Summer begins winding down in February, but this is often the month that sees the most growth in the garden.
Vegies to sow
Silverbeet grows readily from seed and is one of the best of the cut-and-comeagain vegies. Sow silverbeet seeds straight into garden beds and keep moist through the germination period. Start picking the outside leaves as soon as they are big enough to be useful.
Yates has the traditional, iron-rich Fordhook Giant silverbeet in its range, as well as the striking red-stemmed silverbeet.
Flowers to sow
Violas are plain-clothed pansies. They don’t often have the fancy faces that pansies flaunt, but they are tougher and cheerier. Yates Viola Toyland produces a brightly coloured mix of blooms.
Remove dead flowers, continue feeding with Thrive Flower & Fruit and they’ll produce a show that will last for months. They’ll even cope with frost.
Feed in February
If you’re using a bark or woodchip mulch, its particularly important to feed plants well. As these mulches break down they take nitrogen out of the soil, which runs the risk of starving your plants.
Scrape back the mulch layer, spread fertiliser ( Dynamic Lifter pellets or Natures Way Bio-Gold) can be used around all plants, water well and then replace the mulch.
In most areas, when preparing beds for new vegetable plantings, the soil will be sweeter if you add some lime or dolomite.
Prune in February
Remove seed head from agapanthus before they spread their seeds. Remove developing seed pods, leaving just the flower stalks, then allow them to dry before spray-painting the stems in a de´ cor-friendly colour. These painted stalks will make striking additions to floral arrangements.
February pest watch
Watch out for porina caterpillars eating grass leaves. These grubs hide in burrows in the soil and emerge at night to munch on the lawn. Grass grubs, too, which are the larvae of beetles, can damage the lawn at this time of year. Both pests can be controlled with Yates Soil Insect Killer granules that come in an easy-to-apply sprinkle pack.
February job file
Harvest stone fruit and prune immediately afterwards if you want to get the pruning job done. These days many fruit tree experts advocate post-harvest pruning of summer fruits.
Plant of the month
The Australian native grevilleas are becoming more and more popular in New Zealand gardens.
Bicoloured Grevillea Peaches and Cream (pictured) is a favourite. It reaches medium shrub height, grows in a wide range of soils and flowers for much of the year. A plant in full bloom will make a very special gift for Valentine’s Day.