February

Alsip Home & Nursery Gardening Calendar for February

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After a snowstorm, help your hedges by brushing off the snow with a broom. If you don't do this, the weight may snap or kill the branches. Sometimes, the entire plant can get pushed askew and will then look misshapen when spring returns. Allow ice on the stems to melt on its own.

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On a mild day, tour the yard and look closely for signs of frost heaving. Freeze-thaw cycles cause entire plant root balls, especially of newer plants and shrubs, to rise above the ground, sometimes at alarmingly crooked angles. Just push the plants back into place, and mulch or re-mulch them to prevent it from happening again.

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Keep ice from forming on your garden pond. If the surface gets covered over completely, gases harmful to overwintering fish and plants become trapped. Luckily, we have a selection of pond heaters that will do just the trick!

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Draw up a new plan for your vegetable garden—and aim to rotate crops. If you grow the same thing in the same spot each year, plant-specific pests will know it, hang around, and re-attack, so you want to confuse or thwart them. Also, rotating crops keeps vital soil nutrients from becoming depleted.

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Save your scraps. Egg shells, veggies, kitchen scraps.  These make great compost. Store outside if needed. Purchase a compost bin or make one from old pallets. This compost of food scraps will make excellent (and virtually free) fertilizer for your vegetable or flower garden this spring and summer.

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This is a fine time to repot your houseplants. They may be pot-bound, or the soil mix may be compacted or worn out. Your plants will repay you with a fresh surge of growth. Remember to accommodate special needs— African violets like a more peaty mix; succulents prefer extra sand or perlite for better drainage.

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There's still time to grow paper-white narcissus and amaryllis bulbs. There's no reason you can't pot them, and get them growing. There's still lots of time to enjoy their unique beauty (and in the case of the paper-whites, wonderful fragrance).