February in the garden
As storm Henry blasts us into February the garden still thinks it's mid-spring. Daffodil are in full blooms, joining the primroses, crocus, snowdrops and hellebores in what is a fantastic spectacle. But loitering about gazing at flowers is fast becoming a luxury as the frenzied activity of a busy gardening season is beginning.
- I like to pot up shallots into individual pots of multi-purpose compost and get them growing before planting out. They get a great start, grow quickly and crop well.
- Sow a pot or tray of hardy annuals indoors or in the greenhouse. They can be planted out at the end of March for earlier flowers.
- Warm the soil with cloches or sheets of plastic. Weigh everything down if the current pattern of storms followed by more storms is to continue. Seeds germinate quicker if the soil is warm
- Keep a can of water in the greenhouse to ensure it is warmed slightly. Tap water can shock the little roots of new seedlings. Same thing goes for indoor plants.
- Plan plant supports now before herbaceous plants grow. Once grown they will cover the supports and stay upright in the summer rain (thinking ahead – a gardeners best attribute!)
- Bare root trees and shrubs offer more plant for your money. Hunt them down, plant them in and stand back. We've got about a month or so to go before the bare root season is over. Container-grown plants can be planted all the year round.
- Sow broad beans and peas in pots in the greenhouse or on the windowsill. They can be planted out in a month or so.
Look out for plant fairs across the country. They are a great place to kick off your planting season by supporting local nurseries growing specialist plants.