What not to forget to do in February to the gardener?
The weather is capricious this winter to its fullest, but still February remains February - hazelnuts bloom and dogwood 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. What not to forget to do in February to the gardener, I will tell in my article.
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’s necessary to illuminate, or arrange mirror reflectors.
For greenhouses in February, it is time to plant tall late varieties of tomatoes, eggplant, by the end of the month - sweet pepper. 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.
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 acquaintances or obtained 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 storehouse, at the same time look at the stocks: in what condition, will there be enough before 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 it takes for a year, and now I harvest only with 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.
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 the snow, trampled snow in the tree-trunk circle, then the growing low bushes were dug nearby, and 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 what is superfluous. I combine this event with preparation for spring vaccinations. The central conductors have been cut off for a long time and something is grafted in there. Cropping Remains:
- 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 bumps, 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.
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 the 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 suburbs, where the cat wept, the whitewash, the whitewash does not allow the sun to warm the trunk. In the Khabarovsk Territory, where fruit, 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.
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 starving. 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 shelter.
It is desirable to feed with seeds, cereals (not boiled), nuts, lard (not salted), dried berries - different types will choose the 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 haul every now and then this hungry horde of larvae and adult insects. And the rest of the time they clean the garden well from pests, although for us it is sometimes not obvious.
Replenishment of plant collections
Usually, the assortment of online stores is the most “delicious” since February. 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 re-sorting. You have to put up with it. But I also came across those whose re-sorting is 100%. There are many very responsible sellers, in each region their own, I have been cooperating with some for several years: there is practically no sorting, the planting stock is healthy and of high quality. Mistakes, of course, happen anyway, 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!