Sunday, February 1, 2009

To Do List for February

The idea of a To Do List came about last February from one of my loyal readers, Nina. At the time this blog was being published through an FTP website, that being the local newspaper. I thought providing a list of to do tasks for these local readers would be a good service. I have continued it despite the fact I no longer publish primarily for local folks because I find the lists helpful to me and perhaps to others within the same general area with the same growing conditions. Some chores will work for all zones, some won't.

Since the list will not normally change from year to year, I have decided to republish the To Do lists each month on the first. These lists are designed as a guide for all gardeners living in the same general area and Zone as I do; which is on the edge of Zone 6/7. I will add new chores in as appropriate when readers make suggestions. I will also adjust them as I see fit during the month in order to provide the most comprehensive list I possibly can. Most things I do in the garden I do by habit or based on observations of what I see in my garden. Depending on weather conditions the timing of certain chores may change. Generally speaking these are chores
I do in my garden and I understand that not everyone will do the same things. Again, these are just guidelines, use them as you see fit.

1. Cut back perennials, ornamental grasses, and roses if you haven't already done so. Dispose of perennials in the compost bin, I don't put rose canes in the compost because it takes a long time for them to breakdown. They go to the dump.

2. Pull mulch back from emerging perennials and bulbs. Stomp down ground to make sure your perennials have good ground contact and the voles haven't damaged them too much.

3. Mow or weedwhack monkey grass. This step is not necessarily something you have to do, but for aesthetics it is nice to get the old grass out of your bed so when the new comes in the old doesn't detract from the new.

4. Start seeds. Label the seeds well as you plant. I can't tell you how many times I have not done this and had to guess at the plants. Last year I had to guess between Chinese-Forget-Me-Nots and salvia, fortunately I guessed right.

5. Order perennials and summer bulbs.

6. Finish pruning trees and shrubs-do NOT prune spring and early summer blooming shrubs such as: forsythia, deutzia, oak leaf hydrangeas, mopheads, ninebark, honeysuckle, mock orange, lilacs, quince, azaleas, rhododendrons, etc.

7. Cut back the hydrangea paniculatas if you have not already done so (they can get large and leggy without cutting back and bloom on new wood late in the season so cutting back will not hurt them). I cut back my Tardiva, Pink Diamond, and Grandiflora. I am waiting to see how Limelight grows before I decide if I want to cut it back.

8. Prepare the vegetable bed for planting and begin planting your cool season crops such as: peas, lettuce, onions, and potatoes. Make sure you have a plan for succession planting and for fitting in the summer crops. Plant these cool season crops at the end of February. Planting early does not give the crop a headstart. Be careful of fall crops you planted last year such as garlic.

9. Cut old hellebore foliage back if you haven't already done so. The plants should be blooming soon or already blooming.

10. Transplant and plant new shrubs or trees. Performing this task while the plants are dormant is the best time for the plant. The ground should not be frozen when planting and I allow about one week with rain before a freeze and after planting, or I do not plant. Also, if you plant an evergreen and it is in an area that receives a lot of wind, you may want to stake or tie it up so it does not topple over in the soft winter soil. This I have learned the hard way.

11. Label and mark early spring bloomers or make a map of the bed showing where they are located. Make note of empty spots and divide daffodils as you see fit. I divide mine each spring and it does not seem to hurt the bulb at all. Some say to wait until after bloom and that is fine too. Just don't divide while they are in full bloom or you may sacrifice the flower. Be sure to add some bulb booster or bone meal when you divide. Ashes in moderate quantities are also good additives to the soil for bulbs.

12. Cut back beautyberries and buddleia to about knee height. This can be done next month if not completed this month. I like to be an early bird with cutting back dead foliage and shrubs that need to be trimmed. It is a personal choice only.

13. Apply a good quality time released acid fertilizer to your camellias, hydrangeas, azaleas, and rhododendrons. I always do this prior to a good rain.

14. Add Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub Care granular fertilizer to trees and shrubs that have been or are likely to be bothered by chewing insects. Some trees I treat are: birch (sawflies) and oak trees (oak galls). I also treat azaleas due to spider mites, lacebugs, and scale. I have seen a big improvement in the health of those treated trees and shrubs from last year.

15. I like to cut back all of last year's dead foliage. Plants to cut back now are: mums, shastas, brown eyes, coneflowers, eupatoriums, anemones, sedums, oregano, and gladioli.

16. Apply a pre-emergent/fertilizer treatment to your lawn. A general rule of thumb is when you see the forsythias bloom here it is a good time to treat your lawn. I prefer to skip this treatment and treat in early May instead. Most of the weeds in my lawn are of the summer growing variety and treating them now will not prevent their growth.

