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Playing in the dirt: Plenty to do for February gardeners


Sharon Carrigan

Sharon Carrigan



Sharon Carrigan



On your mark, get set, go! Gardeners prepare to learn and expand your knowledge and make new friends. And by way of clarification, the classes for Master Gardener training begin Feb. 20 statewide. There is still time to sign up if you hurry. You won't regret it. 


On another note, please mark your calendar for April 14 for the Lowndes County Master Gardeners second annual plant sale. Proceeds from this sale will go primarily to getting our first Master Gardener greenhouse up and running so that we can have many more great offerings to our community. Later, when the greenhouse is functional, proceeds from the plant sale will go for other projects such as education for school groups and community groups and maintenance of other projects like the butterfly garden at the Columbus Riverwalk and others. Please come out and be a part of your community by participating in our plant sale. Stay tuned for more details soon. 




This month  


  • Planning -- Decide on plants you would like to have in your spring garden and flower beds. Consider buying new plants that you have not tried before. Determine how many seed packets you need, remember to order extra seed if you are planning to replant for a second crop of flowers after the heat of the summer. 


  • Equipment -- Check tools for rust and clean them. Prevent future rust by coating tool heads with mineral oil or used motor oil 


  • Planting -- Plant cold weather annuals nasturtiums, pansies, snapdragons, English daisies, Sweet William and calendulas.  


    Start cold weather vegetables in cold frame: broccoli, cauliflower, onion sets, English peas, kale, carrots, collards, beets, radishes, kohlrabi and Chinese cabbage.  


    Plant asparagus in prepared beds. Start seeds of herbs indoors for transplant outdoors.  


    February is an ideal time to set out dogwoods. Planting sites should be well drained and plants should be planted shallowly. Dogwood prefers acid soil.  


    Broad-leaved evergreens such as magnolia, holly and photinia can be set out at this time. Plant new roses, or move old roses soon after Feb. 15. 


  • Fertilizing -- For roses, apply top-dressing of organic fertilizer under thick layer of compost or rotted manure. Fertilize trees and shrubs (not spring flowering shrubs) if not fertilized in January. 


  • Pest Control -- Spray your garden with dormant spray. This will kill many eggs and spores of insects and diseases. Do not apply if temperatures will dip below freezing within four hours of application. If this product is unfamiliar to new gardeners, visit a garden center or farm supply where you can find out more. 


  • Pruning -- Prune evergreens for size and shape. Cut dead wood out of flowering shrubs. Dispose of clippings to prevent disease or insect spread. Prune hydrangeas during the last week in the month. 


  • Home Accent -- Winter blooming shrubs can be forced to bloom indoors by cutting stems when buds begin to swell and placed in water indoors. Warmer temperatures will stimulate blooming. Place sprays of forsythia, flowering quince, oriental magnolia or fruit trees in a vase in a sunny window.



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