What do we do in February? Think spring and prepare! Here is a list of garden chores for this month, adapted from The Mountain Gardener, a newsletter put out by the Buncombe County Master Gardeners program, part of NC Extension. Each month they include a list specific to western NC.
• If you have bare spots that did not recover from the drought, late February or early March would be a good time to put down grass seed.
• Overgrown summer-blooming shrubs can be pruned in late February or March. These might include abelia, beautyberry, butterfly bush, rose of sharon and crape myrtle.
• You can also cut back overgrown evergreens such as boxwood, holly and rhododendron (although you will not have blooms this year).
• Do you still have dead perennials that have not been cleaned up—coneflowers, black eyed Susans, sedums, grasses? Also cut back liriope and mondo grass now.
• Mature apple and pear trees can be pruned, but do not prune young fruit trees, peaches or plums before March.
• The Extension office has information on pruning grape vines, brambles, blueberries and fruit trees. They even loan out videos about it in some offices. Bill Whipple is a local fruit and nut tree expert who offers classes on pruning at the Bullington Center in Hendersonville.
• All fruit crops can be planted now through spring. A great source for fruiting plants is Useful Plants Nursery in Black Mountain.
• This would be an excellent time to dig and plant an asparagus bed.
• Don’t let the calendar deter you from planting some vegetables. English and edible-pod peas, spinach, kale, onions and a few other cold hardy crops can be planted in late February through March.
• Plan the rest of your spring veggie garden and purchase your seeds from Sow True Seed!
• Help cure spring fever on a pleasant winter day by cleaning out the garden storage area. Clean tools and sharpen pruners.