When it comes to February garden chores, some are small and others are huge, like tapping maple trees.
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.
This is also a good time to 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.
Here are some other February garden tasks to do.
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.
Truthfully tapping the maple trees and making maple syrup is one of my favorite February garden chores.
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.
One of the most important is starting seeds.
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.
Check Your Garden Supplies
February is a good time to check your garden supplies and clean up things like flower pots from last season.
I like to wash my used flower pots, seed starting trays and other related items in warm soapy wash, then rinse them off with slightly hotter water and give them a final rinse with hydrogen peroxide.
Now some people prefer to use a bleach solution to sterilize their flower pots and seed starting items, but I prefer hydrogen peroxide because I don’t have to worry about making sure it is rinsed off.
When a bleach solution is used, if any if left on the pots or seed starting trays, it can kill off any plants or seeds you start.
While hydrogen peroxide might cost a little more, it is a safer option in my opinion.
This is also a good time to check your grow lights to make sure they are still working well and putting out sufficient light.
If they are not, make a list and look for end of season sales so next fall you don’t end up paying full price or having to worry about being able to find what you need in time.
Take Advantage of Warm, Sunny Days
Another February garden task many people overlook is weeding.
Take advantage of those warm, sunny days to get out into your garden and pull weeds.
Pay attention to what bulbs or perennials are popping up.
If you plant witch hazels, hellebores, or other late winter blooming plants, February is often when they bloom and you might just be surprised at how many native insects are out enjoying the nectar!
Crops To Harvest In February
Besides maple syrup, try tapping walnut or birch trees in February.
Check on your winter garden crops to see what is ready to harvest.
Lettuce is one crop that usually makes it through the winter.
Depending on how harsh of a winter you’ve had, if you did not till your garden up in the fall, you might find kale, Swiss chard, Brussels sprouts of other cool season crops still in the garden.
Underground look for potatoes, carrots and Jerusalem artichokes.
It is possible to find some herbs just starting to sprout or even some wild edibles.
The easiest way to know what crops to harvest in February is know the area you live in and forage for edibles – or simply look in your cold frames or tunnel house.
This post is part of the #GardenBloggersChallenge sponsored by Gardencomm for the month of May. You are invited to join in and can see more details at gardencomm.org