Gardening Jobs to Do in February

Gardening Jobs To Do in February

We’re only in our second month of the year and have already accomplished so much. Temperatures remain relatively unchanged, but at least we’re edging closer toward the last frost date, the key indicator for outdoor planting.

For those living in regions where the last frost date is around late March, your seedling should have been planted in late January, but February is probably safer. Generally, seedlings can survive indoors for six to eight weeks before they need transplanting. The longer they stay indoors, the less resilient they are and more susceptible to later stressors.

February in the garden is the turning point. Winter is still here; although you can’t quite feel it, spring is not far around the corner. Nature knows it, and soon you will see some early crocuses and daffodils poking their heads through the mulch you laid down last month.

Each month’s Jobs-to-Do article has a common format, and this one is no different:

  • Garden preparation jobs to do.
  • Garden maintenance jobs.
  • Vegetable gardening jobs to do.
  • Fruit garden jobs to do.
  • Indoor and container gardening projects.
  • Ornamental garden jobs to do.
  • A summary of what gardeners should focus on.

Garden Preparation Jobs to Do in February

An ice covered lawn
February Garden Preparation Tasks

There’s a corny business adage “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” It’s not that dramatic, but planning can help you avoid many challenges. A written plan also helps gardeners stay accountable, even if only to themselves.

Plant to Have Zero Exposed Soil This Year

Use the rainy days to take the time and plan your garden. The first part of that plan should be keeping the garden healthy. A key factor to plant health is soil healthy — healthy soil, healthy plants, and the result is healthy produce. Recent research shows that plants are more active in accessing soil nutrients than was thought.

Rather than being passive, stationary organisms, Dr. James White’s research shows that plants actively farm microorganisms, using them to bring chemical elements to them. They do this by releasing root exudates that attract these organisms and then capturing them in their roots to deprive them of their chemical load.

This is only possible if the soil is free of NPK fertilizer when seeds are planted and also contains a rich diversity of soil biota. Further studies by Jena show that introducing a diverse plant population is the best, most effective way to boost soil biota. It is only under these conditions that the plant can care for itself. Alternatively, we can continue using chemicals, a self-perpetuating course of action. I suggest you watch some of Dr. Christine Jone’s videos if you haven’t yet.

The preceding little rant is intended to encourage you to plan to keep your soil covered in plants this year — at least two plants from four different plant families that may include legumes, grasses, herbs, and plants that host beneficial insects. That means all your soil is covered in plants made up of a mix of eight (or more) plants from four families.

Document Your Plans

Know what you need to sow for each area. Consider its growing time to harvest, and this will allow you to know when to plant a replacement or second crop to keep the bed productive. You can consider crop rotation if you have a disease issue too.

Get some graph paper and sketch out your garden, marking what will go where and when. This is a great way to understand what the garden will look like over the coming months and gives you a sowing plan to have seedlings ready to go out when the bed becomes available. If you have a gardening journal, use that to keep a copy and reference in future gardening plans.

Do Soil Tests

If you still need to do so, do soil tests early in February. Remember that you want the result early enough to fertilize your beds as required. Fertilized beds need to stand for at least two weeks before anything is planted in them  –  this allows the microorganisms to establish themselves and compost the stabilize. Fresh compost can require nitrogen to decompose further, which will negatively impact plants  –  so leave beds to stand for at least a fortnight after adding fertilizer or compost before using them for crops.

Of course, no fertilizer will be required if a comprehensive cover crop precedes the crop. The plant/organisms biont will make sure of that.

Prepare Raised Garden Beds

The end of February is an excellent time to construct a well-composted raised bed. Raised beds warm faster and allow better drainage  — which is essential for healthy gardens. Raised beds should be about 8 inches above the surrounding soil level with about a 40% compost composition.

As previously discussed, covering these beds with cover crops is recommended for future reference. When it’s time to plant, mow the cover and plant on top of the remaining residue. It’s vital to allocate beds to families different from the preceding two years  –  especially for members of the brassica and nightshade families. This rule is a general good gardening practice.

Diseases are generally common to a family group, and planting alternate crops from the same family allows diseases to be established. By depriving the disease-causing bacteria of a food source, the soil can recover its ability to carry future crops of a given family group.

Make or Purchase Floating Covers

You can shape a floating cover framework with heavy wire or mild steel round bars. Covering your beds with a dark material allows the soil to heat and retain heat build-up. Solarization is the process of wetting your soil, covering it, and using the sun’s rays to heat it to steaming temperatures to control pests and weeds.

