To do in February
This is usually a busy month in the garden. In many parts of the country gardeners will be busy sowing winter flowering annuals. Most of the summer flowering annuals will go on flowering for some time if the faded blooms are removed promptly, and if the plants are fed from time to time, and watered regularly when the weather is dry. Red spider can be troublesome during hot, dry weather, so watch carefully for the telltale yellow stippled leaves. Snails are active in the summer rainfall areas and can only be kept under control if bait is put out regularly at night.
SUMMER FLOWERING ANNUALS
Remove faded flowers, and water regularly in dry weather. Feed once a month with 2:3:2 and water immediately or alternatively feed with liquid fertiliser.
HARDY SUMMER FLOWERING ANNUALS
Any of the annuals listed below that were not sown in January can still be sown this month. Best results are usually obtained from seed sown in seed trays. If these annuals are sown now the seedlings will stand through the winter and start flowering early next summer:
- Alcea rosea (Hollyhock)
- Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon)
- Daucus Carota var. carota (Queen Anne's Lace)
- Delphinium grandiflorum (butterfly delphinium)
- Dianthus (pinks)
- Digitalis purpurea (foxglove)
- Iberis umbellata (candytuft)
- Malcolmia maritima (Virginian stocks)
- Petunia x hybrida
- Phlox drummondii
- Tropaeolum majus (nasturtium)
- Verbena x hybrida
WINTER FLOWERING ANNUALS
- Sweet peas: These can be sown at the end of the month in all areas.
A week before sowing, give the soil a light sprinkling of lime and rake this
into the top layer of soil. Erect the trellis before sowing.
- Summer rainfall areas: Any of the annuals listed below can be sown
from the beginning of the month onwards, unless otherwise stated:
- Winter rainfall and warm frost free areas: Any of the annuals
listed below can be sown from the beginning of the month onwards, unless
- Calendula officinalis (pot marigold)
- Chrysanthemum carinatum (annual variety)
Consolida ambigua (larkspur) (sow in situ)
- Dorotheanthus bellidiformis (Livingstone daisy or Bokbaaivygie) (protect seedlings from birds by putting chicken wire over the beds)
- Lathyrus odoratus (sweet pea)
- Linaria maroccana (toad flax - sow in situ)
- Lupinus hartwegii (lupin - sow in situ)
- Matthiola incana (stocks - sow at end of the month in all areas)
Papaver nudicaule (Iceland poppy)
Schizanthus (poor man's orchid)
- Ursinia anethoides (jewel of the veld)
- Venidium fastuosum (Aus daisy or bitter gousblom)
- Viola cornuta (viola)
- Viola x wittrockiana (pansy)
- Seedlings sown in November and December should be large enough to plant out into the garden now.
- Delphiniums: Water copiously and cut down old flower stems.
- Dianthus and carnations: These can be propagated now by layering.
- Hellebores: These are probably starting to bud. Give the plant about a heaped tablespoon of 2:3:2 scattered round each plant, and mulch with compost. Start watering regularly if the weather is dry. Put out snail bait round the plants if necessary.
- Pelargoniums (geraniums): Start pruning. Cut zonal and regal pelargoniums back by half, and trim ivy leafed pelargoniums if they are spreading too much. The tips of prunings can be used for cuttings. The cuttings should be about 7- 8cm long. Cut just below a node or leaf joint. Trim off the lower leaves, and dip the end of each cutting in a rooting hormone. Insert the cutting in sand, firm, and then water.
SUMMER FLOWERING BULBS
- Agapanthus: Water abundantly in dry weather.
- Amaryllis belladonna (March lily): Before flowering, in the summer rainfall areas, if the plants have become overcrowded, lift, divide and replant the bulbs, with the neck of the plant just below the surface of the soil. In the winter rainfall areas, lift in April, after flowering.
- Cannas: Water during dry weather, and scatter 60g of 2:3:2 round each clump once a month. Water in after application. Remove old flower stems by gripping them firmly at the base and giving them a sharp twist.
- Dahlias: Water during dry weather, and feed every two weeks with a soluble fertiliser. De-bud by removing all but one bud on each stem. Tie to stakes and watch for red spider.
- Gladioli: Water regularly, spray once a week against thrips and gladiolus fly, and spray for rust if necessary. Lift those which are dying back.
- Liliums: As the blooms fade, remove the seed heads (unless the seed is to be saved), cutting off the heads with the minimum amount of stem. Give each clump a tablespoon of 3:1:5 dissolved in 5 litres of water. Apply this to the root area and water in. Keep the ground well mulched with compost.
- White evergreen arum lilies: If the plants are overcrowded and were not lifted last month they can still be lifted and divided this month. Cut off some of the older leaves, and then replant the tuber-like rhizomes in soil enriched with compost and a dressing of
WINTER FLOWERING BULBS
These bulbs can be planted now:
- Amaryllis belladonna (March lily - plant now only in the summer rainfall areas)
- Gladiolus blandus
- Gladiolus carinatus (mauve afrikander)
- Ipheion uniflorum (star of bethlehem)
- Lachenalia (cape cowslip)
- Veltheimia bracteata (V. viridifolia - forest lily)
- Keep the ground mulched with compost and water once every three weeks during hot and dry weather.
- Pay special attention to watering camellias and azaleas. Hose down azaleas once a week in dry windy weather. If azalea foliage is turning yellow apply iron chelate
at the rate recommended on the container, plus a tablespoon of magnesium
(Epsom salts) per bush, and acidify the soil with pine needles, acid peat or a
light dusting of sulphur.
- Roses: Continue preventative spraying against black spot, rust and
mildew combining this with a foliar feed. Water once a week during dry
FRUIT (AND NUTS)
- Apples, almonds, apricots, cherries, grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums and quinces: Once the fruit has been harvested gives trees and vines their final application of fertiliser. Give all these deciduous fruits (only 1.5kg for almonds and grapes) 2kg of 2:3:2 scattered over the root area. Water in well.
As the leaves start falling, rake them up and put them on the compost heap.
Continue to put out bait for fruit fly.
- Litchis: After the fruit has been harvested, give each tree 500g of 3:1:5 scattered over the root area. Apply the 3:1:5 to damp soil and start at least 10cm away from the trunk. Water in after application.
- Pawpaws: Give each tree 125g of LAN (limestone ammonium nitrate). Scatter this over the root area starting at least 10cm away from the stem.
- Pecans: Water thoroughly once a month.
- Pineapples: Apply 60g of 2:3:2 scattered along per metre row.
- Strawberries: Prepare the bed now for planting in April. Dig in
plenty of old, well-rotted manure and/or compost, then scatter 3:1:5 at the
rate of 250g per square metre.
Continue to feed summer vegetables still producing good crops. Either scatter 2:3:2 along the rows at a rate of 60g per metre or apply a liquid fertiliser. Water before and after applying any fertiliser.
Continue to water vegetables regularly. Pull up any, which have finished bearing. Transplant the seedlings of winter vegetables as soon as they are large enough.
These vegetables can be grown in the various regions this month:
- Gauteng and OFS Highveld:
Brussels sprouts (finish sowing)
Swede turnip (finish sowing)
- Lowveld and warm frost free areas:
- OFS and Northern Cape:
- Kwa Zulu Natal Midlands:
- Eastern Cape and Karoo: Broccoli Carrot Cauliflower Leek Lettuce
Radish Swede turnip Swiss chard Turnip
- Western Cape: Winter rainfall areas Beetroot Broccoli Brussels
sprouts Cabbage Carrot Cauliflower Celery Dwarf bean Leek Lettuce Onion
Parsley Parsnip Radish Runner bean Spinach Turnip