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17979 State Route 536
Mt. Vernon, WA 98273
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February in your greenhouse

February in
Your Greenhouse
By Carol Yaw
 Sowing Seeds
As days start to lengthen again and the beginning of some warmer days appear, it's time to earnestly start sowing seeds!
 What to Start Now
  1. Sow any veggie seeds you didn't start last month that will go outside in your cold frame or under cloches in spring - such as broad beans, early lettuce, cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, parsnips and early peas. At seedling stage, move them into full light. (If you are in a colder climate, you can also choose to grow them on in your greenhouse.)
  1. Sow early tomato seeds for planting in a cool greenhouse for April or, if you are keeping a minimum 50° F temperature at night, you can grow tomatoes on in your greenhouse now.
  1. Start shallots and onion sets in flats or pots of moist peat. Plant them outside after they have about 1" of root growth.

  2. Sow bedding plant seeds like Alyssum, Ageratum, Lobelia, Celosia, Sweet Pea, Stocks and Verbena to be planted outside later.
  1. In your propagator or on top of a heat mat, start your containers of half-hardy annuals, including Dahlias, Petunias, Geraniums, Salvias, African Marigolds, Abutilon, Pelargonium and Schizanthus.

    Also start potted plants for summer flowering like Hibiscus, Streptocarpus and Morning Glory.

    Place Gladioli corms on a tray of peat and propagate at 50° F for earlier flowering outside later.
  1. Pot up Lily, Gloxinia, Achimenes, Begonia and Hippeastrum bulbs.

  2. Propagate cuttings of Dahlia, Carnations, Mums and pot them up when rooted.

  3. Pot on into 5" pots over-wintered cuttings of Coleus, Pelargoniums and Geraniums.

  4. Remove about 1" of old compost from the surface of potted shrubs and top-dress them with new potting soil or rich compost.

  5. Place dormant pots of Hydrangea and Fuchsia in full light and water slightly more to bring into full growth again.
  1. Check for any other plants that are showing active growth that may need repotting now.

 More Tips for Success

  1. Wash and sterilize any previously used pot-paks, seed trays, pots and humidity domes before reusing.

  2. If you need to replace any containers or need to add to your collection, check out our popular Plant Starter Pot-Paks.
  1. Be sure to use a sterilized growing medium for best results. If you have any doubts as to whether or not the soil temperature is warm enough for germinating seeds, check the soil temperature with a soil thermometer.
  1. Cover your seed start containers after sowing until the seeds have germinated.
As days start to grow longer, cautiously start to water a bit more. Continue to water in the mornings only. Be diligent about keeping water off leaves and keeping soil on the dry side to prevent disease.

A watering can with a good directional spout is most effective to use during the winter months. You can direct water exactly where you want it to go. Also you can refill it with water after use, and allow the water to warm to greenhouse temperature for the next time you water. Avoid watering your plants with cold water. It is a real shock to their systems and sets them back.
 Climate Control
  1. Continue to ventilate on warm sunny days when your greenhouse heats up. Close it up before the mid-afternoon temperature outside starts to drop.

  2. Keep your air circulation fan running 24 hours a day to prevent spots of cold or stagnant air that encourage disease.
  1. If a particular plant is looking stressed, it might well be that it is not in its best micro-climate. Get acquainted with the various micro-climates in your unique greenhouse setting. Where is the highest light, the lowest? Where is it warmest and coolest? What area maintains the most consistent temperature day and night?
 Pest Control
  1. Continue to remove dead flowers, leaves and other debris that encourage disease.
  1. Check your plants on a regular basis for disease and any pests, especially under leaves. Treat accordingly. Effective, safe controls that I like to have handy in my greenhouse are Green Cure, Safer 3-in-1, and Neem Oil.
Happy greenhouse gardening,

alias Mrs. Charley

for successful greenhouse gardening year around!