Have you had enough of winter? Maybe not, given the warm days we’ve had here lately. The high this past Tuesday was in the mid-70s!
But even when cold weather returns, that’s no excuse to sit inside if you’re a gardener. There are still things that need to be done ahead of the prime growing months, if you’re going to be ready.
The North Carolina State Extension’s Master Gardener program has put out some suggestions for what gardeners in Mecklenburg County ought to be doing in February. Here are some of them:
- Now is the time to plan. Reassess your garden. What did well last year, and what didn’t. Consider Adding new plants, or ditching the ones that underperformed. Figure out what’s suited to your soil texture, pH, drainage and sun and shade patterns. Focus on plants that grow well in our USDA planting zone (7B-8A).
- Watch for signs of growth in early spring bulbs. When they are about an inch high, start removing mulch, and fertilize the emerging bulbs.
- Plant seeds of Columbine, Foxglove, Coreopsis, Phlox, Daisies, Blackberry Lily.
- Spread wood ashes on bulb beds, vegetable beds, and non-acid-loving plants.
- Feed pansies in late February.
- Wait until new growth emerges before cutting back Lantana and Salvia.
- Trim away dead leaves and stems from Asters, Coreopsis and Rudbeckia.
- Clean up Lenten Roses and Epimedium. Remove old, dead and dying leaves to reveal the flowers.
But enough about flowers. For those of you who want to be able to eat what you grow, here’s what you should be doing now:
- Plan and purchase vegetable seeds before spring planting season.
- Sow seeds of cool-season vegetables – like kale, chard, spinach and peas – after the 15th.
- Create your own culinary theme garden with seeds for the cuisine you favor.
- For Oriental cooking, choose snow peas, green onions, Daikon radish, Chinese cabbage, and long, thin eggplant.
- For French, include haricot vert green beans, Courgette zucchini, mini-carrots, Butterhead lettuce, and the herbs chervil and French tarragon.
- Indian cuisine needs shell peas, fiery peppers and cumin.
Take the necessary steps now to enjoy bountiful harvests in the months to come.