Garden Jobs in February

It’s the first signs of spring , we have had things flowering a lot earlier the last few months because the temperature has been rather mixed, Vegetables are the top at the moment with likely heist in prices as we meet the hungry gap in the season Parsnip sowing can start either raising the seed to pre germinate then sow in rows or individual in pots toilet roll centres are ideal for this as they have a good depth which the roots need and can be planted whole in their positions outside. Some struggle with germination as they require fresh seed and it also depends on the variety but seed over three years have found no difficulty to get them to germinate. Shallots sets can be planted this month and sowing of Broad Beans outside also under protection Lettuce, Spring Onions ,Radish, Cabbage and onions. Under Glass it’s the start of Aubergines, peppers, chillies as these need a long period of growth to come into harvest beware watering straight from the tap very often this is to cold keep some in a bottle at room temperature. Watering from the water butt, this can have pathogens and can transfer diseases to plants especially house plants, Orchids will be alright as we allow these to drain and not stand in water. How about growing some sunflowers for the garden, try to hit some dizzying heights in the garden? because they can be started this month inside and outside in late March, they are hungry plants need a lot of feeding with a good stake put in place before hand ,and will need watering during our dry spells . We would love to see some pictures of what you achieved and the seeds can be used to feed the birds or slow dried for own consumption .Start sowing half hardy annuals and perennials begonias, Pelargoniums, Osteospernums are easy from seed as these will germinate slowly and will be up in March when the light levels improve and make good size plants by June. Order seed potatoes so they can be chitted but this is only necessary on the earlies not main crop varieties. Cover peach trees with plastic cover this will stop Peach leaf curl which weakens the tree but don’t cover the tree roots as they will need water the cover helps also by raising the temperature for the blossom leave the ends open so bees can pollinate or use a paint brush to pollinate if no insect activity. Plant summer flowering bulbs in the borders Crocosmia, lilies,  freesias, Zantedeschia, Gladioli and eucomis to just name a few. Prune Wisteria and clematis and other shrubs that flower on currant seasons wood also roses hard on Hybrid Tea roses almost to the ground Floribunda and Tall Hybrid Tea and shrub remove about a third,  Climbing Roses leave the main frame work cutting back the short growth to two to three buds Strong young shoots can be left to replace the old branches and can be tied in as replacement branches spread them out give them room to flower in June /July. Lift and divide plants in the border, if some have become thugs and need to reduce the size of them, remember your neighbour or community garden would love your excess plants .Rhubarb can be forced, place some straw compost around plant and cover with plastic bin, check occasionally for slug as they love hiding in this environment. You should have nice pink early shoots for the table to eat. February your soil should be 6 to 8 C (42-46F) to start growing some vegetables if it’s not this, is still too cold. Mike Ellard