February gardening tips
February in Gauteng, like many other parts of the country is a tricky time of year, being that its too late for summer planting but also too little early for winter planting. Getting advice from your local accredited garden centre would be a great place to start.
Remove dead flowers from summer flowering perennials like Agapanthus and Liliums. Wait for the cooler days of March and April to lift and divide these.
Dead head flowering bulbs, like Dahlias, to extend their flowering time. Feed your bulbs that have finished flowering with a good quality bulb food – now is the time that they store these nutrients in their little bulbs for winter dormancy and to ensure beautiful blooms in the next season.
Keep your azaleas and camellias well watered this will ensure that you get a good show of flowers in winter and spring. You can also promote lots of blooms by feeding with 5:1:5 or 3:1:5. Mulch with bark chips to create an acid medium.
Keep an eye out and spray if necessary all your susceptible plants for aphids, powdery mildew, black spot, rust and redspidermite. Snails and slugs are out in full force with the rains, a simple scattering of sluggem or snail bait will sort them out.
Once all your deciduous fruits have stopped producing, shape the tree lightly and be sure to remove any diseased branches. Ensure that all fallen fruit is removed from around the tree as this is a breeding ground for fruit fly. Feed with a general fertiliser like 2:3:2 fertiliser and water well.
Top up the mulch layer around your citrus trees and water twice a week, if needed. Feed with an organic 3:1:5 fertiliser. Check for aphids and psylla and treat appropriately if need be.
For your sure to grow edible winners we would recommend onions, spring onions, some of your leafy greens like spinach and lettuce and on the herb front, rocket, coriander and parsley. If you’ve never had much success with parsley, it’s probably due to an issue with incorrect watering. Parsley doesn’t like wet feet, so don’t overwater it and with the rains we have recieved this month ensure it’s in well-draining soil.
Sweet peas can also be sown now. Prepare a trench with well-rotted kraal manure and add a lot of compost, bonemeal and an organic fertiliser to the soil. The key to successful sweet peas is enriched and well-draining soil. Soak the seeds overnight in warm water before sowing directly in the trench.
When looking at annuals it’s best to go straight for bi-annuals like gazanias and dianthus which will last you through winter.
Do not allow your lawn to become too long and then mow it too short, exposing the roots to direct sunlight. Rather mow more frequently with the blades set on high. Water deeply once a week if it has not rained and feed with a balanced fertiliser to keep it lush and actively growing. Look out for mole crickets, ants and harvester termites within your lawn.