February Chores to Ensure a Great Summer Garden

If you plant a garden every year, you are used to your regular schedule: plan your garden and order your seeds in January, plant your vegetable seeds indoors in February. That makes March a busy time at my house, as I struggle to find window or grow light room for all the seedlings, and then in April I carry them in and out depending on the temperature. But if you are new to gardening, you'll need to work out your own schedule now, which will vary depending on where you live and what plants you want to grow. The map above shows the USDA Plant Hardiness Zones (see it much larger here). Different species of flowers and vegetables can be planted outside on different dates by zone. Seed packets should tell you when to plant outside by zone, and whether starting your seeds indoors is recommended. Harvest to Table has a guide for which vegetables to start indoors in February by planting zone.

But February is about more than seeds. It's also a good time to do some pruning outside, before your trees and shrubs start to bud. But not all of them! If you didn't prune your roses in October, do it now, but not rambling roses. Apartment Therapy has a guide to which trees and shrubs to prune in February and how to do it.

This is also a good time to get a head start on garden chores that don't depend on the weather, like sharpening your tools, cleaning flower pots, repairing fences, etc. If you have big plans for a garden this year, you might want to consult a checklist for February garden chores. Anything you can get done now will save time later, and when it's too late to get started on garden plants, there's nothing you can do about it. 

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