The weather is capricious this winter to its fullest, but still February remains February - hazelnuts bloom and cornel blooms in the Kuban and Crimea, and frost and snow in most of Russia. The sun rises a little higher every day, and garden itching intensifies by leaps and bounds. There are a lot of cases. The main thing is to remember everything and not to miss anything. What not to forget to do in February to the gardener, I will tell in my article.What not to forget to do in February to the gardener?
February is the most seedling month
Probably, in all regions February is the most seedling month. If the bags of seeds are not sorted in the festive January, there is still time. See, it will be determined what I would like to plant and buy more. In February, in most regions, long-growing summers (lobelia, petunias and Co.) can be sown for seedlings; exotic tall "palm substitutes" - castor oil plants; fragrant heliotrope and much more. Light seedlings, of course, are still not enough, it is necessary to illuminate, or arrange mirror reflectors.
Read also our material 5 bright summers that need to be sown in early February.
In February, it is time for greenhouses to plant tall late varieties of tomatoes, eggplant, and sweet peppers by the end of the month. Celery lovers also need to have time to sow it for seedlings in February. And it’s not too late to sow garden strawberries!
The most common mistake when growing seedlings is early planting. I myself at the beginning of the garden "career" stuffed a lot of cones on this. But knowledgeable people warned! Early planting does not benefit either plants or gardeners - plants stretch out, by the time of planting they outgrow strongly, take root poorly and for a long time. For the gardener, this is unnecessary time, work and chagrin. No need to rush.
If it’s absolutely unbearable, you can sow and grow, for example, a couple of tomato bushes half a month earlier - what if global warming will give a very early spring? And if you don’t give, a couple of bushes are not so sorry.
Read also our material Sowing calendar of vegetables for seedlings 2020.
Checking planting material
In February, it is time to conduct another audit in the repository and see how the planting material feels: seed potatoes, gladiolus bulbs, dahlia tubers, Cannes and much more that does not winter in the region. If something has sprouted, you can plant it in a pot and grow seedlings (dahlias can be torn off and root sprouts, if it is 5 centimeters), or reduce the storage temperature to the minimum allowable.
If mold suddenly appears on the planting material, it must be carefully removed and, if possible, increased ventilation of the store. It is also good to dust with ash - in the alkaline environment, the fungus does not develop. By the way, dusting with ash before storing it is an old, simple and effective way to prevent the development of mold.
In February, I put the cuttings of grapes in water to give the roots. In March it will be possible to plant in cups, and a well-formed root system will already be available for planting. This applies equally to both southern grape varieties and the most frost-resistant Amur grapes.
The grafts for vaccination, obtained from friends or received from the nursery, also inspect, ventilate and pack again until vaccination.
In the southern regions, you can put potatoes for germination to get an early harvest.
Well, if we were to inspect the storage, at the same time look at the stocks: in what condition, will there be enough until the new harvest and how much will remain? Here accounting helps a lot. At one time, having thrown out 15-year-old cans with blanks from the basement, I calculated how much something goes in a year, and now I harvest only with a 5% margin.
Revision of tools and supplies
This is a very necessary operation, which many neglect. Few people clearly remember how much twine, fertilizer, pest control, covering material, bird nets, etc. are in stock. As a result, in the hot season, either something is missing, or at the beginning of the season everything is feverishly bought up, and then for years it remains unclaimed.
Of course, the recommendation applies to those who were able to get to their tools and supplies. Where there is a lot of snow and it is impossible to clear, you have to rely on your memory. And next year to postpone this operation in the fall.
In order not to buy too much (which the overwhelming majority sins), having carried out an audit of consumables, it is convenient to compile a list and hang it where these consumables are stored. Tracking even for one season can provide a lot of useful information and save. Gadgets to the rescue!
The tool for the season is to inspect, repair, sharpen. Do not forget about consumables for garden equipment.It is advisable to brush off excess snow from plants in the garden.
Snow should be stocked in the spring. For those who have snow and waist, please do not giggle - not everyone is so lucky. In some places, and especially this winter, almost every snowflake has to be caught. A spring supply of water is very important for plants, so filling all available containers with snow is a good solution. And to throw snow in the greenhouse, and in the trunk circles. Only for stone fruit - it is not necessary close to the trunk, they are very prone to aging, there is no need to provoke them.
A large amount of snow is also not good: all this mass presses down trees and bushes, breaks branches. It is advisable to shake off excess snow from the branches. It is especially important at temperatures close to 0 ° C and in the absence of wind: the snow sticks to the branches, and if later it freezes, the damage can be very large.
Snow trampling at the trunk of a tree or shrub is a good method of protection against mice that are starving and can easily make moves in loose snow to nibble the bark.