The same frames can cover freshly transplanted plants, protecting them from external pests. For plants that require pollination, the covers need to be removed. It’s important to note that the amounts of light and darkness are essential in causing plants to flower and bear fruit, depending on whether they’re not day-neutral.

Build Support Structures For Plants

Now is a perfect time to erect the support structures for peas, beans, clematis, and other climbing plants that would benefit from this type of support. Doing it now frees up your time later when seed sowing, planting out, and watering will swallow the available gardening time.

This month’s activities help you prepare for when the plants are ready — as if you’re preparing the future for your arrival. You won’t need to scramble around to get a structure up to transplant your seedlings at the last minute.

Garden Maintenance Jobs for February

A path with moss growing between the stones.
February Garden Maintenance Jobs to Do

Harvest Overwintered Vegetables

Harvest the plants that benefited from a frost  –  turnips, parsnips, and other winter vegetables: leeks, kale, and purple sprouting broccoli. The cold helps convert the starches to sugars with turnips and parsnips – changing the taste profile to a much more enjoyable product.

Clean the Polytunnel or Greenhouse

You will still have plenty of jobs outside to do this month. Clean the greenhouse or polytunnel to let as much light in and kill any lurking pests.

Clean Moss And Algae Off Paths

With all the winter rains, your paths will likely be dirty and have moss and algae growing — give pathways a clean with a product called Algone or something similar. Choose a natural organic product that can be used around ponds and is safe for animals and children.

Stay Off The Grass

During the colder part of the month, if frost is about, it is essential to keep off the grass. Walking on grass when it is frosted will kill the grass, and you will get bare patches all over your lawns.

Mend And Fix Any Broken Beds

All those seeds you have planted this month will soon need to go out into their final spots. Once this happens, it will be tough to fix any broken beds. Get to them this month. It is much easier to replace a side panel or plank when you can dig the soil out of the way.

Grow Seeds Indoors

It’s freezing, and most seeds require temperatures above 66 °F or 19 °C (ideally, 77 °F or 25 °C) to germinate. You may consider taking them indoors to a room that gives them perfect conditions to grow, moving them out to a greenhouse later (or the garden, weather permitting).

Start a Windowsill Herb Garden

Plant herbs in a 10-inch-deep tray in your own potting soil  –  see the recipe below (under Indoor Gardening). Your choice of what to grow depends on your food preferences, and growing herbs will save you money, and the difference in freshness is remarkable.

Lawn Care Jobs

February, like January, is a relatively quiet month in the lawn care calendar. Use the saved time to catch up on other gardening chores, like tidying worm castings, leaves, and debris.

When the soil thaws enough to allow water to flow freely, flush salt-affected or pet-stressed areas with water. Water flushing removes salts from the roots, reducing injury risks.

Vegetable Gardening Jobs to Do in February

A picture of emerging asparagus shoots - one of the vegetables you can plant in February.
February Vegetable Gardening Jobs to Do

There are quite a few jobs to be done in February in the vegetable garden. You must order your seeds and potatoes if you still need to. First earlies or determinate potatoes do much better being chitted. These grow on a single layer in the soil, have a much shorter growth period, and do not need mounding. Chitting them helps get them to get moving when the ground is cooler.

During this month, the ground will soften on warmer days, and it is a perfect time to prepare the soil to plant Asparagus. If you want to learn how this remarkable plant is grown, check out the video below, where I take you through the process step by step. This fantastic crop is a perennial and, once planted, will crop for up to 20 years.

February is the best month to fertilize rhubarb with manure or a complete fertilizer.

Amazingly, this is the start of the sowing calendar. With the weather starting to relax, it’s great to get into the greenhouse or tunnel and sow some seeds. Remember, you reap what you sow, so sow you must. Below is a list of some of the seeds to consider planting early. Please note that those marked with an (indoors) tag should be cultivated indoors for later transplanting.

Vegetable Planting Guide – February

You can start the following plants indoors around the dates listed below. Please note that these are a guide, and you should consider your local last frost dates. Indoor plants are generally started six to eight weeks before transplanting dates (after the risk of frost has passed).

