Garden tasks for February 2016

Flower garden

Continue picking your roses, dead heading when necessary, and keep a look out for pests and diseases – hot, humid weather encourages both so you may need to spray. Keep well watered in preparation for winter pruning.

Early summer bulbs such as anemone, ranunculus, tulips and daffodils arrive in garden centres and stores this month and can be planted out in both flower beds, work through some blood and bone before planting, or in pots.

If the tops have died away on your gladioli it’s time to lift them and clean off the soil. To keep bulbs in god condition for the following season store in a dry place and dust with Flowers of Sulphur to control mildew and mites.

As perennials finish flowering remove spent flowers to encourage further blooming.

Sow seeds of alyssum, wallflower, candytuft, arcotis, stock, dianthus, larkspur, snapdragon, nigelia, honesty, bellis, godetia, linaria, pansy, nemesia, cornflower, lobelia, scabiosa, polyanthus, aquilegia and lupin.

Plant out in the garden and in containers – cornflower, linaria, alyssum, wallflower, viola, lupin, sweet pea, pansy, stock and primula.

Fruit and vegetable garden

Pick your fruit and veg every day to encourage late production, especially peas, beans, eggplant, cucumbers and courgettes (before they turn into marrows), and water if conditions are dry.

Sweet corn is ready for harvesting when tassels start to dry.

Keep planting for crops of late summer lettuce and herbs. It’s too late to plant tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers and peppers unless you have a greenhouse.

Remove and compost any plants that have finished producing or have become diseased.

Continue to keep citrus well watered.

Trim leaves away from grapes to expose fruit to sun for ripening – use bird netting to protect from birds.

Continue picking mid season pip and stone fruit, berries and citrus.

Sow seeds of winter vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, beetroot, winter lettuce, brussel sprouts, spinach, carrots, leeks and silverbeet.

Plant out seedlings of leeks, cabbage, celery, spinach, cauliflower, silver beet and brussel sprouts.

Lawns

Keep lawns well watered in preparation for autumn re-sowing.

Second thoughts

Check container plants constantly – they dry out rapidly and will quickly succumb under such conditions. Regular watering, at least three times a week, is essential for the survival of your potted plants – vigilance pays off!