the soil is not too wet or cold, this is an economical way of establishing new roses, creating new hedges or filling the gaps in hedges while the plants are dormant.

Check stakes and plant ties on climbers

Make sure old plant ties are not restricting growth – loosen if necessary to allow for new Spring growth. Replace broken ties and check stakes before plants start growing more vigorously.

Take root cuttings of perennial plants

For herbaceous perennials with fleshy or knobbly roots (e.g. Oriental poppies, Japanese anemones), uncover several roots and remove them as close to the crown as possible. Cut into lengths of 2.5-5 cm and replant around the edges of a pot in compost and grit.

Indoor sowings

Check seed packet sowing times to start tender annuals and perennials indoors or in a heated greenhouse.

In the vegetable garden

Prepare vegetable beds for spring sowings

To prepare vegetable beds for spring, remove weeds and dig in some well-rotted compost. Repair raised beds. If you want to warm the soil in preparation for early spring sowings, cover beds with a plastic sheet.

Vegetable bed mulched with garden compost
Clear and prepare vegetable beds ready for spring sowings

Indoor sowings

Check seed packet sowing times to start tender, slow-growing vegetables (e.g. aubergines, chillis) indoors or in a heated greenhouse.

Waiting for germination - seed trays
Check seed packets for sowing times to start sowing vegetables indoors

Buy and chit seed potatoes

Chit seed potatoes on a window sill (old egg boxes make great chitting containers) ready for spring planting.

Chitted potatoes, ready to plant
Egg boxes are ideal containers for chitting potatoes

Plant shallot sets

Shallot sets can be planted a lot earlier than onion sets. Plant in well-spaced rows in a sunny well-drained spot, with the papery tips just visible

In the fruit garden

Prune fruit trees and bushes

Prune apple, crab apple and pear trees while they are dormant, between leaf fall and bud burst, to maintain an open structure and remove any diseased or damaged branches. It is also the ideal month to prune grape vines and blueberry and gooseberry bushes etc.

Prune apple trees while they are dormant

Prune autumn-fruiting raspberry canes

Cut autumn-fruiting raspberry canes to the ground to stimulate new canes. You can also cut the tips of summer-fruiting raspberry canes now, just above a bud, if they have grown above your supports.

Cut autumn-fruiting raspberries to the ground in February
Cut autumn-fruiting raspberry canes to the ground

Split and force rhubarb crowns

Split rhubarb crowns just before or as new growth appears to maintain vigorous growth and prevent overcrowding. For early, sweet, forced rhubarb, cover the crowns with a pot to block out light.

Plant bare-root raspberry and blackberry canes

Raspberries and blackberries are best planted as bare-root canes any time between late October and early March. Try to avoid planting if the ground is frozen or waterlogged though.

Other jobs

Protect non-hardy plants from frost and snow

Keep an eye on the weather forecast (anything can happen in February) and protect non-hardy plants with fleece or by bringing them indoors or into the greenhouse.

Fleeced plants
Protect non-hardy plants from frost

Get organised

Clean/tidy pots, organise your shed and order fresh supplies. Decide what you’re going to grow in 2022; bin out-of-date seed packets and order new ones.

Vegetable seed packets
Decide what you’re going to sow this year

Ventilate greenhouses and cold frames

Open up greenhouses and cold frames on dry days to prevent build up of mildew and other nasties

Remove debris from ponds

Remove fallen leaves and other floating debris to prevent it from decomposing in your pond and sinking to the bottom, where it’s more difficult to remove.

Tidy lawns

Keep off frozen lawns, but if the weather is mild you may be able to give the grass a light trim with the blades on the mower set high. Trim and shape the edges too.

Clear snow from paths and branches

If the snow and ice arrive, use sand, bird seed or sawdust on icy paths; avoid using salt, as it can damage plants. Clear heavy snow from branches if it is likely to damage/break them.

Feed the birds

Keep your bird tables and feeders topped up. Your birds really need your help at this time of year. Make sure they have access to clean, fresh water too.

Blue tit on nuts
Keep feeding the birds

Comments are closed.