All the crops mentioned in January may be planted in February as well. Onions should be planted before mid-month. Seed Swiss chard, carrots, turnips and radishes directly into the garden. Cover seedlings during hard freezes.
The cool-season greens, lettuce, spinach, mesclun greens and mustard greens should be planted early in the month from seed.
Potatoes are usually planted around President’s Day. Choose varieties such as Kennebec or Red Lasota. Cut seed potatoes into sections with at least one “eye” per section. Lay them out to dry in a shady spot. Shaking them in a bag first with “dusting sulfur” will help keep them disease free. After a few days of drying, plant them in a trench and cover with about an inch of soil. As the stems grow, continue to fill the trench with a loose soil/compost mix. This is called “hilling up”, and the more of the stem that is covered, the more potatoes will be produced from the roots that grow out from them!
Remember to fertilize your cool season vegetables with Happy Frog Marine Cuisine or Tomato and Vegetable Fertilizer. Watch for loopers on Cole Crops, and use Bt or Spinosad to keep them away. Aphids may also be a problem that insecticidal soap, Spinosad Soap or a good spray of water can control. Be sure to look UNDER the leaves for them!
ANNUALS AND PERENNIALS
Continue fertilizing winter color beds and pots with Nelson Plant food ‘Color Star’ time-release fertilizer to maintain vigor and bloom.
Cut herbaceous and woody perennials like Lantana back to a few inches in Late February. Cut Ornamental Grasses back to 6”-12” before new growth appears.
TREES AND SHRUBS
Complete pruning of dormant plants soon. January 31 was the cut-off for pruning Live Oaks and Red Oaks, due to the activity of the Nitidulid Beetle, which can spread the Oak Wilt Fungus.
February is the month to prune and shape roses. Remember to fertilize in March (after pruning in February) with a balanced fertilizer such as organic Maestro Gro Rose Glo, and water-in well. It is time to plant Antique roses, EarthKind roses, and Knockout roses this month. Use a quality rose soil such as The Seasons Rose Mix for planting. Hand water regularly until established.
Warm-season weed seeds will be germinating soon. An application of pre-emergent herbicide at this time will prevent the weed seeds from germinating. Be sure to activate it by applying ½” of water after spreading it.
The cool-season weeds which have been growing in the lawn all winter are best controlled NOW with a selective post-emergent herbicide. Spray only the weeds, not the entire lawn. If you wait for these weeds to flower and go to seed, they are not as easy to control. You can mow them and wait for a new flush to increase efficacy. Remember, timing is very important in weed control. DO NOT USE A SELECTIVE POST-EMERGENT BROAD LEAF HERBICIDE UNDER THE CANOPY OF TREES OR IF IT IS WINDY!
Curb your impulse to buy a “weed and feed” product. Fertilizer should not be applied until March-April, or after you have mowed your lawn at 2-3 times. If applying organic Nitrogen, an earlier application is preferred. Applying fertilizer before the lawn can utilize it is a waste of time and money.
Using proper cultural practices can lead to a healthier, denser lawn which can crowd out weeds. Applying a granular post-emergent herbicide to the lawn after it is just starting to “green up” may be damaging to the lawn itself. Perhaps the most damage is done to our tree roots as the tree roots extend 1 to 1 ½ times the height of the tree out into the yard. The granular herbicide washes into the root zone of the tree and can weaken our trees. As with all herbicides, using the correct product and correct timing can be the difference between success and failure!