It’s been a difficult start to the year for everyone, compounded by the winter weather, but gardeners are made of ‘stern stuff’, so its time to look forward to another successful gardening year! Many of us have had to spend more time at home and hopefully that has meant that everything is clean and tidy in the garden and with the ‘tools of your trade‘ too!
February is a short month, but often it’s the time that the time that the garden emerges from its slumbers. Daylength is extending by some ten minutes a day and hopefully that means that the sun will start to warm the soil, bringing the beginning of new life. Let’s take a look at your tasks around the garden in February:
In some parts of the country, mowing continued quite late into winter last year, but at this time, with snow and ice on the ground, the best thing to do is keep off it, as you will do more harm than good, damaging the turf. However, in milder periods, after heavy rain, you can spike the soil with a garden fork to drain away standing water.
Make sure you get your mowers and strimmer’s serviced!
It’s a busy time preparing for the flower garden. Early sowings of Antirrhinum, Begonia, Delphinium and Geraniums can be made. Look out too for new Sweet Pea Supersonic mix, which grows to just 1.3m tall, so is easy to manage, yet still has long flower stems for cutting.
Remove fading flowers from winter flowering pansies or violas to prevent them setting seeds and encourage further flowering.
Start Lilies off in pots in the greenhouse for summer garden planting and flowering
Divide and re-plant perennials in mild weather.
As conditions allow, you can sow early varieties of Broad Beans and Peas outdoors and Tomatoes, Chilli’s and Sweet Peppers in the greenhouse.
Start ‘chitting’ potatoes on a windowsill indoors or in the greenhouse to produce shoots which advance cropping after planting.
Use a well-lit windowsill indoors for growing leaf salads or baby herbs.
Separate the individual ‘cloves’ from garlic bulbs and plant them out 15cms apart in rows 30cms apart.
Apply and dig in lime to acid soils.
It’s a good time for planting Currants, Raspberries, Gooseberries and Strawberries, but avoid frosty or water-logged conditions.
Prune autumn fruiting Raspberries down to the ground and remove the tips of summer flowering types just above the highest horizontal wire.
Apply a slow-release high Potash fertilizer for season-long feeding.
Remember to remove last years faded flower heads, left on to protect the plants.
Would you like some fragrance in your winter garden? Then plant winter flowering varieties of shrubs such as Daphne, Hamamelis, Mahonia or Viburnum.