CropIndoor Starting date
CropIndoor Starting Date
BasilFeb 20 to 26
Bok ChoyFeb 20 to 26
Brussels SproutsFeb 20 to 26
CauliflowerFeb 20 to 26
CollardsFeb 20 to 26
KohlrabiFeb 20 to 26
LettuceFeb 20 to 26
SpinachFeb 20 to 26
Swiss ChardFeb 20 to 26
TomatillosFeb 20 to 26
OkraFeb 26 to Mar  7
Vegetable Planting Guide – February

The list below shows potential outdoor plantings, depending on local temperatures. If there is any risk of ground frost, ensure beds are raised above ground level and covered.

CropSpace Between — Inches (cm)February Plant DatePlanting Method
Arugula6 to 9 (15 – 23)Feb 1 to 28Seed
Carrots2 (5)Feb 1 to 28Seed
Cilantro2 to 4 (5 – 10)Feb 1 to 28Seed
Lettuce, head10 (25)Feb 1 to 28Seed
Onions, bulb4 (10)Feb 1 to 28Seed
Onions, green1 to 2 (2.5 – 5)Feb 1 to 28Seed
Peas, bush4 (10)Feb 1 to 28Seed
Peas, vining2 to 3 (5 – 7.5)Feb 1 to 28Seed
Radishes1 (205)Feb 1 to 28Seed
Rutabega4 (10)Feb 1 to 28Seed
Turnips2 (5)Feb 1 to 28Seed
Lettuce, leaf6 (15)Feb 1 to 28Seed or Transplant
Cabbage12 (30)Feb 1 to 28Transplant
Asparagus18 (45)Feb 14 to 28Crown
Broccoli18 (45)Feb 14 to 28Transplant
Cauliflower18 (45)Feb 14 to 28Transplant
Celery6 to 9 (15 – 23)Feb 14 to 28Transplant
Collard greens18 (45)Feb 14 to 28Transplant
Kale6 (15)Feb 14 to 28Seed or Transplant
Kohlrabi4 (10)Feb 14 to 28Seed or Transplant
Leek4 (10)Feb 14 to 28Seed or Transplant
Mustard2 (5)Feb 14 to 28Seed
Parsley9 to 12 (23 – 30)Feb 14 to 28Seed or Transplant
Parsnips3 to 4 (7.5 – 10)Feb 14 to 28Seed
Potatoes, Irish10 (25)Feb 14 to 28Tubers
Spinach6 (15)Feb 14 to 28Seed
Potential Vegetables to Plant Outdoor in February

 Fruit Garden Jobs to Do in February

A person pruning a tree - a job for the February fruit garden
February Fruit Gardening Jobs to Do

Prune Climbers, Roses, And Fruit Trees

Get all the pruning done this month. Later towards the end of the month, things will start to wake up and bud out. If this happens, you have left it too late to prune. Prune back Wisteria, Clematis, Roses, and fruit trees before they wake up from dormancy (except citrus trees, which should be done in mid-spring).

Fruit Garden – February Tasks

  • Order and plant fruit trees.
  • Order blackberry and raspberry plants.
  • Prune grapes.
  • Prune blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and fruit trees.
  • Apply lime sulfur to blueberries.
  • Apply dormant oil spray to fruit trees.
  • Fertilize pecans with zinc – depending on the age of the tree.
  • Spray fruit trees with lime sulfur before blooming for disease control.
  • Avoid pruning citrus trees until mid-spring.

Indoor and Container Gardening Projects for February

A person mixing soil in a pot
February Indoor and Container Gardening Projects

How to Make Germination Soil

A suitable germinating medium is fine-textured and free of pests, diseases, and weed seeds. It should be low in fertility, free of soluble salts, and capable of draining water and retaining moisture  –  perlite is a good option on its own or mixed with coconut coir.

It’s important that germination soil is not fertilized and the seeds are not coated with a fungicide. Seeds have endophytes (microorganisms in the seed) inherited from the parent plant. These endophytes have legacy skills that strengthen the next generation’s resilience to local weather conditions and pests.

Making Your Own Potting Soil

A mixture of equal parts of coconut coir, perlite, and cured aerobic compost works fabulously for potting soils. If you have a stock of leaf mold made in the fall, use that as part of the compost to boost water-retention abilities for plants that need that. Don’t use potting soil for seed germination  –  see above.

Ornamental Garden Jobs To Do in February

A close-up of a bee on a mauve flower
February Ornamental Garden Jobs to Do

Bulbs to Plant in February

This month is the month of bulbs and spring flowers. It will be the last chance to plant more summer and spring bulbs such as Snowdrops, Lilly of the Valley, Nerines, and Hyacinths. It is also a perfect time to split large clumps of daffodils and Snowdrops and spread them to other garden areas.

