February Garden Chores

While my hemlock are bending under the weight of snow, there is no shortage of garden prep work you can be doing now.

5 garden things to do on a cold snowy late February day (when you kids are home from school again because of snow!)

1) Peruse thorough seed catalogs. Not only do some make for good reading (Fedco is my favorite http://www.fedcoseeds.com/ ) But it will give you the opportunity to learn a bit more about the culture of growing specific favorite plants.

2) Start seeds. This is a great thing to do with kids. You have not capitulated on getting them that Golden Retriever they have been asking for but what about giving them that…eggplant they have been asking for. Ok, they never asked for it but think what fun for the whole family it would be. This morning my daughter Priya (5 years old) was scooping the soil into the planting cell. My son Forrest (8 years old) was labeling all the plant tags. And I was sowing the seeds.

3) Planning the Orchard. Who would not want a few peach and apple trees in there back yards? Even the smallest back yards (providing you have some sun) can accommodate some of the dwarf varieties. People are often surprised to find out that I grow over 20 kinds of fruits in my back yard here in Chesterfield MA. Apple, apricot, plum, peach, pear, asian pear, persimmons, cherry, strawberry (June and ever-bearing), currants, blackberries (thornless and thorny), raspberries (early, mid and late), blueberries (early, mid and late), grapes, hardy banana, hardy orange, paw paw, watermelon, cantaloupe, beach plum & kiwis. All are organically managed.
If you are looking for locally grown and totally funky fruit check out Steve in Southampton at Tripple Brook Farm http://www.tripplebrookfarm.com/index.shtml
Slightly less esoteric, but great quality is a family run nursery in upstate NY that I often use, Cummings Nursery http://cumminsnursery.com/

4) Design a cold frame or small green house- Have you been picking spinach, mesclun, chard, kale, etc… over the last month. I have and not with to much work either. At its simplest, with a few old recycled windows, scrap 2×4’s and the carpentry skills of Bob-The-Builder you are on your way to 4 season gardening. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_frame

4) Plan to incorporate more edibles into your landscape. Why not have a plant do double duty, look beautiful and feed your family?

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