February is the first month of the year you can start getting back into the garden and concentrating on some tidying up. Although the days are getting longer all the cold weather is defiantly not behind us so be patient regarding early crop sowings. Finish off cutting back dead growth and doing general preparation for the new season.
It is a good month to re-visit your crop rotation diary and order your new seeds for your raised beds or vegetable plot.
The soil in your garden or allotment is the most important part of your garden, for good quality crops of vegetable or flowers you need good soil to grow it in. If you did not mulch in the autumn, it is a good month to cover your soil with mulch, leaf compost or a general compost.
It is more important not to walk on your wet soil in the winter months as it will compact it. If you have to use long boards to spread your body weight. To open up clay soils, improve your gardens drainage, or just to reduce clumping add horticultural grit to your soil.
Composting a great way of being eco friendly and recycling garden and some kitchen waste once this has composted down it is a great way to enrich your soil for free and helps reduce the amount of waste going to landfill sites.
Composting is a multi-step process using water, air, and carbon-rich materials. February is a good month to give your compost a turn over to get more air into the middle of it. Garden leaves are a good free form of compost but they take a couple of years to compose properly.
Garden leaves compost down the best in tied black bags.
If you are a keen gardener it is a good month to check your worm bins. If you don’t have one why not start one? Well known suppliers are www.wigglywigglers.co.uk or www.Yorkshire-worms.co.uk I’m sure there are others as well.
If you have kept your vegetable plots covered with cardboard or plastic the soil temperature might be slightly warmer. If it is there are a few early vegetable crops which can be sown as below:
- Parsnips – can be sown at the end of February.
- Broad beans – a very hardy bean which will thrive in early spring conditions.
- Salad onions – these can be sown directly into the soil.
- Garlic – this is the last month to sow.
- Shallots – when growing each build will divide into 5 or 6 bulbs, “Longor” is a crop suitable to sow in February, “Red Sun” can be planted in March.
Crops to start off under clothes or in the greenhouse are lettuce, carrots, radish, rocket, baby beetroot, spinach, peas, and turnips.
Protect early blossom from overnight frosts. Use hessian double thickness or fleece. February is the ideal month to order and plant out bare root fruit trees. Cover strawberries to force them on a bit, in February you can also cover Rhubarb to force it on. All young fruit trees a be mulched with a thick layer of well-rotted garden manure or compost.
Cane fruits can be trained to their wires and stakes.
Herbs prefer well-drained soil so dig in plenty of grit. As temperatures rise at the end of the month feed your herbs. Remove the top 2 – 4in of soil around them and replace with garden compost, finish off with a layer of horticultural grit.
Remove dead or dying leaves from plants. Good hygiene is essential grey mold will attack any dead plant material. Once established it will kill dead plants. Remove old mulches, compost them. Then hoe around the base of fruit trees and bushes to exposes insects to birds. When warm days arrive aphid colonies will arrive on new buds. Squash them with your fingers or old cloth.
This is a good month to have your gardener repair your lawn so long as it isn’t too wet and frosty. Turf can be laid working off planks so not to compact soil. Once laid do not walk on the turf for a few weeks to allow a good song root network to develop. If the weather is warm, you can cut lawns but set the mower height to the highest setting. An ideal time for the gardener to cut a crisp edge with the half moon cutter, then the rest of the shear shears or a trimmer can be used. Your gardener can prepare damaged areas ready to sow later in the spring. At this time of the year is still early to scarify and aerate the lawn.