February | Spring Dreamin'

February | Spring Dreamin'

March 05, 2020

February is one of those months when cabin fever starts to kick-in. Knowing this you can always manage small tasks inside and outside the home to get yourself ready for spring. 

Photography By Kelly Savoca

In the south, February is a very sporadic month for weather. The weather can go from 40 degrees to 60 degrees in a matter of days. To be honest it's one of my least favorite months because it's typically the start of the rainy season in Nashville. It's on those warmer days that I took some time to get outside and work on a few projects. Take a peek at what I tackled in February and some goals for March.


Blooming Orchids

Recently I've gotten to appreciate orchids. I spent some time with a grower and a horticulturist discussing these beautiful plants. Also, if you want to see a beautiful display of these Cheekwood does one every year in their mansion.

What is so amazing about these plants? Well, they bloom for a very long time. To give you an example I've had one this season that has been blooming for 8 weeks! There are endless varieties and they symbolize love, fertility, and strength just to name a few. 

The two that I have on hand are Phalaenopsis amabilis (white) & Phalaenopsis Nankung's 4:55pm (spotted).

Orchid Kokedama

So, what I did this month was create both planters and Kokedama (pictured) with mine. In the planters, I used HeirBloom Orchid Blend and allowed the sprawling roots to hang over the planter. For the Kokedama I used a bit of the blend, but mostly sphagnum moss. The reason I did this is that they won't be in a traditional container holding moisture. Then I wrapped it in coconut coir which is super breathable. Both are holding up great.

If you'd like some additional info on care here are some tips:

1 | Find a nice spot in your home, in bright, but not direct sunlight.

2 | At least once a week rinse the base or planter with room temperature water avoiding center crevices - no ice! 

3 | If you have a dry home misting the leaves and roots can help, but not the flowers.

4 | After the flowers are gone wait till the spike dries to clip near the base.

5 | Next year to help produce flowers they like a big difference in temperature. Warm during the day, cool at night.

Feeding Daffodils

In the past, I've not had much success with bulbs blooming more than one season. This year I wanted to make this happen! I saw the green leaves come up early in the month which was the perfect reminder to feed them. I used Gro-tone fish emulsion to feed them about mid-month. Ideally, I could have done this a bit earlier. Either way, this is what will help spur new growth.

Success! I have both varieties (Narcissus Double Replete & Jonquilla Narcissus) coming up this year and specifically Narcissus Double Replete coming in with nice, long stems. These both require full sun to partial shade.

A few things to keep in mind after blooming. Don't immediately cut their leaves down. Allow these to still collect nutrients from the sun, this will help them come back next year. For a fun trick, you can gently fold them and wrap in a rubber band to make your bed look tidier. Once they are yellow then go ahead and cut them back.  
Pre-sprouting Ranunculus

I missed my opportunity in Fall to plant these so I wanted to try pre-sprouting so that these would bloom faster. Take a peek at my WINTER videos on Instagram where I share the process. These are the steps I took:

Pre-sprouting Ranunculus     Ranunculus Roots
1 | Soaked them for 3 hours with the water running off and on to provide oxygen.
2 | Filled a tray with moist potting soil and spaced the corms about a 1" apart throughout the tray, covering completely with soil. I made sure the lid was added to this as well with a rock so that rodents wouldn't get in.
3 | Since it was February I sat them on my covered side porch knowing the temps would hover around (40-55 degrees). Let them sit for 10-14 days. Mine went a bit longer because I got caught up in handling other tasks.
4 | Check on them to be sure the soil isn't too moist causing rot and that they are growing white rootlet hairs at least 1/8" long. Just pull them up to look.
5 | Transplant to your bed and place about 2-3" deep in the soil.
6 | Wait patiently for about 90 days to bloom! If you are in an area where the temps can drop pretty quickly consider investing in some frost cloth for covering.

Looking to March 

Starting Seeds

In the Nashville area, you can direct sow cool weather hardy vegetables like kale, turnips, peas, etc. Our last spring frost date is expected to be April 12, but you can start about 6 weeks before this.

For those of you not local just take a look at your last spring frost date by using the Almanac.

I like to start my seeds indoors so that I can control soil, temperature, and pests easier. We don't quite have our beds up yet, so we may start with a few items in pots and go from there.
Pruning Peach Tree
Taking care of fruit trees is quite a feat. We are already getting buds though which is exciting to see. Spring is a great time to prune these before they have fully flowered. This will help you shape your tree and the goal is to keep the center somewhat open to allow for a nice flow of air. The advantage of pruning is to avoid overproduction (meaning smaller fruit), control spread, remove suckers or dead branches, and build a good frame.
I'll be looking into netting this year as well considering squirrels are a big problem with these trees. Stay tuned!
Feeding Peonies
I'll keep an eye on our Peony plant to see how much growth we get in the coming month and either add some fresh compost or fertilizer. Typically, they don't need to be fed until after there is a good amount of growth. 
We'd love to see what you are working on at #cottonandmoss on Instagram.

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