In February, the weather can be a bit all over the place. Some days are sunny and warm, while others are freezing with snow, ice and rain. But don't worry, you can still work in the garden when it's nice out. Just make sure the ground isn't too hard or wet, and you can clean up the place and get the soil ready. It's also a good time to make some plans and get some seeds and compost for later.
- First, get your ground ready for hardy annuals by clearing and raking it.
- If you can't wait for early flowers, start sowing hardy annual seeds indoors in a greenhouse, seed trays, or even gutter pipes or Jiffy Pellets. Some of our favourite varieties include Ammi majus, Calendula offinicalis ‘Snow Princess’, Verbena Bonariensis and Zinnias. Just don't go overboard with the seeds - low light levels this time of year can make them leggy and drawn out.
- Slow-growing plants like antirrhinums and cobaea can also be sowed under cover.
- Don't forget to order dahlias, gladioli, and other summer-flowering bulbs!
- To give your garden a boost, add some organic fertiliser like blood, fish, and bone or pelleted chicken manure. Just follow the instructions on the packet.
- If you took cuttings of tender perennials in the fall, now's the time to pot them on.
- Finally, keep an eye on your containers and water them if there's a dry spell. Happy gardening!
- Order seed potatoes for chitting and other vegetable seeds for later sowing.
- Chit seed potatoes in a frost-free, light location and remove any leftover potatoes from last year to prevent disease.
- Prepare ground for asparagus planting and use cloches to warm soil for early sowings of broad beans, carrots, hardy peas, and parsnips.
- Continue sowing indoor tomatoes, chili peppers, aubergines, and cucumbers.
- Sow onion seeds or sets in trays for planting out in late March. Spring Onion 'North Holland Blood Red' is a versatile and tasty variety that can be eaten as a red-skinned spring onion or left to form mild, bulbing onions for storage.
- Sow broad beans in root trainers for planting out in 4-6 weeks and sow peas in guttering filled with soil, spaced regularly along the line. For salad:
- Sow corn salad, rainbow chard, mizuna, rocket, winter purslane, and mustard under cover.
- Grow salad in small pots or gutter pipes for easy maintenance and control.
- Sow radishes for a crunchy addition to salads, which can be harvested in 6-8 weeks.
Now's a great time to start growing some herbs for an aromatic year ahead.
- For hardy annual and biennials like chervil, parsley, and coriander, you can sow the seeds inside.
- Soak the parsley seeds in warm water the night before to speed up the harvest time.
- You can also start some perennial herbs now like French sorrel, chives, lovage, and leaf fennel. They'll germinate fine with a little bottom heat.
- If you have some mint that's looking a bit straggly in the garden, pot it up so you'll have fresh shoots for potatoes and salads later in the year. Just dig up a small clump and separate out a healthy section. Cut a few lengths of the thick root and replant the cuttings in a pot.
Here's what you could be picking and eating this time next year, or maybe you already are if you're a seasoned pro...
- Brassicas: Brussels sprouts, red and green cabbages, cima di rapa, cauliflower, kale, and purple sprouting broccoli.
- Roots: Jerusalem artichokes, parsnips, and salsify.
- Salad: chicory, endive, lettuces, hardy lettuces, mizuna, salad rocket, and mustards.
- Edible flowers: violas.
- Leafy greens: chard and perpetual spinach.
- Stems: leeks and cardoons.
- Herbs: parsley, chervil, coriander, winter savory, rosemary, sage, and bay.
Tidy + mend
- To prep for early seed sowing, give your cloches a good wash with soapy water to keep them clean and effective.
- Get rid of slippery mud and moss on patios and paths by scrubbing and hosing them down.
- Keep beds and the kitchen garden weed-free now to save time in spring. Dig up any perennial weeds you see.
- Avoid walking on the lawn during heavy frosts. Consider re-cutting or installing permanent border edging when conditions are suitable.
- If you're planning on sowing a new lawn in spring, prepare the ground now by removing perennial weeds and roughening the soil to allow frost to break down larger clumps.
- Check your tools and equipment to make sure they're in good condition and ready to use.
- Get your plant supports ready for when you need them by preparing them now.