“February is an important month in the gardening calendar. You have 28 days to look after your wild birds, sow and grow and tackle your garden moss.”Paraic
The age old question… when does spring really begin? If you’re a meteorologist, spring begins on the 1st of March. If you’re an astronomer, spring begins on the 20th of March. But, if you’re a gardener, spring begins on the 1st of February.
Although February is the shortest month, it can also be the most important in the gardening calendar. It is a very active month in the garden. It is a great time to catch up on your gardening and prepare for spring and summer. February is the month for renewal and regrowth; here I outline my top tips for looking after your garden in February.
Look After Your Wild Birds
- Birds begin to nest in early spring so they can take advantage of the warmer months to raise their young. Hence, February is a good time to clean out your nesting boxes. You should also add some high-protein feeds to their bird feeders and tables. Read about the benefits of a wild bird presence in your garden here.
Sow and Grow
- February is an ideal time to sow seeds. You can grow Tomato, Chilli and Cucumber indoors on a warm windowsill or patio. They can then be replanted into larger pots in March or April. Your reward will be succulent and healthy home-grown fruits in mid summer.
- Paraic’s Tip: a reusable coffee cup is ideal for sprouting seeds. Simply fill the cup with moist compost, sow the seeds on top and cover with the lid. Place the cup on a bright window sill. The plants will sprout in 7 days.
- Onions can be planted at this time. If planting from seed, keep inside until their stems reach 4-5 inches in length. They can then be transplanted outdoors in February/March.
- Seeds of Scented Sweet Peas and Cottage Garden Plants can also be sown indoors in a bright, warm location. They can then be replanted outdoors in late spring. These plants will then add a beautiful variety of colour to your garden borders and beds during the summer.
- The soil conditions at the moment are ideal for planting shrubs, fruiting plants and trees. If you’re looking to plant hedging plants, Beech and Laurel hedging are excellent options. However, if you live in a coastal area, I would suggest planting either Silver Edge or Elaeagnus, as coastal areas require salt tolerant shrubs.
- It’s time to select and sprout this years early seed potatoes for a bumper crop of great tasting new potatoes in early summer. One of my favourite varieties is the Red Duke of York. It has an outstanding flavour and is perfect for growing in patio pots and potato planters. As a stable food in our diet, potatoes are a smart choice this year. The crop will provide for your family for the year ahead.
Moss removal is an important job to focus on in February. The build up of moss during the winter can be problematic. It gathers on our lawns, driveways, tarmacadam, roof tiles, fences, patios, stones, and bricks. Luckily, there are a range of products you can use to remove moss from your outdoor areas. Paraic’s Lawn Care: Steps to Success has all the information you need for a lush green lawn this Spring.
- Treat your lawn moss on a dry day with Zero Lawn Liquid. Simply, apply the Zero lawn treatment to your entire lawn area and watch the moss die away. One week later, apply a dressing of Osmo Lawn Feed which will green your lawn without forcing growth.
- Treat the moss on your driveway, tarmacadam, roof tiles, fence, patio, stones, and/or bricks with PAC. Just mix 1 part of PAC biodegradable liquid with 10 parts water and apply to the affected area. PAC will kill algae, moss, mould and/or lichen within days and the area you have cleaned will remain clean for months.
February is a very active month in the garden. But, with action comes reward. You must plant before you harvest and prepare before you succeed. Invest in your garden now to reap the benefits throughout the year.
Not to be missed: Paraic will feature live on Ireland AM (9.30am) on Wednesday 5th February and on the Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk (11.30am) on Wednesday 12th February. He will also be back with his weekly gardening show on Midwest radio, commencing on Saturday March 14th from 9am to 10am.