February Top Tip

The sap is rising – and it’s time for early bird gardeners to get gardening. There are lots of jobs in the garden in February. There are seeds to sow, pruning to do and a good tidy-up for the season ahead.

General tasks:

Spread slow-release fertiliser like pelleted poultry manure under hedges and around shrubs and trees

Top dress containers by scraping out the top couple of inches of compost and replacing with fresh compost.

Spring clean your greenhouse. Take the opportunity to clear out your greenhouse wash down the glass, benches & tools with Jeyes Fluid or Growing Success Natures Disinfectant (if you prefer an organic approach) Don’t forget to clean your pots too.

Ornamental garden:

Repot container plants. Now is the ideal time to repot most container plants. We advise that you move them into a pot one size up take the opportunity to inspect the roots before planting them with some fresh compost.

Prune overgrown evergreens. Make time to remove any dead or diseased stems and any overcrowded or badly-placed branches, feeding and mulching well afterwards.

Trim heathers as soon as they finish flowering, cut back any old flowers to just below the base of the flower stems.

Prune late-flowering clematis cutting down all growth to about 45cm, always pruning back to just above a healthy bud.

Protect your prized plants from slugs. Vitax copper slug tape provides effective protection against slugs and snails for container and greenhouse grown plants and raised plant beds.

When touched by the pests, the copper tape emits a tiny electrical charge causing the slugs and snails to turn away.

The self-adhesive tape can be applied around pots, staging legs, etc to form a continuous barrier.

Vegetable garden:

Force Rhubarb.

Tender, sweet forced rhubarb comes as a welcome early spring delicacy.
We recommend choosing an early variety that is at least mature enough to cope with the forcing process. Plants for forcing should be at least three years old.

Wait until there has been a lengthy spell of frost as rhubarb needs chilling to kick-start it into growth.

Cover the crown with a rhubarb forcer or dustbin. The secret is to exclude all light so make sure that any holes have been covered. Straw or hay outside to give some extra insulation to help speed up the forcing process

Remove the cover after six to eight weeks and you should find dozens of pale pink, slender stems ready to harvest. These can then be turned into delicious pies and crumbles.

One more thing, these rhubarb plants need to ‘rest’ for at least two years before you use them for forcing again. This gives the crown a chance to build up some reserves so you get the same early rhubarb again.

Seeds.

To give seeds a helping hand, why not cover the soil with clear polythene. This helps to trap any heat from the sun and warms the soil so that your seed get off to a flying start

Hardy crops like beetroot and early carrots can be sown now if the soil is warm enough but remember to keep them cosy by popping a cloche over the top.

Our new season seeds are now in stock and selling well, regular deliveries mean that we should have almost everything you need

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