VIU Milner Gardens and Woodland

February Growing Tips

by Vancouver Island Master Gardeners Association

Welcome to Milner Gardens' 2022 Monthly Growing Tips:  Some short-cuts and tricks to help make lighter work of your gardening chores.

In the Veggie Patch

When you begin harvesting lettuces, cabbage, sprouting broccoli, and kale this month, bring some thick slices of potatoes with you. Stick an inch of the ends in the ground around these plants (3 to a plant, or 2 inches from plant, 6 inches apart along both edges of a raided row), especially lettuces and meslcuns. When the wire worms wake up around the end of the month, they’ll prefer them to your plants. You can pick the worm out of the potato slice then replace it in the soil. By spring planting time, you’ll have saved many more young seedlings from this pest.

Many winter vegetables get frozen. Do not harvest them. They will thaw out and sweeter for the frost. This includes the brassicas and all the winter greens.

When harvesting winter greens take only 2-3 leaves from any plant. These plants actually grow very slowly when the temperature is above freezing, but need enough leaves produce chlorophyll and protect the stalks from desiccation due to winter wind. A study done by Dr. Linda Gilkison proved this harvest method yields up to 4 times the edibles than taking more leaves per plant.


Shed Gardening

When cleaning and preparing containers, planters and hanging baskets calculate the volume of your large pots and planters so you’ll know how much soil and compost to have on hand. Measure a container’s volume (width x height x diameter, or width x height x length), and mark it on the inside rim. You can purchase easy-clean outdoor acrylic paint in many colours at Michael’s Craft Stores either in-store or online for $2 per 60 ml/2 oz. pot. Don’t want to wait? A white-out pen works great, is easy to read and won’t fade like a marker!

Line large planters with landscape cloth. It stops the soil from leaking out the drain holes and makes it easier to remove soil by using the cloth as a grab-the-corners-bag. If the inside of the planter is sealed with paint or glaze is also protects tender roots from coming in contact with any chemical residue.


In the Home Orchard

After spraying dormant oil on fruit trees(which must be done before bud break) add a layer of protection against pests that overwinter in the ground with a collar of Tanglefoot. Under the base tape (on which you spread the tanglefoot glue), place a band of sponge/latex foam or pink housing insulation (wider than the tape) around the trunk. This will be pressed into the truck’s crannies and held in place by the wrapped Tanglefoot tape. A much higher percentage of pests will climb up the outside rather than under the tape, so be caught in the Tanglefoot. Wear gloves and a cap: you DO NOT want that stuff on hands, face or in hair!


Green Groaners

'A Gardener's Dictionary'

Peony = a small horse

Crocus = a very angry bird

Fungi = a mushroom who is the life of the party

Pansy = a get-rich scheme

Chili = a very cold food crop


And remember:  Even the Creator kept a garden.