February Garden Guide

Being one of the hottest months of the year, February is one of the main harvest periods and it’s all about reaping the rewards of what you have sown and planted.

What to plant in February

In the vegetable garden

  • Many summer crops will be harvested and pulled out of the ground this month. While the garden is empty, take time to replenish the soil with a new layer of compost or Tui Sheep Pellets.
  • Sweetcorn: protect plants from strong winds by staking them.
  • Potatoes: keep mounding up rows of potatoes to ensure a bigger harvest. When watering potatoes, water the soil and not the leaves.
  • Tomatoes: remove the lower leaves of plants to allow more light to ripen the lower trusses of fruit. Remove any diseased leaves or fruit that appears.

In the fruit garden

  • Pick passionfruit, strawberries, loganberries, raspberries, apricots, peaches, plums, apples.
  • Apply a side dressing of Tui Strawberry Food to give berries a energy boost for autumn harvest.
  • Taller growing berries such as boysenberries, blackberries and other scrambling berries will require staking.
  • Remove excess apples from apple trees, in some cases apples produce too much fruit and if left on the tree will limit the size and quality of ripening fruit.
  • Once nectarines, peaches and plums have finished fruiting, prune to shape and to remove any dead or diseased branches.

In the flower garden

  • Pick roses, hydrangeas, carnations, delphiniums, lilies, gladiolus, sweet peas, cosmos, gypsophila, agapanthus, pineapple lily, sunflowers, geraniums, marguerite daisy.
  • Bulbs will appear in stores this month, they are best planted once the soil cools down.
  • Plant fuchsia, petunias, impatiens, dahlias, echinacea, verbascum, verbena, alyssum, cosmos, arctotis, gazania, marigolds, nemesia, wallflower.
  • Deadhead or cut back summer flowers to encourage a fresh batch.
  • Fertilise roses with Tui Rose Food to give the last blooms of the season a boost.
  • Aphids and whitefly are still active. Be vigilant and spray with a suitable insect spray, or if infestations are small blast them off with the hose.

Regional variaton: remember that there will be differences between crop timings depending on where you live, and the variety of vegetable grown. Always factor in climatic differences when sowing, planting and harvesting.

Follow our Planting Calendar for your region >

Tui Tips

  • It's important to keep an eye on watering at this time and keep the soil moist to prevent plants from wilting.
  • Add thick layers of compost or Tui Pea Straw Mulch to vegetable beds to conserve water, reduce weeds and add valuable nutrients to the soil.
  • Apply Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic every 2-4 weeks to promote strong growth and keep your garden thriving.
  • Lay Tui Quash every few weeks to keep slugs and snails at bay over the summer months.
When should I plant
in
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
  • Harvest in 30-40 days

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February Garden Guide Comments

  • I am wondering what spray I can use for a mass invasion of the " clicker bug) sorry I don't know its real name. They are all over everything but am worried about spraying garden crops as I never use any sprays in vege and fruit garden? Now I am so worried they will destroy everything. ( They are the insect I call "fluffybums" until they turn into a winged insect.

    sue Anderson

  • Can you help. I often hear that lemon trees are so easy to grow. I have nothing but trouble trying to grow mine. It is now in a pot!

    Lyn Skudder

  • All Tips & Task ideas will all be gratefully received. Thank you.

    Shirley-Anne Kivell

  • stink bugs,how do you kill them

    karl parslow

  • Hi I live in the Wairarapa and need to prune our apricot tree ,its getting to big, when do i do this and how much can i take off

    Garry Thomas

  • When are black boy peaches ready - in Christchurch. Do they soften on the tree?

    Louise

  • Hi Louise, they should be ready to harvest now. Stone fruit will continue to ripen if picked once the ripening process has begun on the tree. Thanks, Jenna - Tui Team

    jenna

  • Hi Garry, it is best to prune your apricot tree in winter or early spring before it begins to produce new growth. Remove any unhealthy branches and thin out any bushy areas in the leaves. For easier access to the fruit, apricots are usually grown as open-centre, vase-style trees with the central leader removed. Aim to develop a framework of well-spaced branches that are capable of bearing heavy crops without breaking. Remove any crossing branches to give aeration and sunlight to the centre of the tree. Thanks, Tui Team

    jenna

  • Hi Lyn, that is a shame. Are you able to provide us with more detail of how you have planted and cared for your lemon trees? Check out our Citrus Growing Guide here: http://www.tuigarden.co.nz/howtoguide/citrus-growing-guide for some useful tips on growing citrus in pots.Thanks, Tui Team

    jenna

  • Hi Sue, thank you for getting in touch. These insects are very prevalent at this time of year. You can spray using a natural insect spray such as Tui Insect Control for Fruit & Veges. You will need to do this a number of times to get the insects that are hatching over a two weeks period. All the best. Thanks, Tui Team

    jenna

  • I have quite a large grapefruit tree which usually has fruit on it all year round. Now for some reason there are no ripe fruit and little ones seem to be dropping off. Also when is the best time for pruning. I need to cut the height mainly.

