On January 1 I always start with good intentions for the year ahead – it always involves being more healthy, more organised and more proactive – but due to a stinking cold and various other factors January has been a bit of a wipe out.
It’s for that reason I’m resolving to do all of these things as of today.
I thought I’d start each month by jotting down the seeds I need to sow in the coming weeks as well as the jobs I need to do in the garden – to organise my time in the month to come.
So, first up it’s February.
February feels full of optimism, we’re past the dull, dark days of January and looking towards Spring.
Crocuses and bulbs are bursting through the surface of the soil, trees are in bud, birds are in song and wildlife is waking up. The days are getting longer, temperatures warmer (although they’ll probably get colder before they improve a great deal) and the first big batch of seeds are set to be sown ready for another season of homegrown fruit, vegetables and flowers.
So here are the seeds you can sow in February and the jobs that will have me reaching for my gardening gloves.
Seeds to sow inside, in February:
- Antirrhinums (snapdragons) – these always add a great splash of low-lying colour
- Sweet peas – I just love them!
- Chrysanthemums – I’m going to try growing these from seed for the first time this year
- Cucumbers – I’ve always managed a really good crop in the greenhouse and in 2018 managed two harvests
- Tomatoes – I normally grow about five varieties to get a mix of cherry and cooking stock
- Peas – what’s better than popping peas straight from the pod?
- Aubergines – I normally grow about six plants and it keeps us well in ratatouille, vegetable lasagne and curry throughout the summer and autumn
- Brussel sprouts – I no longer grow brassicas a they always get eaten by caterpillars, but if you can, do!
- Celeriac – a great staple to have in the ground over winter, tastes delicious in mashed potato too
- Celery – I always have some in the ground over winter as it’s always needed for stocks, soups and casseroles
- Leeks – great to harvest in winter when they are needed
- Peppers – sweet homegrown peppers are a joy
- Broad beans – crushed broad beans on sourdough toast with chilli – that’s all I’m saying
- Beetroot – a wonder veg, so versatile
- Carrots – I’m trying carrots for the first time this year, the small dumpy ones that might fare well in shallow beds
- Chicory – a wonderful addition to salads and reminds me of holidays to France
Bulbs to plant:
- Onions – I love growing onions, don’t ask me why. They keep over winter and are so much more tasty than shop bought ones, like every home grown fruit and vegetable
- Shallots – they last for months once harvested
- Lilies – gorgeous scent and no hassle
- Alliums – the garden is scattered with alliums, they are delicate and bright
Plants to plant:
- Bare root roses – I’m trying to resist buying more as it’s the perfect time of year to do so!
- Rhubarb crowns – I can’t get enough rhubarb. Last year I planted an additional four crowns in the garden
- Finish pruning apple and pear trees – we still have sooo many to do – slow and steady wins the race
- Wash pots and seed trays – a pain but worth it
- Dig over vegetable beds if you haven’t already – luckily this has been done and tonnes of compost has also been added to the garden
- Wash the greenhouse – I did this last Saturday, it took four hours, lots of glass cleaner a step ladder and willing muscles!
- It’s time to chit potatoes – I don’t grow potatoes anymore – they take up too much room and we don’t eat many
- You can net fruit crops to keep the birds off. If they are already check the netting for damage.
- Prune winter-flowering shrubs that have stopped flowering
- Divide snowdrop bulbs – I don’t have snowdrops but each year I mean to plant some
- Prune wisteria – I bought a wisteria last year and I can’t wait to see it in bloom this summer
- Cut back deciduous grasses which have been uncut over winter, if its an evergreen grass remove any dead grass
Phew, is that it??!
“The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies.” Gertrude Jekyll
Good luck folks and happy gardening…