February has been incredibly busy!
My February garden chores included:
- Double dig every garden bed
- Plant 3 new fruit trees
- Spread a sulfur-based fertilizer around every fruit tree and blueberry bush
- Water, water, water
- Haul in some leaves, rake up some leaves (chore is not completed)
- Purchase new seeds
- Care for seedlings that were started in January
I had to double dig every garden bed. Last Spring, 2018, was a cold, very wet Spring. Most of my garden did not do well because the ground stayed soggy. The ground will need some extra boost with leaves and compost this year because of that. I had also not taken care to put a layer of mulch over the bare ground after the Spring harvest, so the grass began to take over. Trust me, that bahia grass was difficult to dig up again. I plan on bringing in lots of neighborhood bags of leaves these next few weeks to use later. I really don’t want to do all that digging again! So, it’s taken me all of February to prepare my garden for an early March planting.
To learn how to double dig a garden bed, see these posts:
To learn how to plant a fruit tree, read this post: https://seasonsofdevotion.com/how-to-plant-a-fruit-tree/
A layer of leaf mulch is important for Florida gardens.
Other parts of the country may focus on mulching with hay. We have tons of leaves for free, so let’s use “free” when we can! Many people think oak leaves or pine needles are bad for the garden due to their acidity. However, if you are watering from a well, I can pretty much guarantee that the water is very alkaline and it increases the alkalinity of your soil. The acid leaves will help balance the alkaline water. Even at that, it’s not enough acid, so, I use sulfur to bring my typical ph level to 7.0 or less. Yes, you read that right. Even after all the effort, my soil is still 7.0. I recommend that you test your soil to determine whether you need the additional sulfur but I do encourage you to not be afraid to use oak leaves and pine needles when they are available. I’ll share more on the importance of mulching in an upcoming post.
Water, water, water!
The soil and trees seem to be extra thirsty from now until the rainy season starts. Take care to not let your garden and trees dry out. They are all doing a tremendous amount of growth at this time. Water is very important.
Transplant seedlings now. I plan to transplant tomatoes and herbs this weekend, March 1st and 2nd. I’ll send a post about that soon.
If you haven’t purchased your seeds, do it now! It’s good to support your local store if you have one. Or you can shop in various online stores. To see a list of seeds of veggies for this time of year, and where to order your seeds from, read this post:https://seasonsofdevotion.com/seeds-for-a-spring-garden/
Even though February seems to be a time to rest before all the Spring activity, it can actually be one of the busiest months. If you are getting a late start, it’s ok. The planting window includes all of March, until about April 1st. You may choose to till your ground, which will save a lot of time and physical effort. If you follow this blog for a year, perhaps next year, you will only need to double dig where the corn will be going….but we’ll save that information for later.