Mantis’ February gardening calendar explains everything you could need to know about rebuilding and maintaining your plants, flowers, and lawn throughout the end of winter. We create these guides on a monthly basis, so if you are new to our gardening tips, we recommend reading our guides for December and January so you can get an idea of what work you could already have been doing. February’s gardening guide covers lawn care, garden care, and fruit and veg care, amongst other gardening activities. Following this guide will give you a great chance of having a successful growing season in spring. Find out more below.
Lawn Care in February
Mow it – The grass may have now started to grow again in milder climates, so you can give it a mow (weather permitting). Ensure the mower is on a high setting however, so as not to cut it too short and overexpose the roots to any further frosts that might occur. Keep removing worm casts and debris to prevent moss and weeds taking hold.
Look out for moss – If moss does appear, rake it out and then treat it with a proprietary moss killer.
Air it out – If you haven’t already done this in the autumn, do it now as the growing season approaches. Use a rake to aerate the lawn and allow air and moisture to penetrate to the roots. Alternatively, the Mantis Lawn Care Pack for the Mantis Tiller contains an aerator and dethatcher attachment, perfect for preparing your lawn in this way.
Beware frost damage – As mentioned in previous months, beware of walking on the lawn when it is frosty or covered in snow as this will damage the grass beneath.
Garden Care in February
Get Pruning – There is plenty of pruning to do in February. Your wisteria (if not already done) needs cutting down to just 2 or 3 buds on the branches. Clematis that flowers in autumn can now be cut right down to around 18 inches from the ground, leaving 1 or 2 buds as before. Late fruiting raspberries can be cut to 10 inches from the ground and mulch placed around the base to protect from frost.
Get some roses in – Now is the perfect time for planting roses but avoid planting them where roses have been growing previously, as this can result in ‘replant disease’. This disease will either harm the plant or prevent it from growing at all. Resist pruning roses at this time of year as itwill encourage new growth that will just die off in bad weather and possibly affect the next summer’s blooms.
Blow off the snow – Keep removing snowfall off conifers, shrubs, trees and hedges to prevent the weight of it causing damage.
Prepare for seeding – February is the perfect time to prepare an area for grass seeding. Dig it over to a fine tilth (the Mantis Tiller would do this job without breaking your back) then pack it down tight either by trampling on it in your wellies or with a roller. Rake it over and pack it down again. Once the spring arrives, you can rake it over again and throw down the seed.
Protect from frost – Protect your vulnerable shrubs and plants from the frost by covering them with fleece. Raise your potted plants off the ground by placing a piece of wood or bricks beneath them
Prepare your beds – Never do this when the ground is frozen as digging over frozen soil cools it around the roots of plants and prevents early spring growth. Once thawed, mark out where you want your beds to end, either with a spade cut or sand poured from a bottle, and dig over the soil. Dig in any top vegetation around 8 – 10 inches deep and this will provide the soil with nutrients as it rots down. Make sure you dig it in deep enough to kill it off so it does not continue to grow.
Fruit & Veg Care in February
Get your garlic in – You really need to have got your garlic in the ground by the end of February. You can buy the bulbs from garden centres and all you need to do is break them up and plant them, pointed end up, about an inch beneath the surface and 4 inches apart. Garlic likes a sunny position with well-drained soil, which makes them perfect for growing in containers but ensure that the pot is at least 8 inches deep to allow for root growth. You can also keep your eye on weeds as it doesn’t like competition as well as ensuring it is watered if and when it needs it, especially during dry spells.
Prepare raised beds – A good way to grow vegetables is in raised beds. This is easier on your back and you can build walkways between them for ease of access. Once built, fill with soil and well-rotted manure or good quality compost and they are ready for planting in early spring.
Time to dig over your beds – Ready for planting your crops, dig over your soil getting it to a fine tilth, the Mantis Tiller is perfect for this job as it produces the finest tilth and helps to sort out stones etc. Once dug over, cover the soil with cloches or plastic to warm it up so you can start to sow early vegetables such as shallots, white Lisbon spring onions and early lettuce.
What to sow – Most vegetables that can be sown now need to be started off indoors, with a view to planting them out in the early spring. There are a few that can be sown outdoors now such as peas, broad beans and spinach, which should be placed under a cloche to prevent bolting. You can also sow some early parsnips in milder climates, again warming the ground under cloches or plastic to assist with germination.
Perfect planning – At this early stage in the year it is a good idea to decide what, when and where you are going to plant and sow. If you plan efficiently, you can be harvesting your favourite fresh vegetables all year. Think about what went where last year and consider rotating, so as to avoid problems from pathogens in the soil from last year’s crops.
Other Gardening Activities in February
Prepare you greenhouse – Make sure your greenhouse is clean and any repairs have been done to broken panes etc. Make sure your trays and pots are cleaned and your tools clean and not damaged. If you haven’t already done it, get your garden machinery serviced and ready for the spring
Keep your pond clear – there is still a risk of frost for a few weeks yet. If your pond does freeze over, melt the ice using a pan containing hot water placed on the top of it. If you leave a ball in the pond over the winter months this will keep a small hole free of ice. Keep removing leaves and debris from the water to prevent decomposition gasses from polluting the water and poisoning the fish and other wildlife.
Don’t forget the birds – Keep the bird table topped up with titbits. The birds still need our help and feeding them will also keep bringing them to the garden, which is lovely to see after the dark winter months.
Look out for pests – Slugs and snails will become active now. Treating this problem early on will help to limit the damage later in the season. Slug pellets or the more eco-friendly nematodes will do the trick. Some gardeners prefer to use barriers such as pits of crushed egg shell although the effectiveness of this is questionable as slugs have been seen making their way across them. A good deterrent to try is placing copper bands around the base of plants, as the static electricity will repel the pests. These are readily available in all different sizes from your local garden centre. Whichever method you choose, dealing with these pests now, before they begin breeding, will prevent the problem getting out of hand later in the year.
Remember to compost – Don’t forget any vegetation debris that you remove from your lawn or any other area of your garden or allotment, can be used in your compost. As the weather warms up, your compost will be breaking down more efficiently and the Mantis Compostumbler is ideal for getting good compost quickly and efficiently.