Is it too late to plant bulbs in February? Summer bulbs should be planted now, giving you color later in the year. There is such a vast array of bulbs that you can grow to provide you with many years of service. Other varieties of summer bulbs are as follows:

  • Eucommia
  • Lillies
  • Liatris
  • Dahlia
  • Agapanthus
  • Galtonian

Flowers to sow in February

It is still cold, but a few flowers can still be sown this month.

Additionally, you can plant:

  • Antirrhinums
  • Dahlia
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Lobelia
  • Begonia
  • Dianthus
  • Pansy
  • Viola
  • Dusty Miller.


Prune roses in February to remove damaged canes and improve the overall form. After pruning, fertilize and apply a fresh layer of mulch  –  you can expect blooms to emerge about two months after pruning, i.e., just after Easter.

February Flower Planting Options

FlowersHabitPlanting DatePlanting Option
AuriniaPerennialFeb 1 – 14Seed
DianthusPerennialFeb 1 – 14Seed
OenotheraAnnualFeb 1 – 14Seed
SaponariaPerennialFeb 1 – 14Seed
WallflowerAnnualFeb 1 – 14Seed
AgastachePerennialFeb 1 – 28Seed
AlyssumAnnualFeb 1 – 28Seed
AmmiAnnualFeb 1 – 28Plant
AsclepiasPerennialFeb 1 – 28Seed
ColumbinePerennialFeb 1 – 28Seed
CosmosAnnualFeb 1 – 28Seed
CynoglossumBiennialFeb 1 – 28Plant
HeleniumPerennialFeb 1 – 28Seed
IberisAnnualFeb 1 – 28Seed
PoppiesPerennialFeb 1 – 28Plant
RatibidaPerennialFeb 1 – 28Seed
RosePerennialFeb 1 – 28Seed
ScabiosaAnnualFeb 1 – 28Seed
SnapdragonsPerennialFeb 1 – 28Seed
StaticeAnnualFeb 1 – 28Seed
StocksAnnualFeb 1 – 28Seed
SunflowersAnnualFeb 1 – 28Seed
ViolaAnnualFeb 1 – 28Seed
DelphiniumAnnualFeb 15 – 28Seed
EchinaceaPerennialFeb 15 – 28Seed
GaillardiaPerennialFeb 15 – 28Seed
GauraAnnualFeb 15 – 28Seed
HollyhockPerennialFeb 15 – 28Seed
LupinPerennialFeb 15 – 28Seed
MarigoldsAnnualFeb 15 – 28Seed
Morning GloryAnnualFeb 15 – 28Seed
NemophilaAnnualFeb 15 – 28Seed
NicotianaAnnualFeb 15 – 28Seed
NigellaAnnualFeb 15 – 28Seed
PhysalisAnnualFeb 15 – 28Seed
RudbeckiaPerennialFeb 15 – 28Seed
Sweet PeasAnnualFeb 15 – 28Seed
TithoniaAnnualFeb 15 – 28Seed
VeronicaPerennialFeb 15 – 28Seed
February Flower Planting Options

Gardeners’ February Focus Areas

A close-up picture of white flowers
February Gardeners’ Focus Areas

Garden preparation jobs in February include setting the goal to avoid exposed soil this year. This requires getting seeds from different plant families (at least four) to cover unused beds. This year we’re aiming for minimal till.  We also discussed documenting a plan as a reference for future gardening decisions. Finally, we included some preparation activities, including shaping raised beds that warm up faster and construction covers and support structures.

Garden maintenance jobs for February include harvesting any vegetables that are overwintered. These may include turnips (which improve if exposed to freezing temperatures). Spinach is one of the hardiest crops that can survive milder winters.

Vegetable gardening jobs in February include starting indoor and outdoor seeds (outdoors if temperatures allow). The February fruit garden jobs included pruning, which covered roses and other vines.

Indoor and container gardening projects for February include making germination and potting soil. Germination soil should always be sterile, void of fertilizer, and able to drain water well. Ensure that new plants get enough water and sunlight to produce the sugars needed to get them going.

Ornamental garden jobs to do for this month included 39 plants that you can start. Mastering the skill of plant propagation (from seed or asexually) is strongly advised as it can save you a packet.

I hope the month is kind to you and that my plead for focussing on keeping your soil covered this year resonates with you. It allows you to save on fertilizer and boost your soil health for seasons to come.

Happy gardening



Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)