February is a month of such hope. There are snowdrops and crocuses galore to prove spring is just around the corner, and you can risk sowing the first hardy vegetables undercover in a heated propagator to kick-start the veg growing year. Here are a few of the jobs you can be getting on with:
Job of the week: Lift and divide snowdrops - If your snowdrops haven’t flowered well this year they may be overcrowded. Carefully lift the bulbs while they’re still leafy and split clumps into smaller sections. Replant at the same depth in soil that has been improved with lots of organic matter – preferably leafmould or compost. Water in with a splash of liquid feed added to the can to settle them in nicely.
Flowers & Plants:
- Tie in climbers to ensure good, even coverage of fences and walls
- Deadhead winter-flowering pansies to keep them flowering well!
- Sow sweet pea seeds into deep root-trainer modules
- Plant winter aconites ‘in the green’ – when they’re still leafy - as they establish more quickly than dry tubers. You’ll find pots full of aconites and other early spring bulbs at the garden centre.
- Cut back wisteria if you didn’t finish pruning last month – sideshoots should be taken back to two or three buds to encourage plenty of flowers.
- Trim back heathers shearing off faded flowers to leave a neat hummock of evergreen foliage, adding a handful of slow-release fertiliser to keep them healthy through summer.
Fruit & Veg:
- Plant your seed potatoes - click here to read our 'how to plant potatoes' blog post
- Force rhubarb for an early crop of young, succulent stems
- Put up a polythene shelter over peaches and nectarines to protect from disease
- Plant shallot sets so the tips are just showing above the surface of the soil, spacing them 15-18cm apart in moisture-retentive but free-draining soil in full sun.
- Sprinkle sulphate of potash around fruit to encourage lots of flowers and a bumper crop of fruit later in the year. Fork it in lightly and finish off with a mulch of garden compost.
- Start tender tubers such as dahlias and gladioli into growth
- Sow early peas into guttering, filling the guttering with compost then sprinkling the seeds about 2cm apart across the top then pushing them gently into the compost.
- Cover bare soil with clear polythene to warm it before spring sowing to get seeds off to a flying start
- Start sowing hardy crops like beetroot and early carrots if the soil is warm enough – pop a cloche over the top to keep them cosy
- Stock up on veg seeds at our garden centre here - just bring along your growing plan and we’ll supply the rest!
General around the Garden:
- Check stacked plant pots for tightly packed clusters of sleepy snails
- Reduce the height and width of overgrown deciduous hedges while they're dormant
- Tidy the shed, throwing away out-of-date seed packets and pesticides
- Put up nesting boxes for birds so they have somewhere to raise their young this spring. Choose a sheltered spot, and make sure it’s out of reach of cats.
- Turn the compost heap to mix up all the ingredients and get all those bacteria working at top speed to turbo-charge the rotting process.