Gardening Jobs in February

Gardening Jobs in February

What kind of gardening jobs can there possibly be in February?

In the middle of February, I itch to get back into gardening. Granted, it’s early days, and there isn’t that much to do – but there is always something, even as early as February.∗

It is still winter, and the weather has been pretty wild and stormy, but I have spotted the first snowdrops, and even the first Winter Aconite is out! They are such a welcome sight – tentative signs that spring is on its way. Even though temperatures are far from balmy, Mother Earth is stirring…

It’s a botanical wake-up call. Suddenly, I feel restless, itching to do some gardening. But where to start, and what to do?


(Crocus vernus)

The spring crocus is one of the most cherished spring flowers. Its flowers come in many different colors and to me, they are reminiscent of Easter Eggs – although Easter is still a long way away. It is the shape of the balloon-like flowers that create this association in my mind. Like the other early flowering plants, it too makes the most of dry sunny weather, to attract early pollinators, but close their flowers to protect their delicate parts as soon as cold or rainy weather is on the way.

Winter Aconite

(Eranthis hyemalis)

Like miniature suns, these golden stars warm the heart in early spring. Daringly, they open up fully to the first warming rays of the sun. But they are not stupid. As soon as the sky clouds over, they fold up their petals to keep their stamens and stigma protected and warm. While heart-warming and pretty to behold, it is good to remember that this is a Ranunculus species and all of its parts are poisonous.


(Cyclamen coum)

Cyclamens are so cute! Their pink little flowers remind me of piglets, with the snout pointing down and their ears (petals) flying in the wind, so to speak. The dainty flowers appear to be ‘inside-out’, seemingly exposing their pollinating parts. But that isn’t actually the case. Their delicate stamens and sepals are sheltered inside the ‘snout’, which forms a tubular structure that protects them against the elements. 


(Galanthus nivalis) 

These tender little flowers are the most daring of all! Long before other flowers wake up, this one has sent its spear-like flowers up, even piercing the snow, if necessary. Its bell-like dangles tenuously on the stem, protecting itself from the elements by facing the earth, rather than the sky, its petals sheltering the stamen and stigma. Snowdrops are heralds of hope at a time when winter is still raging. The message is clear. It’s early days yet, but spring IS on the way. Life will return…soon.

Indoor Gardening


Start some long-season plants indoors

I live in climate zone 7/8, so in February, gardening starts indoors. My house turns into a potting shed. I am not suggesting you should do the same. Maybe you are better organised. Perhaps you have a greenhouse or a heated cold frame where you can start the earliest seeds, protected from the cold.

If you live in northern latitudes, the growing season is limited. But you can extend it as far as possible by starting long-season plants, like chilli peppers or aubergines, in February indoors.

All you need are some starter trays and sterile starter soil that is not too nutrient-rich. It needs to be sterile so that your tender seedlings won’t have to compete for nutrients against random weeds whose seeds are lurking in the soil. This is especially important for slow-germinating seeds. Garden centres and DIY stores sell trays and starter soil, or you can make your own.

DIY seed trays

Those fancy seed trays make things a little easier: they often come with a clear plastic lid to prevent the moisture from evaporating. Sometimes, they even have a mechanism to open them without having to take the lid off. But you don’t really need that fancy stuff. It is easy to improvise by recycling your yoghurt pots, other plastic containers, or even empty milk cartons.

The right time

Here are the rules: 

  1. Start warmth-loving, long-season plants 8-10 weeks before the last expected frost in your area. 
  2. Water the seeds regularly with a watering sprayer to keep the soil moist, and if you use the DIY trays, cover them with cling film. 
  3. Place the starter trays in a bright, warm spot, and you should see the first seedlings pop up after 7-10 days, on average. 
  4. Don’t let the seedlings dry out! That would kill them! 
  5. Once all danger of frost has passed and soil temperatures have risen to about 15 °C/60 °F, you can begin hardening off your ‘babies’ before you transfer them to their permanent spots.
  6.  Harden off the plants by placing them outside during warm days and covering them at night.  


At least, this applies to those in the Northern Hemisphere who live in growing zones 7-8. Every climate zone is different, and you may have a microclimate, so take this as general guidelines – there are no guarantees.

You might also be interested in:

Garden Planning

How to plan a garden

Before you plant anything, try to really understand your garden.

Garden Planning for Success

Topiaria Gaudium

There is a strange fever going around. Strangely, it only affects gardeners: ‘Topiaria Gaudium Fever’. It is a special condition marked by high levels of excitement caused by the anticipation of the new gardening season.

what to sow in January

What to Sow in January

Here are some veggies you can sow (indoors or under glass) at the end of January (about 4 weeks before the last expected frost):

Outdoor Gardening Jobs

Once the snow has melted and the soil has dried off, it is time to get busy and prepare the beds.

Loosen the soil and get rid of any invasive weeds. (Some may well be edible!) Mix in some fresh compost. Beds that won’t be used immediately should be mulched. Let the soil settle until the temperatures are high enough to transfer your first seedlings or sow directly into the prepared bed.

Sowing directly into the soil

Sow hardy crops, such as peas, early varieties of radish, parsley, spinach, carrots, lettuce, and onion sets directly into the soil. If you are worried about late frosts, start them in a cold frame and wait to transfer them until the soil has warmed to about 15 °C.

Carrots and parsley can be slow to sprout. You can start them in a dish of wet sand. Leave the dish in the cold for about a week, then take it indoors, and you should see your carrots sprout quickly. Carrots and root parsley like loose and even soil. Prepare their permanent spot well. Mix sand and garden soil and sift them together to create light soil.


Towards the end of February, you can start ‘chitting’ your spuds. For best results, use seed potatoes. Lay them out in egg cartons and put them in a sunny spot on the windowsill, with the side with the most ‘eyes’ facing up. Let them sprout for 5-6 weeks before planting them out.

Wait until early March or April, before sowing less hardy crops.

To avoid all your plants being ready for harvest at once, you can sow successively with a 10-day interval for a longer season.

Happy gardening!

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