To learn about our February seminars and classes, please click here.
Though it may seem that winter will go on forever, spring is just right around the corner! There is a lot to do in February to begin preparations for the gardening season. We have many tips and ideas for garden planning and seed-starting. February is also the time to go buy bare root roses! Keep reading to learn more about all the wonderful garden preparations that can be done right now!
Plant bare-root Roses!
February is a great month to buy and plant your favorite bare-root rose varieties. They are inexpensive, easy to plant and are a great way to usher in the spring! When you buy them, the appearance may be surprising: just sticks and roots! These roses are in their winter dormant stage, which is the best time to plant them to avoid shock. Once spring arrives though, watch out! You will see them spring to life with lush growth and brilliant blooms.
- Before planting your bare-root roses, soak them in water for up to 24 hours to rehydrate the root systems. This is not necessary if the rose has been planted up by the nursery into containers, but keeping the root system moist is important in any case.
- While they soak, you can dig a hole wide enough to spread all the roots out (around 2 feet) and at least 1 foot deep.
- If your soil is healthy and easy to dig, you might not need to amend it. However, if it is heavy on clay or sand or hasn’t been amended in a while, it’s advisable to mix about 1 cubic foot of Soil Building Compost with the native soil.
- Once the hole has been filled and the rose planted, water it well so that the soil is nice and moist throughout. This will get your bare-root rose off to a great start!
Fragrant Sweet Box (Sarcococca ruscifolia)
Does anyone have this lovely winter-blooming plant in their yard? The ones you find at the nursery this time of year are filled with blooms. It’s shiny, evergreen foliage adds some much-needed greenery to the winter landscape but it’s those flowers that really steal the show! Small and creamy white, they dangle from their branches with delicate splendor. Some people call Sweet Box the “vanilla plant”, due to its enticing aroma. And when the flowers fade, the show still goes on! Flowers are replaced by blood-red drupes, the small fruit that bunch together at the stems The contrast between the glossy green leaves and the dark red drupes creates plenty of visual interest for your average February morning.
It’s time to get ready for the gardening season! What are you going to plant this year? Do you have some redesigning to do? Are there old plants in your garden that need to be replaced? Now is the time to think about your plan for the year. In planning, it’s good to take into consideration what kind of year you are going to have. How much time can you devote to the care of your garden? If you know you’ll be traveling a lot or have a new grandchild on the way, it may be good to plan for a low-maintenance garden this year and not take on too many new projects. Conversely, a quiet summer is just perfect for new garden ventures!
It’s also good to take into consideration how your garden did last year and the climate and patterns of our region. Next time you visit the nursery, chat with our experienced northwest gardening experts to help you plan for our unique climate. You can also keep a gardening journal to help you remember what happens in your yard from year to year. If you have one from last year, look it over. It’s especially helpful to note which plants did not do well and where certain pests and diseases cropped up so you can rotate your plants to different places this year.
Try drawing out a map of your garden and adding in all your existing plants with simple drawings. You don’t need to be an artist: use triangles for roses, squares for hydrangeas, etc. Then you can see where you will have space to plant, add features like fountains or statuary, or build new garden walkways.
Starting Seeds Inside
Furney’s Nursery carries everything you need to help you start your seeds inside. We have a gigantic selection of seeds, including seeds from Ed Hume, which have all been developed for gardeners here in the Pacific Northwest. Come see the beautiful seed racks and find those great varieties that you didn’t even know you needed! We also carry organic seed starting mix as well as trays to hold your budding plants.
Once you have all the ingredients assembled, here are some tips for planting your seeds inside:
- Read the back of the seed packet! This will give you important information on seed spacing and planting depth. Every seed is different.
- Fill the seed trays with soil to the top and tap them on a hard surface, to settle them a little. There should be just a small space left, below the lip.
- Place your seeds on top, one or two per cell and press down lightly.
- Cover the seeds with more soil. The amount depends on how big the seed is. The bigger the seed, the deeper they need to be planted. Tiny seeds, like lettuce, only need a ¼ inch or less, otherwise the seedling can’t find the surface! Check the seed packet for exact depth.
- Water each of the cells well. Water should not puddle or pool, though. Just enough to moisten the seed thoroughly.
- Place in a sunny window or warm spot to sprout and grow! Water your seeds enough to keep the soil slightly moist at all times. It is best not to let the soil get soggy as disease can kill seeds easily in wet soils.
Note: if you do not have a warm house or a super sunny window, for your seeds, try a seed-starting greenhouse for your baby plants. This will keep the heat in and will help collect what light you do have, giving them a boost of growth.
Seeds to start inside in February:
- Salad greens like lettuce, spinach, arugula and kale.
- Cabbage family members like broccoli and cauliflower
- Annual flowers like cosmos, calendula, love-in-a-mist, asters and many more!