By the way, snow can help “slow down” plants that do not wake up at the right time. I got it by chance once and really helped. The young apricot was shaken off from the snow, trampled snow in the near-stem circle, then the growing low bushes were dug nearby and the snow was again thrown under the apricot. A day later, when cleaning a place under a canopy with firewood, old sawdust and small pieces of wood were scooped out from there and all this was again covered with apricot on top of the snow. Snow, of course, melted very slowly under these conditions, cooling the soil. Apricot blossomed a week later than neighboring ones! And he slipped past what happened just in that week of freezing.
In some regions, in February you can start pruning trees - if you can get to the site and see the crown. A leafless state allows you to clearly see where that is superfluous. I combine this event with preparation for spring vaccinations. The central conductors have long been cut off from me and something has been grafted into it. Crop Remaining:
- skeletal branches to form a cup-shaped crown (cut off gradually so as not to be without a crop);
- branches overgrown during the summer, growing vertically and inside the crown;
- damaged parts.
At the same time I leave "stumps" in those places where there will be vaccinations. I cut, for the most part, in February, pinch and prune unwanted growths in the summer. By the way, when pruning trees, I don’t already use garden varieties, under it the wood is worse than in the air. I dust the sections with ash. If the cut is smooth, without scuffing and unevenness, the tree will heal itself and quite quickly.
A good pruning tool is very important for tree health. However, everything happens when working with pruning shears and nail files, so I keep a large clerical knife in my pocket, if that, I trim the edges and bark, I clean the slices.
If you decide to whiten trees, then do it at temperatures above 0 ° C.
Read also our article Preparing for Spring Vaccinations.
On the topic of whitewashing, there are a lot of different opinions, I tried numerous options in different regions and came to the conclusion that the need for whitewashing depends, first of all, on the climate of the region. Well, and the preferences of the owner of the garden, of course.
In the Kuban, living now in the foothills with noticeable differences in daily temperatures, high humidity and poor ventilation, the trees turn white in February-March. Lime with copper sulfate and ash: in the whitewash zone, all lichens that have grown on skeletal branches die.
But in the steppe part the situation is completely different. With an abundance of sun and wind, whitewashing only disorientates the tree: it seems to be warm, but the sun is reflected and the wind cools. In the Moscow region, where the cat wept, the whitewash, the whitewash does not allow the sun to warm the trunk. In the Khabarovsk Territory, where fruiting, for the most part, covering, to open trees in April-May and leave under the burning Khabarovsk sun - that is still extreme. It’s better to whiten it right away.
The decision, of course, is up to the owner of the garden. If you decide to whiten, then at a temperature above 0 ° C, so that the whitewash dries earlier than it froze.
See also our article Whitening or not whitening? Do I need to whiten trees in spring?
In February, stocks begin to run out not only with us. Squirrels have already eaten up those reserves that they remembered, the birds over the winter were also a little starved. And although the winter of this year, abnormal for the European part, allowed many birds to pick out all sorts of larvae for a rather long time, when the snow falls, the birds are lost and begin to hoot around people’s housing.
It is desirable to feed with seeds, cereals (not boiled), nuts, lard (not salted), dried berries - different types will choose food by themselves. It is good to add a shell from chicken eggs - birds with pleasure peck it.
If you set the feeders in the center of the beds - the birds will fertilize the beds at the same time. Birds will also be of great help to the garden when they begin to breed chicks and drag this hungry horde of larvae and adult insects every now and then. And the rest of the time they clean the garden well from pests, although for us this is sometimes not obvious.
February - time to replenish collections of plants.
See also our article How can and cannot feed birds in winter?
Replenishment of plant collections
Usually since February, the assortment of online stores the most "delicious". Planting material shatters like hot cakes. Even recommendations to be more attentive and cautious fade in front of beautiful pictures and descriptions. I will give my experience, since I have been prescribing plants for more than 20 years from different regions, and living in different regions.
There are practically no sellers who do not have mistakes and overshoot. You have to put up with this. But I also came across those whose re-sorting is 100%. There are many responsible sellers, in each region there are several, I have been working with some for several years: there is practically no sorting, the planting stock is healthy and of high quality. Mistakes, of course, still happen, but in this case they will either return the money or offer a replacement. Without red tape. Read reviews. Although, now there are a lot of custom ones, so anyway - a lottery.
Most sellers have imported planting material, get ready for a variety of surprises. Seedlings can live a season or two, and then die for unknown reasons. Recommendations to buy zoned varieties have little effect on anyone, but they are the wisest. Zoned plants will bring more positive emotions, crops or decoration and require less worries.
And once again about accounting: information about how much, what, from whom it was ordered, in what condition it was received, where it was planted and how it took root, helps to determine the suppliers and also to identify their own mistakes. Gadgets should work for gardeners!
Have a nice and fruitful February!