    Lorraine

  • Hi Karl, these bugs are very hard to control as they have a hard shell. There isn?t a lot that deters them, squashing them and leaving the bug on the plant is a deterrent to other vege bugs as they emit a horrible smell. Other than being very smelly, they don?t usually do a lot of damage unless populations get very high. Make sure the area is weed free as they can be a host for the bug and also any old foliage which is infected from the previous season is removed and thrown in the rubbish. Thanks, Tui Team

    jenna

  • Hi Lorraine, sometimes trees need to take a break and for whatever reason this season is not so good. It could have been wet when the tree was flowering and the bees didn?t pollinate the flowers, you may be in an area prone to frost and a late frost has nipped the flowers. Trees usually drop their fruit when they are stressed, if the load is too much for the tree or it has dried out or has irregular watering. To save itself it will drop the fruit. Feed your tree with Tui Citrus Food or Tui Novatec Premium in August/September and again in late summer. If you are in a frost prone area avoid feeding in autumn as this will push soft new growth which won?t have hardened off before winter. Mulch around the tree with Tui Mulch & Feed to help conserve soil moisture, it has blood and bone and powdered sheep manure in it to feed the tree and condition the soil. Generally citrus don?t need pruning but when they get too big they respond well. Prune in winter when the lemon tree borer is not active. If pruning in summer (or spring) make sure all cuts are painted with a water based paint or pruning paste as this is an entry point for the lemon tree borer to lay its eggs. Thanks, Tui Team.

    jenna

  • Most informative, a must for the home gardener.

    Alan Bean

  • why are white butterflies so prelevent this year

    julia robinson

  • Hi Julia, it is the time of year. White butterfly are most prevalent at this time of year. Thanks, Tui Team.

    jenna

  • Hi there, I have a problem with my tomato plants, they are covered with what looks like a white powder but it is very sticky, it is all over the plants and fruit, but the fruit is still k and tastes good????

    Dennis Dromgool

  • Hi Dennis, thank you for getting in touch. It could be late blight and powdery mildew. At this time of the year just let the fruit ripen, there isn?t much point in spraying, pull off the lower infected leaves. As the season is nearly over, make sure any diseased material is disposed of in the rubbish and not into the compost. Keep harvesting the fruit. Thanks, Jenna - Tui Team.

    jenna

  • Passion vine hoppers leave a sticky white mess i sprayed mine with pyrethrum spray

    Rhonda

  • I have planted carrots x 3 since Christmas and have had NO luck with germination. Early November I planed two rows and they were great. What is ,my problem?

    Ann O'Hara

  • What is the wee beetle thats eating into my peachcots, they burrow in then the fruit gets rot from it.. and what to do about it

    Nyla Sorensen

  • Blueberries.my are late summer/autumn variety. Heaps of berries yet to turn blue. Should I feed the berries and what with?

    Mariann

  • Hi Mariann, it is a good sign you have berries on your plant. A feed will help give them a boost. Give your plants an application of Seasol plant tonic and apply a side dressing of Tui Strawberry Food or Tui Citrus Food. Thanks, Tui Team

    jenna

  • Hi Nyla, what a shame. There is little you can do now to deal with the problem once you notice it getting into the fruit. The best way to control this is to prevent the insects in the first place. This can be done by spraying with a preventative spray, do check on withholding periods if you use one that is chemically based - check at your local garden centre. Fine nets can be placed over the trees to prevent the beetles from landing as well. All the best. Thanks, Tui Team

    jenna

  • Hi Ann, often in the heat of summer the soil gets too hot for carrot seed to germinate reliably, especially in areas where the soil gets very hot during the day, the germinating seedlings can easily cook! Spring, early summer and autumn are the best months to sow carrots. You should have more luck now. All the best, Tui Team.

    jenna

  • My Meyer lemon tree that is several years old has a lot of leaves but no fruit. Also the leaves have little bubble type spots on them. I've sprayed them with copper spray as the fruit had scale on them - now nothing! I've had my lime for 3 years and still no fruit. Help please. Thanks.

    Maureen

  • Blueberries like a slightly acid soil. You can achieve this with a handful of citric acid per large plant. Buy it at the supermarket. It is cheap.

    Peter Miller

  • Hi there I planted sweet corn for the first time and got a great crop do I leave the plants in the ground to come back or do I pull them out and plant new next year

    Kyley

  • Hi Maureen, suggest you prune your lemon tree now, this will stimulate some new growth which in time should produce some flowering / fruiting wood. At the same time, fertilise your plant with citrus fertiliser and regularly apply Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic for healthy growth. For your lime tree, if it is still small, consider moving it to a different site, or do the same as suggested above for the lemon tree. All the best ^Tui Team

    jenna

  • Hi Kyley, thank you for getting in touch. Good you on doing so well, sweetcorn is a very rewarding crop. It does only live for one season, so remove the plants after you have finished harvesting. Happy gardening from the Tui Team.

    jenna