F E B R U A R Y \ Gardening To Do’s

2-februaryFebruary marks the last month of winter and so with spring just around the corner it is time to get out into our gardens and begin preparing them for the sunny days ahead. Here are 10 top jobs that can be done this month:

[1] It is the perfect time to sow tomato and sweet pea seeds. Sow into propagators and keep safe from frosts or alternatively sow into pots, pop them inside a plastic bag and keep on a warm windowsill. Once the last frost has passed and the seedlings bear two good strong leaves they can be transplanted into larger pots and grown on until they are ready to be planted out.

[2] Temperatures will begin to rise throughout the month making it a great time to plant new bare root tree’s, shrubs, fruit bushes and container grown climbers. Do make sure the ground is not still frozen before planting. Once the earth begins to warm this will encourage new root growth for stronger, healthier plants. Remember if planting anything this time of year plant to the same depth of the original pot and give every plant a good soaking before and after planting. A good mulch around newly planted tree’s, shrubs and fruit bushes will help protect their roots close to the surface from any late frosts. If planting pot grown climbers be sure to dig a hole for them at least one foot away from any walls or fences so they aren’t caught in a rain shadow.

[3] Brave the elements to dig over and mulch all beds and borders. This will help promote healthy nutrient rich soil to boost your gardens growth during spring. Watch out not to disturb those early bird bulbs popping their heads up!

[4] Keep an eye on that weather man for late frosts so you can keep vulnerable plants protected!

[5] February is an important month for pruning. If you haven’t already done so, tidy up straying evergreens, straggly hedges and strewn out deciduous shrubs, being sure to cut down to just above new buds or shoots on their branches. Late flowering Clematis can be chopped back all the way down to the lowest, healthiest buds, around 12″ from the base of the plant. Do not fret! This sounds brutal but those gorgeous Clematis’ will be back to their full heights and flowering all the way before you know it! Prune Roses by cutting out all damaged, dead, weak or crossing stems, being sure to cut down to just above an outward facing new shoot. It is not too late for the Wisteria second pruning to encourage a grand floral display come May. Whilst the plant is leafless and dormant cut back last years new growth down to 2-3 buds per stem.

[6] Give your planted containers a little treat by removing the top inch of soil and replacing with fresh compost mixed with some slow release fertiliser.

[7] Cut down deciduous ornamental grasses before fresh shoots appear. Now is a great time to divide them and other herbaceous perennials too which can be planted throughout the garden creating new plants for free.

[8] Don’t forget the local birds ‘twitwoo’! With winter drawing to a close food will be becoming sparse for our feathery friends to find. Popping out a little bit of fresh water and bird food regularly is vital to keeping them going during this last winter month.

[9] If you haven’t already, chit first and second early seed potatoes by standing them in egg trays or such in a light, frost free place.

[10] Finally organise that shed and dust of those garden tools being sure to give them a good scrub, oil and repair, if needed, ensuring they will be ready for action for the new season!