February is still not a favorite on my calendar. While my youngest child enjoys a birthday this month, it’s still not high on my list. It’s got to be the worst month for gardening of them all. Gardeners don't know what kind of weather to expect from day to day. We just want to see the sun shine again.
This doesn't keep us crazy gardeners from working in our gardens. It’s healthy to get outside into the fresh air, even if that air is cold. It clears things out and everything just makes sense with a daily dose of fresh air and some moderate exercise. February is all about planning and hovering around, waiting for the first signs of spring. February is the for pruning roses and fruit trees. Take stock of these non-rainy days and get back to work in your garden.
These are some fool-proof tips for gardening in Southern Oregon in February. February can be unpredictable, so you'll have to wait and see which days are really going to work out for you…
- Get your catalog orders in.
- Keep an eye on your houseplants; at this time of the year, they can get pests.
- Get your gardening tools ready to work, with cleaning, oiling and sharpening.
- Be mindful of sudden frosts and be ready to provide protection for young plants.
- Start to work getting your flower beds in order.
- Propagate new plants with cuttings. Don’t forget to consider trading something really cool growing in your yard for something really cool growing in a friend or neighbor’s yard.
- If you’ve already started with your head start, and your winter crops are in the ground, be sure to keep an eye on them and harvest before they bolt, in the event that we have that weird false summer and it suddenly gets really warm.
- Plant some colorful cold resistant annuals like pansies, primrose and Icelandic poppies.
- Start your seeds for the warmer season veggies and flowers.
- If you’re going to plant anything bare-root, like roses or fruit trees, do it now.
- If you like to use dormant spray, NOW is the time. You can also smother the pests over-wintering in the ground by spraying dormant oil inside the drip line.
- If the weather permits, start dividing your perennials. Peonies are a good example of “where to start.”
- Re-mulch where and as needed.
- Holly shrubs should have a good pruning in February.
Corn Salad, a plethora of root crops such as carrots, parsnips, beets, and rutabagas should be ready to harvest soon, if you planted them in the fall. So are your brassicas: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and kale. If you sow these next fall, early on, they will start giving you edibles in November. If no head has grown on a plant by then, it will go dormant through the coldest season and then produce in February.
Southern Oregon has a fantastic climate for fall gardening and for those things that like it cold. I don’t think we take advantage of the winter months as much as we should.