February: Miles Ferrante

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 you plot regularly and wait for the right conditions.

Sow under glass:

  • Early greenhouse tomatoes in a warm greenhouse – two years ago I moved my tomatoes into a cold greenhouse in feb and they got frosted, so last year I put them inside a cold frame inside the greenhouse, and the greenhouse was flooded! So this year I’m keeping them at home until march! 
  • Summer Cabbages – Candissa is a good choice, or if you like large cabbages try Brunswick. Earlier sown cabbages will heart up better. 
  • Brussel Sprouts Broccoli – Rudolph, cardinal, claret, red arrow all good varieties.
  • Cauliflower – belot is the only cauliflower that heads up on my plot.
  • Leeks – my dad grew leeks for 45 years on the same plot with no problems, but in the last three years my leeks have had leek moth damage, so this year I am going to net them with enviromesh.
  • Salads in heated greenhouse or under cloches (Lettuce, Radish, Rocket).
  • Broad Beans – a hardy variety in pots inside if ground is too cold.
  • Peas if mild.
  • Onions – can still sow seeds but the later you leave them the smaller they will be.
  • Turnips.
  • For leeks, Brussel sprouts and cauliflowers, the longer the growing season the better.

Plant:

  • Artichokes.
  • Jerusalem artichokes.
  • Onion sets – better started in modules and planted out in march. 
  • Autumn sown Onions.
  • Shallots. 
  • 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 makes a big difference to the size of your crop. 

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

  • Plant new fruit trees or transplant old ones.
  • Hand pollinate early Peaches + Apricots with small paintbrush.
  • Prune autumn fruiting raspberries.
  • 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 fruit trees.
  • Gooseberries.
  • Blackcurrants. 
  • Blueberries.

 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 from “Dig on for victory” by Mr Middleton:

“Take digging easy at first or you may get blisters or lumbago,
and call the spade anything but a spade!”