17. Keep bird feeders filled and water dishes clean.

in the garden....

I will not be responding to comments on this post. A bit different for me, but this post is more informational and doesn't need input from me. Probably most of my posts don't need input but I do so like talking with everyone on this blog and on theirs as well. Never fear, I will still talk with you on your blog or an individual basis here!

I will add and adjust this list according to how the month goes and also based on commenters' suggestions so that each year it will get better and better. Hope you understand and if you object to a comment you make this year being published next year, please don't comment. I like the history all of the comments provide me, but normally they are not republished so this might throw off quite a few commenters. If it does I am sorry and totally understand you not commenting on the To Do Lists, but I do not want to delete the old comments when I republish the To Do lists each month and it is silly to prepare a different To Do list each month when I have them already in the archives. I do hope you understand, I am going outside of the blogging box here now my fellow bloggers and commenters, but this makes the most sense to me and how I'd like to do it on the blog. Thanks. I will respond to any direct questions. And never fear, I do read and appreciate all comments.

I want to thank Karrita at My Mother's Garden. for the very lovely handmade soap/trinket dish pictured above. I simply love the blue color and fine detailing of it. The Jimster was quite impressed too and tried to figure out how the tree was made. It is just lovely, and thanks Karrita! It has a place of honor near my computer on my desk.

in the garden....again.


  1. Tina, Thanks for the info, I have printed it to file in my gardening notebook.

  2. Great list -I know you've been guiding me with my trees and I appreciate all this knowledge you share. THANKS!

  3. It's a good list Tina! I'm going to wait a little longer on the perennial pruning. I'm a little afraid of another false warm trend and cold snap. I have a bunch of building projects I need to get to like my veggie garden.

  4. In our paper today (down here in GA) was an article on clipping the Monkey grass! How ironic you mentioned it also... We had over an inch of rain during the night and sun is out today but real windy. The Saint and I will go to town for supplies once he gets home from work today. Hopefully, we will get the roof repaired first (been trying for 3 weeks now) LOL, then the veggie garden. But we all know how that goes....
    Have a good weekend all and Hang in there Tina, I am praying for a full recovery with the pups. Dr. Herbeck is a good Vet and I am sure he will do his best for the little guys!

  5. This list is just based on what I am thinking I need to do right now and have been working slowly toward it. I realized I forgot to mention don't clip azaleas and rhododendrons either. I will adjust it as the month goes on for my own use but please use it as a guideline everyone.

    The pups I took to Dr. Herbeck yesterday are better. The one I saw looked like a new pup and recognized me. It was a relief. I am pretty positive all pups will survive no problem-not sure about the rescue though because this type of care is expensive.

    Skeeter, did the paper say to clip the monkey grass? This is something I just started doing last year but not necessary. You have to hit it early or you will also whack off the new growth. I am curious to see if they said the same thing.

  6. Oh good Tina, I am very glad to hear the pups are doing better. Good job on catching it early.

  7. Paper said to look for new growth before clipping. You can set the mower height according and clip with mower or hand clip with edge clippers. I had never clipped it until last year as it was getting too ugly looking below the new growth. They also said you dont have to clip but most people do to keep it looking pretty and healthy... So yep, pretty much said what you said...

    Need to run now. Okay walk, on the treadmill that is. Need to drop a pound for buffalo wings on Sunday!

  8. thanks mom! just wish i could stop it! such an insidious thing and the poor rescue has a ton of bills for these little guys. sandy posted it on her blog.

  9. skeeter, i am weedwhacking mine this year. much faster and easier. it won't hurt monkey grass.

  10. How are the pups today? I read on people and pets two more are sick. Sounds like if they go a couple of days they will be pass the baddest part.
    I'm with Skeeter, if Dade makes it and he's a carrier, he may stay.

  11. yup, two more. it seems to come out at night but i am hoping these last two don't get sick tonight and i wake up to lethargic pups. they have been on a preventative so that should be kicking in. they are doing great. playing, eating and staying sweet. this virus spreads around so fast.

    i really liked the idea of fostering to get to know a pup before you adopt it. as much as i love them all and would love to adopt one, i keep tripping over two 100 pound full grown goldens in my small living room and could NOT put another big dog in there. we'd have to move out! that decided me the first day and even before i fostered them. mr. fix it says no too. he is ever so hopeful they get well soon.

    they are doing well and still holding their own. two of them are eating some gruel so that is great. they just need to get it out of their systems. so rough on young ones. anyone with kids knows that feeling.

