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Last Update 02/03/14

February in the Florida Garden

 Start Your Spring Gardening Chores Now

February is the time of the year to get out into the garden after the holiday season and attend to those chores you have been meaning to do. Weed the garden, paint the house, fertilize the lawn, fertilize the palm trees and the citrus trees. Many types of citrus are beginning to put out their spring flowers now.

Be sure to water when and as long as your local water conservation rules allow (unless you have been lucky enough to receive adequate precipitation from passing cold fronts). Where you are not restricted, water deep and long since this is the dry season and often what rain we get is not enough to thoroughly soak the ground. Spritzing your garden is not recommended as it causes plant roots to grow short and short roots during droughts will spell doom for your plants. A good, long soaking twice a week is best for your annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs and lawn (where applicable and practicable).

Trees and shrubs may be transplanted this month since the cooler weather and relative dormancy of many plants make it a perfect time. Be careful to keep as much of the root system intact as possible when moving your plants and try not to let the roots dry out during the moving process. After planting, make sure to water your transplants thoroughly.

Evergreen shrubs and deciduous summer-flowering shrubs can be pruned now, but do not prune deciduous spring-flowering shrubs until after they bloom. These plants produce flowers on last year's growth so you will be cutting off potential blooms if you do it now.

If you still have poinsettia plants from the holidays, do not throw them out. You can plant them in a sunny, well drained spot in the garden. As poinsettias need long, dark nights to stimulate flowering, do not plant them near streetlights, porch lights or where vehicles' headlights may shine on them at night.

Cool weather annuals such as snapdragons, petunias, and calendulas can be renewed by deadheading them. If the plants have become leggy, prune the stems back to a desired size and shape. Water and fertilize them with a bloom boosting fertilizer and they will reward you with more flowers within a few weeks.

The gardening season is still growing strong. If some of your crop plants are looking a little beat, you still have time to plant another crop of most vegetables and herbs before the heat and humidity return. Best bets for starting a traditional garden this month are:

Vegetables :  Beans, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chinese Cabbage, Collards, Cucumbers, Endive, Escarole, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leek, Lettuce, Mustard, Onion Sets, Parsley, Peas, Peppers, Pumpkins, Rhubarb, Romaine, Rutabagas, Spinach, Squash, Strawberries, Sweet Corn, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Turnips Watermelons, and almost any other vegetable or fruit you desire.

Herbs:   Anise, Basil, Borage, Chives, Chervil, Coriander, Fennel, Garlic, Lavender, Marjoram, Mint, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Sesame, Sweet Marjoram, Thyme and most other herbs.

Flowers:   Amaryllis, Asters, Baby's Breath, Bachelor's Buttons, Balsam, Calendulas, Callas, Candytufts, Carnations, Cosmos, Cockscombs, Daisies, Dianthus, Forget-Me-Nots, Gaillardias, Gladiolas, Globe Amaranth, Hollyhocks, Lace Flowers, Lilies, Lobelias, Lupines, Marigolds, Narcissus, Nasturtiums, Pansies, Poppies, Salvias, Scabiosa, Snapdragons, Statice, Stock, Strawflowers, Sweetpeas, Sweet William, Verbenas, and other cool season flowers and bulbs.

Sources: Florida Home Grown; Florida Gardening Month by Month


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