February is a great time to get outdoors and into your garden. The days are still long but starting to get cooler, so make the most of it. It could also be the last time you enjoy your home-grown summer fruit and veggies.
What to Plant
February is a good month to start planting your winter veggies like carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, leeks, Brussels sprouts, parsnips and parsley.
Tropical areas are ready for planting leeks, chilies, cabbage, silverbeet, lettuce, sweet corn, tomatoes, mangoes, bananas and pineapple. You can brighten up your garden, and attract helpful insects, by planting marigolds and sunflowers.
In sub-tropical areas, you can plant beans, capsicum, carrots, chilies, cucumbers, lettuce and zucchinis in your vegie patch. Sunflowers are also good to add a splash of colour.
In temperate climates, it’s also time for winter veggies like beans, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, leeks, lettuce and parsley. Companion plants like nasturtiums, verbena, petunias and marigolds add colour and attract insects, keeping them away from your veggies.
In colder regions, it’s mostly about veggies. Start planting, beetroot, broccoli, Asian greens, carrots, cauliflower, leeks, lettuce, onions, silverbeet and parsley. For that burst of colour, look for stocks, violas, pansy, dianthus, verbena and ageratum.
What to Pick
Berries are ripe for the picking in February. Blackberries, strawberries, mulberries and raspberries are all in season during February. So are other fruits like grapes, figs, lemons, apples, watermelon, nectarines and passionfruit. In the vegie patch, your tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, beans, sweet corn, cabbage, peas, capsicum and chilies should be good to go.
Remember you can always pick your fruit and freeze it to enjoy it later, rather than letting it go to waste.
What to do
Summer may be almost over, but your soil still needs protection on hot days. Add more mulch to your garden beds to keep the soil moist and replace any mulch washed away by summer rains. Remember to water before you mulch.
When it comes to watering in February, do it first thing in the morning. A deep drink for your plants, twice a week is better than more regular, shorter watering.
Now is the time to get rid of any weeds in your garden. They love the warm weather and the longer you leave them the harder they are to eradicate..
Other important gardening jobs include feeding your citrus trees, re-potting plants if they need, deadheading flowers, removing spent plants, collecting seeds for next year, staking tall perennials and don’t forget to raise the blades on your lawnmower. Leaving your grass longer means longer roots and cooler soil.