Experts at GardeningExpress.co.uk have pulled together their top gardening jobs to get done before March and the first signs of spring.
Jobs include preparing soils, chitting seeds and getting early growers in the ground, to provide plentiful crops all year round.
Preparing the garden now for a summer full of growing yummy vegetables, herbs, or pretty foliage will reap plenty of rewards.
Chris Bonnett from GardeningExpress.co.uk said: “It might still be a bit chilly outside, but there are plenty of jobs to get done in the garden this month, especially seeing as spring is just around the corner.
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“Not only is it nice to get out in the garden at the end of winter and get some gentle exercise, what you do now in our garden could save hours over the course of the year.
“Whether it’s a bright, colourful, and blossoming garden you are after or uniformed veg patch to feed the family over the summer, it’s a good idea to get prepped plenty in advance.”
GardeningExpress.co.uk’s tips for February:
Making fat ball feeders for birds is a great idea. They will appreciate the supplementary food at the end of winter and will keep pests away from precious plants like roses. Just be sure to keep the fat balls out of reach of cats in the area, as they’ll have a field day.
To prepare acidic soil for planting season, it is a good idea to lime it. Veg like cabbages, cauliflowers and sprouts prefer growing in alkaline soil. Changing the PH balance of the soil is easy and can be achieved by applying magnesium-rich materials, like chalk and limestone. However, it must be added at least two months before anything gets planted.
Anyone wanting to grow garlic outdoors should start thinking about it now. It’s a good idea to get them in the ground before the end of February. Find a spacious sunny spot and plant and pop in individual cloves. pointed-end up, so that the tip is just covered. Space them 15cm.
It’s too early to plant potatoes, but not too early to get them sprouting. Chitting encourages seed potatoes to grow shoots before they are planted. Lay them out in a cool, light, frost-free place in trays until they show signs of sprouting. Keep them ready for planting towards the end of the month. Having a couple of short shoots per potato will give them the best chance when it comes to planting later in spring.
February is a great time to prune back any shrubs or trees that have become overgrown over winter. Cut back dead branches back to a joint and be mindful that the more you prune, the stronger regrowth will be.
Get on top of pests and insects by spraying any infested plants or cuttings. It’s also a great time to get on top of weeds. Removing them early will slow down annual invasions before they seed and spread. Dig up roots whilst being careful to avoid emerging wanted seeds and bulbs.
Over time, the viability of seeds drops. Think about organising your collection before it’s too late for them to sprout. If you find there’s an influx, share them out amongst gardening friends or organise a seed swap at a local allotment. Sharing and swapping is a great way to gain more plant varieties.
Anyone thinking of growing their own vegetables can start to prepare the soil this month. Rake over the bed, remove any stones and get plenty of into the soil. Adding manure or fertiliser to the soil surface will pay off in months to come too.
Mulching is a great way to provide little plants nutrition and warmth. Adding a compost or manure layer will reduce weeds and improve soil structure too. Keep the layer thin, so that seedlings can penetrate through. More mulch can be added once plants are larger.