tips for tuesday
in the garden: february

In my garden there is a large place for sentiment.  My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams.  The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful.  Abram L. Urban
My garden of thoughts and dreams are filled with roses, climbing unencumbered over the trellis that frames the driveway, window boxes, cleaned of their winter bones, and filled to overflowing with flowers and ferns, herbs, dotting the pathways around the property, cottage annual beds, fenced simply, with sweet peas twining around posts, and sweet spring cabbages and greens, cut fresh, to be enjoyed as meals planned around those vegetables vying most for attention.  In a few short weeks, these thoughts and dreams will become reality, with just a little soil, and toil.

While it seems to be deep in the throes of winter for most of the country, Central Texas has been enjoying more spring-like weather. Take advantage of these pretty days to get out in the garden, and get going and growing, preparing for the prettiest days to come-- the flourishing vegetables and flowers that are promised only a month or so ahead.

The following information is intended for those who garden in and around Zone 8.  Planting times may differ in your area.  Consult your local extension agency, and the USDA Hardiness Zone Map (and it's climate zone changes for 2012!), for accurate planting dates and zones.

February 'To-Dos'

Feed winter bloomers such as alyssum, dianthus and especially pansies. Fertilize maidenhair fern with bone meal.

Water everything well before a freeze, but avoid overwatering.

Plant bare root and container grown roses, shrubs, trees, groundcovers and vines. Move hardy seedlings outdoors. Divide and transplant perennial herbs and summer and fall blooming perennial flowers. Donate extras to a plant sale.

Prepare Soil:
Add compost and/or fertilizer. Till deeply. Send in soil samples (forms available at the Extension Office). Check winter mulch and replenish if needed. Stockpile leaves for mulch and composting throughout spring and summer.

Lawn Care:
If lawn has a history of brown patch problems, treat with a labeled fungicide late in the month. Repeat treatment in 3 to 4 weeks, if needed.

Diseases/Pests to look for:
Apply pre-emergent weed killer to lawn. Spray fruit trees with dormant oil just prior to bud break. Call your local Extension Office (Travis County Extension Office can be reached at (512) 854-9600) for fruit and nut tree spray schedules, if not already completed in January.

Flower Plants:
Alyssum, Summer Forget-Me-Not, Snapdragon, Balloon Flower, Butterfly Weed, Calendula, Candytuft, Coneflower, Chrysanthemum, Cornflower, Delphinium, Dianthus, Daisy, Feverfew, Gaillardia, Larkspur, Liatris, Lobelia, Cardinal Flower, Monkey Flower, Nasturtium, Penstemon, Ornamental Cabbage and Kale, Pansy, Phlox, Stock, Johnny-Jump-Up, and Pansy.

Flower Seeds:
Alyssum, Calendula, Candytuft, Cosmos, Nicotiana, Four o'clock, Gayfeather, Larkspur, Linaria, Marigold, Monkey Flower, Nasturtium, Penstemon, Petunia, Phlox, Salvia, Stock, Verbena, Sweet Pea, Sweet William.

Agapanthus, Amaryllis (in containers), Allium, Amarcrinum, Calla, Crinum, Dahlia, Daylily, Gladious, Spider Lily, Monkey Grass, Society Garlic, Tirgridia, Tulip.

Early—Mid Month: asparagus crowns, Broccoli plants, Cabbage plants, Cauliflower plants, Carrots, Chard, Onion bulbs, English and edible pod peas, Potato (Irish), Spinach.
Mid—Late Month: Mustard.
All Month: Beets, Collards, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Radish, Turnip.

Dill, Fennel, Garlic chives, Horseradish, Lemon Balm, Mint, Parsley, Rosemary, Summer Savory

Bare root or container grown Pecans, Fruit trees, Grapes, Berry bushes.

Courtesy of Central Texas Gardener and the Garden Guide for Austin Vicinity, published by the Travis County Master Gardener Association, copyright 2000-2002.

Tomorrow, join us for a look at what foods you'll find in season this month, on Notes From Maggie's Farm, In Season: February.


  1. I'm so ready to get out in the garden. It looks like we are having an early spring, unless mother Nature fools us with a cold snap at the last minute.

  2. I'm hoping we have a few more cold snaps just to insure that asparagus, peas, onions, berries, fruit trees, etc...get enough chill time, but it does look like an early spring, doesn't it? We've got blankets and such at the ready just in case, but unless the temps get down in the lower thirties, we should be okay. I found a few links to forecasts--we'll have to see how close they are:

    Then, this from the longterm forecast for South Central US:

    "Annual Weather Summary: November 2011 to October 2012
    Winter temperatures will be milder than normal, on average, with much-below-normal rainfall. The coldest periods will occur in early and mid-December, early January, and early February. Snowfall will be below normal and limited to the north, with the snowiest periods in mid-December and early January.

    April and May will continue warmer than normal, with rainfall above normal in the north and below normal in central and southern areas.

    Summer will be a bit cooler than normal, on average, with the hottest periods in mid-June and early and late July. Rainfall will be slightly above normal in The Valley, but below normal elsewhere, with drought a threat.

    September and October will be much cooler than normal, with rainfall below normal in the north and above in the south. Expect hurricanes in mid-September and early October, especially in The Valley."

    Cooler summer!!!!!!!

  3. I enjoyed my visit as I am still covered in snow from Nemo. Only 5 or so inches now but it is cold so it is icy. I enjoyed reading along as it will mean Spring will be here soon (I hope!) I normally start my yard work in April as a lot of frost still in March sometimes, but if it warms up I can clean up which takes awhile. Mother's Day weekend is spent planting herbs and tomatoes and other treats too.

    1. This is somewhat early for us, as our frost-free date is April 15th, but seems like Spring comes around earlier and earlier, and even the Extension Agency is recommending early this year.

      I do not envy you your snow and ice. I was in Pittsburgh in January, and it snowed the whole time, which was delightful for me, as I slept in while my poor husband shoveled the sidewalks every morning.

      Snow is definitely best enjoyed as a

      Great to 'see' you, Winnie!

  4. The perfect thing to read before I go to bed-I will be dreaming about earth and all that needs planting this upcoming week.

    1. I've got to get my 'digs' in order, too! Hope you had sweet earthy dreams.


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