Calendar of Garden Work for February

ALTHOUGH the weather can be very bleak, this is a month for great activity in the garden. Get on with as many seasonal jobs as possible so that there is no surfeit of urgent work to be done during the next two or three months.

DECORATIVE GARDEN

If the opportunity to prepare sweet pea trenches in the autumn was missed, the job can be done now — if the ground is in a suitable condition. Incorporate well-rotted manure or compost. Make open-ground sowings at the end of the month.

If the ground is friable, deciduous shrubs and trees can still be planted, otherwise store them in a frost-proof place for a few days. If the work of planting cannot proceed, heel them in out of the wind. The ground should be well prepared before planting. Treat stakes with a wood preservative such as Cuprinol before using them.

Fork over herbaceous borders and in-corporate manure.

Cut back old plants of St. John’s wort (Hypericum calycinum) to the base.

Towards the end of the month prune varieties of Buddleia davidii; cut back the vigorous growths of Hydrangea paniculata if large flower heads are wanted — otherwise prune this shrub very little.

Divide snowdrops when the leaves have turned yellow.

Plant lilies such as Lilium regale.

Ornamental plants will benefit from a dressing of bone meal forked in at the rate of about 2 to 4 oz. To the sq. yd.

VEGETABLE GARDEN

Make a sowing of turnips towards the end of the month, if the weather is suitable. Sow early varieties of peas.

Sow radishes in a sunny, sheltered spot, then cover the ground with straw.

Lift the last of the parsnips and store. Protect broccoli curds from hard weather by folding large outer leaves over them.

Increase herbs like thyme and chives by dividing the roots now.

Sow leeks in frames and under cloches for an early crop.

FRUIT GARDEN

Cut back raspberry canes planted in the autumn or winter to about 6 in. Black currants planted during the last four or five months should be pruned back to within 2 in. of the soil.

Feed apples and pears with the appropriate fertilizers.

GREENHOUSE

Start begonia and gloxinia tubers, planting them close to one another in shallow pots or boxes.

Prick off 2 in. apart into boxes, seedlings of vegetables sown in January and during the first half of February. Put the boxes on the shelving close to the light.

Sow cucumber seeds in 3-in. pots, and exclude light until they have germinated. Gentle bottom heat helps germination.

Sow seeds of such bedding plants as lobelias in the second half of the month-temperature 60° F. (16° C).

Sow seeds of violas and pansies.

Start fuchsias into growth — temperature 50° F. (10° C).

Take cuttings of winter-flowering begonias, and root them in a propagating frame with gentle bottom heat.

Pot young tomatoes from the January sowing, singly into 3- or 3j-in. pots, with a very little tomato fertilizer added to the compost. Maintain a temperature of 50° F. (10° C).

At the end of the month sow celery and brassica seed in boxes and later prick out and keep the seedlings in a temperature of 60 to 65° F. (16 to 18° C). These can be gradually hardened off afterwards in preparation for planting out into trenches.

Zonal and ivy-leaved pelargoniums that have been overwintered in the cold greenhouse or indoors should be pruned, repotted and watered to start them into growth again. Pot on rooted cuttings of these plants made in August. Water them more frequently from now on.

Sow seed of maincrop tomatoes.

06. September 2013 by admin
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