  12. I'm so sorry, it is horriable to wait and almost have expectations things aren't going well. They are in the right place and although it feels helpless, what doesn't kill us, makes us stronger. Right?
    I'm waiting for jack of all trades to get back from a call, oh just walked in. After sup we are returning to moving, got the couch, end tables and a couple book cases out there. Nikki even commented how hard moving is. Zack invited a friend over, and btw he can help Zack, help us move. Nice of him huh?! Gotta go. Kitchen table is next!

  13. Dawn do you have cable in the house? Hope so and then you can watch the Pats Sunday in your new house!!!

  14. I too will print out guidelines for future use. I have trouble remembering all.

    I hope the "babies" will get much better soon. I've seen what this stuff can do.

    Got the kiddies so time is scarce. Will take them home tomorrow morning. The oldest has just started on meds for ADD or what ever it's called. I just hope it doesn't do him the other way.

    The hellebore look great, just a bit cold. I try to cover everything up. Too much sometime.

    I see your weather got a little worse. Very soon it will be gone & all the flowers will be popping out.

  15. Yes we do, but the ironic thing is that we lost our family tv last night. Jack of all trades has been to wally world twice thinking of what to buy!?! room....we just don't know what we need! We still have our br one and the kids have to ones you got them so we won't miss out. Just have to decide comfort-waterbed tomorrow soooo, its foolish to base life on Sunday, but alot of us do!!!

  16. PS. Did I mention I stopped a plasma/hdtv, big screen thingamagig from arriving home??? 2x's???? OAY VEY

  17. Tina, Sorry to hear about two more pups at the Vet! Darn that stinking virus! I am keeping positive and know all will work out well....

    The Saint and I ran to town as planned and we ended up in the garden center before we made it to the lumber portion of the store for materials to repair the wood shed roof! LOL... We found some wire fencing that is kind of decorative that we think will keep the bunny out. The deer can walk right over it if they want to but I dont think they will be the main problem but rather the bunnies. I also came home with Carrot, Parsley and Cat Nip seed! I am hooked on seeds yall!!! I may need to go to therapy before it is over with... Is it passion or obsession Tina? LOL... Anyway, we plan to get the roof repaired and a garden dug and fenced in tomorrow. So a full day in the yard!

    Then we headed to Wal-Mart for some food or should I say JUNK for Super Bowl Sunday. We did not have but a handful of stuff and it cost as much as a normal buggy of real food! Junk food is pricey... LOL....but oh so yummy while watching football… Get that TV Dawn with Peaches!

    Keep them kiddies busy Lola...

    Tina, I was wondering about weed wacking my grass too! But we only have a small planter so it is not that much trouble to cut it by hand so I may just clip by hand like last year...

  18. lola, sorry i did not answer your comment yesterday. here i am. spring should be here in your neck of the woods and i bet the flowers are everywhere!

    dawn with peaches, before you go buy all new stuff, you should wait awhile to find out how you live in the house. it is like a garden, you need some time to get to know it and your habits. trust me, you won't make too many mistakes that way.

    skeeter, glad you got some nice fencing. i think fencing around a vegetable garden for a purpose is good, but it is even ornamental and helps to define boundaries for you too.

    saw your comment on the saint not getting nails. i would say that is a guy fault, but i do it all the time and have to "run" back to town. not fun and such a time waster. go easy on him.

  19. I love these to do list for the gardens, just whish there was on more appropriate for my zone.

  20. What a long, detailed list, Tina! I can see you're going to be very busy in the days to come. Well, I'm waiting to see the result of all your hard work. Its bound to be spectacular!

  21. All I have to do is wait a few weeks, and this list will apply to me here in zone 5b.

  22. Hi Tina,

    Wanted to say hey and thanks for the reminders! There are a few I need to attend!


  23. My biggest need is to get going on the lay out of my veggies!

  24. A very comprehensive list Tina, guess we were on the same wave length today. :) Our lists were similar but you have a few I need to add.

  25. Tina,

    Good list. The Musician and I were just basking in the sun on our front porch and talking about cutting back the grasses and buddleia.


  26. I like this, Tina. A lot of it IS good advice for me, here in Virginia. I'm in zone 6/7 too...but our climates are still different, so everything that's true for you wouldn't be true for me. I do need to cut back everything, because I've left them for winter interest. I'm already getting inspired to start doing thank you for this!

    Also, I am going to receive something from lovely Karitta, too!! It's so fun to share in this way with the PIF. I need to post mine...maybe today!! So much going on can't find the time to post:( Be well!!

