Sunday, October 4, 2009

What To Do In The Garden For February

By Kent Higgins

In Northern United States and Canada

Finish pruning grapevines without delay and, if mild weather makes it possible to work without discomfort, continue pruning other fruits and deciduous ornamentals. Cut branches of Forsythia, Bush Honeysuckle, Cornelian Cherry, Peach, Quince, Pussy Willow and other Spring-flowering trees and shrubs and stand them in containers of water indoors to delight you with fresh blooms which develop in one to four weeks.

Plants of Bleeding Hearts, Astilbes, Lily-of-the-valley and Hostas, potted in Fall and buried to their rims in a bed of sand or peat moss outdoors, may now be brought inside and forced. Continue to bring in for forcing successive batches of potted Spring-flowering bulbs, Hyacinths, Daffodils and Tulips. Check your perennials to make sure that they have not been heaved out of the soil by frost action. Take advantage of mild weather to press back into place any that have. See that Winter covering remains in place and does not become excessively packed so that air is excluded.

Toward the end of the month, in milder sections, dormant spraying may be done whenever the temperature is above 40 degrees and there is no chance of its dropping below freezing the night following application. In colder areas do not apply dormant sprays until March. From now until Spring give increasingly careful attention to coldframes. Ventilate whenever the temperature is above freezing. Cover frames housing somewhat tender plants, such as English Wallflowers, at night.

In greenhouses, attend to the repotting of foliage plants such as Palms, Dracaenas, Crotons, Asparagus Ferns and Dieffenbachias. Repot as growth necessitates annuals that are to bloom indoors in Spring. Sow seeds of Snapdragons, Petunias, Verbenas and, toward the end of the month, Cabbage, Cauliflower and Lettuce for earliest crops. Insert cuttings of Lantanas, Heliotropes, Geraniums, Coleus, Begonias and of most plants that are grown from cuttings for use outdoors and indoors. Be sure to take the cuttings from vigorous. disease-free and insect-free plants.

Check every week or two bulbs and roots, such as those of Dahlias and Gladioli, in storage. Remove badly decayed ones. Cut rotted spots out of lightly affected ones and dust wounds with sulfur. Air-layer thick-stemmed house plants, such as Dracaenas, Dieffenbachias and Rubber Plants, that have become too tall. Repot house plants in need of this attention.

In the South

Pruning needs top attention now. Any drastic thinning or cutting back of overgrown shrubs should be done before new growth begins. Other pruning of deciduous trees and shrubs, except those that bloom in early Spring on shoots of the previous year's growth, is in order. Shrubs that bloom on current season's shoots, such as Crape Myrtle and Oleander, may be pruned hard now. Broad-leaf evergreens may be cut back, lightly or severely as judgment suggests, but narrow-leaf evergreens, such as Pines, Jumpers and Cedars, must not be pruned back into old wood.

Complete planting trees, shrubs, Roses and perennials. Divide any perennials you plan to divide. Rake over the lawn, fertilize, reseed bare spots and roll when the ground is medium moist. Sow seeds of hardy vegetables and hardy annuals outdoors. Start Tomatoes, Peppers and Eggplants indoors or in a hotbed.

On the West Coast

Renovate lawns by fertilizing, adding weep hose, reseeding if necessary, and by rolling. Plant Roses, ornamental trees and shrubs, such as Camellias, and fruits just before they begin to grow. Cut back and repot Fuchsias. Delay no longer the pruning of Summer-blooming shrubs and add weep hose to water them, such as Ceanothus, Buddleias and Hypericums. . Fertilize perennials and bulbs when they show signs of active growth. Make new plantings of perennials.

Sow seeds of the hardier vegetables, such as Peas, Cabbage, Spinach, Carrots, Lettuce and Turnips as well as of hardy annual flowers as soon as weather permits. Start into growth tubers of Begonias, Cannas, Gloxinias, Achimenes and Calla Lilies.

About the Author:

No comments: