I know that Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, but I think his prediction is wrong. As I drive the back roads of Washington County, I see signs of an early spring everywhere. Now I don’t want to jinx anything, but we are quickly approaching the date when a freeze is highly unlikely. Because of this, there are many, many tasks to be done in the February zone 9 garden. Below are the things I will be doing this weekend
There are lots of veggies that can be planted this week. For a complete list check out Patty Leander’s planting calendar on the sidebar of the blog. Since I have planted about all of the seeds I can I am moving on to planting potatoes. A couple of weeks ago I bought ten pounds of red La Soda. I cut them into pieces and have allowed them to “scab” in the kitchen. Plant them 4” deep in loose soil that is in full sun.
It is not too late to plant snap dragons (but is getting close). Place these transplants about a foot apart in full sun. Give them an extra boost with blood meal. Blood meal is a great source of organic nitrogen. The recommended rate is one cup per five feet of row.
If you have not cut back your ornamental grasses, cannas, gingers, asters, salvias and woody perennials, do it now. It is also a great time to start mulching. I love mulch and use it extensively. It suppresses weeds, conserves moisture and insulates roots. Plus, if you use natural mulches, they turn into compost that will feed your plants.
I have tons of poppies, larkspur, marigolds and bachelor buttons (gomphrena) that come back every year. Be careful not to cover these self-seeding annuals with mulch or pull the tender starts while you are weeding.
My wife mowed for the first time this past weekend. While the stuff that passes for grass at my house is not growing, lots of weeds are. A weekly mowing will prevent lots of these weeds from going to seed and spreading their problems into future years. For weeds that can’t be reached with a mower use acetic acid as a good natural herbicide. Don’t think you can get by with household vinegar. Real weed killing power is found in the concentrated form at your local garden supply center.
If you are into organic weed control, start putting out corn gluten meal (CGM) now. A weekly application during February is a very effective pre-emergent for all broadleaf weeds. Besides cost, there is absolutely no down side to CGM. Apply CGM at a rate of 20 lbs per thousand square feet of lawn. If you have more lawn than money you can also use CGM as a natural fertilizer. Apply 10 pounds per 1000 square feet to give yor lawn a great boost of natural nitrogen.
This post has been shared on the HomeAcre Hop. Be sure to stop by the hop. It has tons of great information from gardeners and homesteaders all over the world!