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What to do Now

February Gardening Tips

Winter is a difficult time for houseplants. The reduced light and humidity can take their toll this time of year. Locate your plants where they will receive the most light and mist them daily or place them on humidity trays. Your plants will also need less water and do not fertilize at this time of year unless you are using grow lights. Inspect plants for insects each time you water. Insect pests can rapidly increase in number inside the home. Use Espoma Earth-tone insect control if insects or mites are present. Wipe dusty foliage clean with a damp cloth or use a leaf-shine aerosol.

Grape and kiwi vines can be pruned now - remove any branches thinner than a pencil and prune out excess wood. Leave about 20 fruit buds on the vines this is enough for a good harvest and will keep vines manageable. Late February is the time to begin spraying dormant fruit trees to prevent problems with pests and diseases later in the season. Wait until we have had 2 days over 40 degrees to begin spraying. You can use Organocide, neem oil or a formulated fruit tree spay. Be sure to thoroughly coat the branches and buds with spray. Do this on warm days over 40 degrees so the spray remains in solution. If weather gets in the way you can keep your mix warm by keeping it inside over night. Prune out any diseased wood you find.

Plan Your Vegetable Garden:
Rows should be on a north-south axis. Plant perennial crops like rhubarb and asparagus along one side out of the way they get large with time. Group early and quick maturing crops together. Locate tall crops like corn so they will not shade other plants. Remember to rotate crops each year to prevent disease and pest problems. Crop rotation means locating plants of the same family in different areas of your garden year to year. If this is not possible grow some in containers for a year.

Perennials and Annuals:
Plant hellebores you received as holiday gifts late this month. Hellebores are resentful of too much moisture.
Plant some pansies to freshen up winter containers.

Trees and shrubs:
Plan on adding some winter interest trees and shrubs this spring to add cheer next winter. Cut branches of forsythia, apricot, cherry, peach or apples for forcing indoors.