I think it’s safe to say that when February hits, I’m done with Winter and I’m counting the days until Spring. February in Michigan is typically cold and grey, but there’s still plenty of gardening tasks to get off my to-do list before the busy season starts. Here are my top 5 tasks to finish before the end of February.
1. Clean and sharpen garden tools
Tools work better when they’re properly maintained. Your shovels, scuffle hoes, and trowels need to be cleaned and sharpened before the garden season hits high gear.
Check out these videos for some great tool sharpening/maintenance tips:
Grow Organic Peaceful Valley has a great video demonstrating how to sharpen common garden tools.
Garden Answer has a detailed video describing how to clean and sharpen tools.
This Old House has a helpful video showing how to sharpen your lawnmower blade, including tips on how to get the blade off the mower.
2. Disinfect pots and containers
I love growing plants from seeds. I do it every year. I wrote an article about it. To ensure your seedlings get off to a healthy start, it’s important to disinfect the pots and containers you plan to use.
To disinfect my pots, I use a diluted solution of laundry bleach and water. I use 1/3 cup bleach per 1 gallon of water or 2 tablespoons bleach per 1-quart of water. This will give you a disinfecting solution.
3. Order Seeds and Summer Blooming Bulbs
If you have your heart set on having a popular dahlia like Cafe au Lait blooming in your garden this season, you need to order your tubers this month. Popular flowers and blubs sell out quickly so be sure to get your orders placed.
4. Force Spring Blooming Branches
We still have at least 4 months of Winter in my zone so forcing Spring blooming branches is a necessity. Flowering branches like forsythia, redbud, and crab apple can be cut and placed into water. Within a couple of weeks, you’ll have flowering branches to remind you that Spring is just around the corner.
5. Prune Trees and Shrubs
The trees and shrubs in my garden typically get pruned in early Spring. There are a few exceptions like the Snowball viburnum and a few hydrangeas. This month I’ll be pruning my Limelight hydrangeas, Annabelle hydrangeas, tri-colored willow, and red twig dogwood.
I’m making the effort to learn how to prune properly. I purchased two books. The first book, Cass Turnbull’s Guide to Pruning, has great advice on how to avoid common pruning mistakes. The book is filled with helpful information that is easy to follow and understand.
The second book I purchased is Steven Bradley’s Pruning Simplified. This book explains how to prune the 50 most popular trees and shrubs. The book has easy-to-understand diagrams and it describes pruning techniques to keep your trees and shrubs looking healthy.
There you have it. My top 5 tasks to do during February. Happy Gardening!