This month can sometimes be deceiving in the garden. Lovely days that seem to announce the arrival of spring, are quickly followed by bitter winter weather. However, mild spells, when they occur, really do give us time to start the new season’s gardening activity in earnest, providing, of course, that we don’t forget that winter is still with us for a while.
Seeds – Now is a good time to sow young plants or plug grown seedlings, indoors and outdoors but always check the packets for sewing time first! When sowing in trays or pots, use a seed sowing or general-purpose compost and always keep it moist. In the greenhouse keep frost at bay and perhaps increase the heating. Propagators (with or without heaters) help maintain even temperatures and humidity. If you don’t have a greenhouse, then a sunny window sill will do a good job. When planting outdoors, try using horticultural fleece to warm the soil for a short time BEFORE planting and again afterwards to protect seedlings and young plants from frost. But do remember to fix it down against the wind. Fleece will also offer some protection against rabbits and certain insect pests.
Garden Construction – Carry out any alternations you have planned but take care to complete your planning before starting work and don’t forget any appropriate protective clothing or equipment.
Top Fruit – Complete winter washes and sprays on Apples and Pears but remember to make sure you are using chemicals that still have approval.
Roses – Start pruning climbing roses by removing weak and old shoots and tying in new, strong growth to fill lower spaces. Some strong new growth may need to be positioned in stages by tying in leaving a few weeks and then positioning again.
Winter pruning – Continue to carry out general winter pruning and if possible, try to complete this before the end of the month.
Seed Potatoes – These are now available at Farnborough Garden Centre, but it is advisable to shop early for a full choice of varieties.
Wild Birds – Continue to feed and position nesting boxes to enable birds to select their new nesting sites. Some birds will be starting courtship and mating activities this month and will be looking for new homes.
Patio Pots and Planters – Continue to take steps to prevent frost damage, the main cause of which is usually water-logging.
Plants looking good now – Hellebores, Viburnum Tinus, Dwarf Narcissus, Species Crocus, Mahonia Japonicas, Corylus Avellana, Ericas, Daphnes. The work here in the Nursery at Farnborough Garden Centre is already changing with hand watering to outdoor plants necessary during dry, windy spells. The retail display areas are changing to accommodate our new season’s plants and the first of the starter plants and plug grown seedlings will be available from the end of this month for those customers wanting to get an early start in growing-on their summer bedding, tub and basket plants.
Pete’s Top Tips For February
1. Summer Flowering Bulbs –for indoor or outdoor, on sale later this month.
2. Winter Pansies & Violas –tidy and dead head regularly.
3. Rhubarb – to provide early stems cover it with a forcer or pot.
4. Early Vegetables – late in the month, if mild, early peas and broad beans can be sown.
Written by Pete Toms Farnborough Garden Centre On A423 Southam Road, Nr Farnborough, Banbury, OX17 1EL. Tel: 01295 690479