February is a good month to purchase any last minute seeds for the garden, clean used flowerpots and buy seed starting supplies such as seed starting potting mix, peat pots, flower tags and organic fertilizers. Check indoor grow lights to see if any need to be replaced. If heating mats are used, plug them in to make sure they are still working.
Tapping Maple Trees
February is a busy month for gardeners who make their own maple syrup. February 1 is the day to tap sugar maple trees. Any maple tree will give sap that can be boiled down into maple syrup, however the sap from the sugar maple is the best. Once the taps are in place, containers are placed under the taps so the sap can flow into them. Regular inspection of the containers is necessary so the sap does not flow on the ground once the container is filled.
It takes approximately fifty gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. Maple sugar is made by boiling the sap until it turns into sugar. As each container is filled, the sap is put into a pan and boiled down until the sap reduces by half, and then it is poured into a second pan where the boiling continues until it turns into a thick syrup.
Boil the sap down outdoors because the moisture will leave stains on indoor surfaces. It is necessary to keep an eye on the syrup as it boils. If the sap is being cooked over a wood fire, someone will have to put wood on the fire as well as stir the cooking sap so it does not burn.
February Seed Planting Dates
While making maple syrup is the big garden task in February, there are other tasks to do in preparation for the spring garden.
Indoors on February 4, plant seeds of gerbera daisy, achillea, petunia, wax begonia and impatiens.
Impatiens can be a bit tricky for some gardeners to germinate. Sow impatiens in vermiculite to prevent dampening off and provide plenty of light, high humidity and 70 degree F temperatures to germinate.
Indoors on the second Monday of February, sow seeds of salvia, marigold, strawflower and calendula. Remember to sow a few extra marigold seeds to use as companion plants in the vegetable garden.
February 15, pre-sprout any un-planted potatoes in preparation for planting in the cold frame the following week. Plant seeds of artichoke seeds indoors in flats.
February 16, plant seeds of peppers, tomatoes and eggplants indoors in flats.
By February 23, if all hard freezes are over in your area or you have a way to provide supplemental heat to your cold frames or tunnel houses if needed, go ahead and plant young cabbage plants and onions. Potatoes can be planted under cover on this day as well.