  27. Since we are zone 7, I know it's time to start some of these chores soon here. Just reading the list gets me excited to think it's time to really get to work outside! For some reason even though it's still cold and gray here, February always seem to mark the official start of gardening season for me!

  28. Wow, Tina with the pups, Dawn moving and Super Bowl Sunday!!! Where has the year gone? I guess that is good as it means we will be in the garden soon, even if I look out my window and see a foot of snow.

  29. Hi all! Great day here in Tennessee. Mr. Fix it and I are on our way to an Antique Auto Swap meet in Nashville-too bad I can't get started on my chores-like cutting that monkey grass. Urgh! Anyhow, just wanted to say its always nice to hear from you all. Many of the chores will surely carry over somehow somewhere, and plant stuff too:) And yes! Gardening season definitely seems to begin in February-won't be long now. I actually have tulips coming up. Yahoo! Have a great Super Bowl Weekend! Go Steelers!

  30. Hi Tina~
    First, I am so pleased that you like your little dish! I had a delightful surprise today when I saw the picture of your post in my blog sidebar :)
    This To Do List is quite helpful and a little much to do. I can do maybe half of these things in my zone 10 garden. Which works out just perfect for me...the 'lazy gardener'.

  31. What a wonderful blue gift! Really nice...

    Jean, it is hard to believe all of that was a year ago! My, how time flies...

    Monkey grass may be clipped here today. I have not really looked at it but since I spotted daffys 5 inches tall, I bet the Monkey grass is popping up also. Thanks for the reminder!

    Sunny today and time to play pick up sticks. Not my favorite yard fun. Arg....
    Enjoy the meet Tina, I am sure Mr Fixit will have more fun though... Have a good Day everyone!

  32. Looking forward to the 1st of each month.....very interesting!

  33. Thanks for the reminder Tina. Lots to do around here. Just have to get motivated.
    It was 31ยบ this a.m. at 8:30. About normal for this time of yr. Grey looking out but sun peeks out once in a while. Leaves still falling from the big oak tree in back. It has very small leaves that are hard to rake up. Better to be vacuumed up with mower.

  34. HA Tina, so the post you are not going to answer comments on have a bajillion comments. I do love your to do list, especially for this month. This is when we finally get to do some real gardening again, weather permitting is right! I have to ask you about the Bayer's keeping down the lacebug on the azaleas, a big problem here with the drought condition, it keeps the leaves clean? And Karrita's gift is a beauty!

  35. I know I didn't leave a comment on this post last year, because I wasn't reading blogs yet at this time:)
    A great list--you could re-publish it in March for those of us in zone 5, because we won't be able to do any of these things until then, except feed the birds, of course.

  36. Hey all! Back from Nashville. We spent a total of $5 and that was my buy-a Dale Earnhart clock. Too funny huh?

    Frances, I applied the Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub to the oaks and azaleas in the early spring of 2008 and my foliage on the azaleas was the cleanest ever! I swear by this stuff I really do.There was no white stuff or mottling on the leaves or veining or anything so I know it is the Bayer. You only have to apply it once per year and that is a very good benefit. Central Florida Gardener also recommends Bayer for azaleas on her blog so I know others have had luck. I learned of Bayer through a pesticide/turf management program at TSU last February. Normally I do not use these types of things here but otherwise the plants will sometimes go under. This is a systemic pesticide, the tree will take it up so all sucking insects and chewers are affected, non sucking-no. It does not harm bees and other pollinators. It has not helped much with the oak galls, but those are a tougher nut to crack since the oaks are so tall. The galls can be a problem but hopefully time will work it out. This year I am hoping the Bayer will help prevent the sawfly infestation on my little birch that I had last summer. It was devastating to the tree (and the bugs once I sprayed them). Anyhow, check it out. They also have it for roses and I hear it does well for roses, though my concern was the shrubs and trees.

    Rose, When is your blogiversary? Coming up soon? I know a lot of you have anniversaries coming soon. A real milestone that one year.

  37. Your to-do list sounds almost as long as mine will be, but that won't happen until April here probably. I may think about buying some seeds soon though.

  38. That's a very comprehensive list Tina. I should save it for I garden a lot more "haphazardly" then you, I think... I'm in zone 5 so the timing of some of your chores might be a month off for me but still worth the reminder. Our town is very forward thinking when it comes to recycling and they encourage everyone to bring their garden trimmings to a central collection area where it is turned into compost/mulch, etc. They also provide yard carts and pick it up at the curb (for those that can't/don't want to haul it). Very handy for all these spring chores.

  39. Haha, I was just doing some of these to-dos to-day. Unfortunately raking leaves took up most of the time. Thanks for the list, though. I'm forever wondering what to do when.