February: Miles Ferrante

February Jobs 2019
The middle of February usually means that the light increases so it’s a good time to sow seeds and do more up your plot. But it’s good to remember that St Marys has very cold winds blowing right through and lots of frost pockets, so check out your plot regularly and wait for the right conditions.

Sow under glass:

  • Early greenhouse tomatoes in a warm greenhouse – several years ago I got a little excited and moved my tomatoes into the greenhouse too early, needless to say they got frosted pretty quickly. The year after I put them inside a cold frame inside the greenhouse, and the greenhouse flooded!  I now keep them at home until march! 
  • Summer Cabbages – Candissa is a good choice, they don’t grow too big and so can be grown under tunnel nets, or if you like large cabbages try Brunswick. Earlier sown cabbages heart up better than ones sown later.  
  • Brussel Sprouts – A lot of people at St Marys grow Maximus as they grow well on our soil.
  • Broccoli – Rudolph, cardinal, claret, red arrow all good varieties. Purple sprouting needs a good year in the ground for good spears, so ensure you keep them in the ground long enough. 
  • Cauliflower – belot is the only cauliflower that heads up on my plot.
  • Leeks my dad grew leeks for nearly 50 years on the same plot at St Marys with no problems, but in the last three years my leeks have had what I thought was leek moth damage, but is actually allium leaf minor damage. I want to try and net them with enviromesh, but I also find earthing them up helps. 
  • Salads- in heated greenhouse or under cloches (Radish, Rocket).  Lettuce “all year round” is quite hardy to grow in the greenhouse this time of year.  Sow little and often for a successional crop.
  • Broad Beans – a hardy variety in pots under glass if the ground is too cold.
  • Peas – if mild.
  • Spinach
  • Onions – you can still sow seeds but the earlier you sow them the larger the bulbs will be.
  • Turnips
  • Parsnipsif the weather is good.

Plant:

  • Globe Artichokes.
  • Jerusalem artichokes.
  • Onion sets – better started in modules and planted out in march. 
  • Shallots
  • Rhubarb
  • Chives
  • Grapevines
  • Rhubarb
  • Chit potatoes – there will be a delivery of potatoes at the allotment shop in Feb. The quality is far and above anything you would buy from any garden centre or website, and they are far cheaper too! We also sell potato fertiliser, it’s worth using because it does make a difference to the size of your crop. 

Fruit:
Top dress all trees and soft fruit with Bonemeal at this time of year, available at the shop.  Also available is Growmore, fish blood and bone (both cheaper than the pound shop) and Vitax Q4 (used by professional growers).  Also we sell, good quality bags of manure that can be used as a mulch around fruit trees.

Fruit jobs:

  • Plant new fruit trees or transplant old ones.
  • Hand pollinate early Peaches + Apricots with small paintbrush if in flower early.
  • Force Rhubarb.
  • Move some strawberries in pots to the greenhouse for an earlier crop.

Prune:
Make sure all diseased and dead wood is cut out of all fruit trees and bushes.

  • Finish pruning fruit trees.
  • Gooseberries
  • Blackcurrants
  • Blueberries
  • Autumn fruiting Raspberries.

Pests and Diseases:

  • Move dead leaves from around vegetables as this may cause mould.
  • Spray fruit trees against pests with organic solution.
  • Net Gooseberries – birds will eat new shoots.
  • Check for hiding slugs and hibernating snails.

Other jobs to do:

  • Dig Runner Bean trench – fill with kitchen and green waste, cardboard, manure and compost. 
  • Finish off winter digging.
  • Turn compost heaps or start new one.
  • Clean greenhouse – makes a big difference. 
  • Check what soil you have (ph. test).
  • Plan your crop rotation.
  • Clean pots with jeyes fluid or a mild detergent.

If you have forgotten to buy some seeds, we have a good range in the shop, plus slug pellets, lime, three types of compost including a peat free compost that got a which gardening magazine best buy. Plus, many others items, open soon, so come and take a look.

Finally, a quote by Rudyard Kipling
“Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade”