February: Miles Ferrante

February Jobs
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 – three years ago I moved my tomatoes into a cold greenhouse in feb and they got frosted, so two years ago 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 – Maximus worked well for me last year.
  • 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 nearly 50 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 (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 ground is too cold.
  • Peas – if mild.
  • Spinach
  • 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.
  • Parsnipsif the weather is good.

Plant:

  • Globe 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 with Bonemeal at this time of year.  We also have available, 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.
  • 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 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!”