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February Gardening Tips

bare branches with rain droplets Remember to watch plants and planters that are under eaves; they may not be getting watered by the rain.  Conversely, make sure that planters, particularly those in saucers, are not getting too waterlogged.  Only bog plants like to sit in standing water!

February is a great month to brush up on your gardening knowledge in preparation for spring.  Sky has a full lineup of free gardening seminars this month, including two all-day events.  The Seattle Rose Society will present four rose seminars and answer questions on 2/17. Plant Amnesty’s Prune-a-Thon, including four pruning seminars and free consultations, is coming up on on 2/24. 

Visit the Northwest Flower and Garden Show February 7th – 11th for gardening inspiration.  Sky will continue selling the Advance Discount tickets, $19 cash or check, through 2/6. (After that tickets will cost $25.)

Fruit and Berry Gardening Tips

When the buds are beginning to swell but before any new growth starts, spray all fruit trees one more time with dormant oil. This will help to control scale, aphid, and mite larvae.  Apply copper sprays for disease control.  Read our blog post, or come in and consult with a Sky Nursery associate on specific questions.

If you have not had good pollination, consider purchasing orchard mason bees.  Mount bee houses near your fruit trees for a continuing supply of these wonderful pollinators.  Come to our Mason Bee seminar on 2/3 at 11 am for more information.

Prune apples and pears.

Now is the time for our best fruit tree selection!  Check our 2018 fruit tree list, and come to the “Training Young Fruit Trees Seminar” at the Prune-a-Thon on 2/24 at 12:30 pm.

Best selection of berries and small fruits as well, and best time to plant.  Click for variety lists and care information for blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. 

ripe raspberries

Vegetable Gardening Tips

Turn under cover crops at least two weeks before you want to start planting.

Bait for slugs with pet-safe slug bait such as Sluggo.

Plant perennial vegetables: asparagus, rhubarb, and horseradish.

Plant onion and shallot sets and garlic bulbs for summer harvest starting in mid-February.

Start seeds indoors for cool-season vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, parsley, and more.  If you have supplemental light, you can also start basil, eggplants, peppers, & tomatoes.  Click for our Seed Starting Guide and Vegetable Seed Planting Chart, or come to our Seed Starting 101 Seminar on 2/4 at 1 pm to learn more.  For more advanced information and troubleshooting, come to Seed Starting 201 on 2/18 at 1 pm! 

By late February, the soil should have warmed enough to plant peas, fava beans, radishes, and arugula outdoors.  Seed potatoes will be in stock as well. If you want to green your potatoes before planting, you can start that now. They are usually planted around mid-March. 

Want to learn the basics of getting started with vegetable gardening?  Come to our Vegetable Gardening 101 seminar on 2/25 at 11 am. 

pieris in bloomOrnamental Gardening Tips

Look for fragrant winter-flowering shrubs such as daphne, witch hazel, and sarcococca. Plant pieris, flowering quince, and red-flowering currant to provide nectar for hummingbirds, pollen for orchard mason bees, and beauty for yourself!

For instant color now, spruce up your beds & containers with primroses, pansies, and blooming bulb packs and pots.  Hellebores are another great choice for this season; some varieties will bloom for months, and return year after year to do the same. 

Bait for slugs with pet-safe slug bait such as Sluggo.

Bareroot boxed perennials and summer-flowering bulbs such as bleeding heart, lily of the valley, gladiolus, and dahlia start arriving in February.  Purchase early for the best selection!  Some should be planted almost at once, some you should wait to plant until the soil warms.  Check the packages or click here for our general spring bulb planting guide.

Speaking of bulbs—if you want your summer garden to have dramatic elephant ears or baskets filled with lush cascading begonias, the most economical way to achieve this is to purchase the tubers this month and start them indoors to get the plants up to size for the summer.

Late February: plant sweet pea seeds or starts.  (Hint—soak sweet pea seeds overnight before planting to hasten germination.)

Rose Gardening Tips

We have 400 varieties of roses in stock now, including new introductions and old favorites.  February is the ideal time to find and plant the perfect rose. 

Not sure which rose is best for you, or want to learn more about how to take care of them?  Come meet the experts from the Seattle Rose Society here on Saturday, 2/17, for a full day of rose expertise.  Free informational seminars all day on pruning various rose types (10 am), best-pick roses for the Northwest (11 am), rose planting, feeding and care (1 pm), and pest and disease control (2 pm).  Or just stop by to talk with some of Seattle’s most distinguished rosarians.

Lawn Care Tips

If moss is a problem, rake it out mid-month or apply a moss killer, wait two weeks, and rake out the dead moss.

Mid-month (or after raking out the moss), apply organic fertilizer and lime.