Are you one of those green-fingered individuals who think that gardens are for life and not just for summer? Are you not sure what you can or should do during the colder, darker months to keep your garden manageable all year around? Have you only just become keen on gardening and don’t know where to start? If so, you’ve come to the right place as we have some tips to help you through to the end of winter.
Check Your Tools
It’s February and though spring still seems a long way off, it will be upon us before you know it. It’s good practice to keep your tools in good condition all year round, but now is the right time to give them a thorough clean and take stock of their condition. Cleaning prevents degradation and rust. If you have any pots, clean them too before you start putting new plants in them. They can acquire all sorts of nasties over the autumn and winter months and you don’t want new plants catching diseases.
Check Garden Structures
The weather of the last few winters have been erratic. In December and January in recent years, we have had deep snow (2010, 2011), record mild temperatures (2015-6), and storms and flooding – in Somerset, Cumbria and Scotland especially. Your structures can suffer from extreme weather conditions – particularly the greenhouse, shed and fences. February is a good time to check the security and sturdiness of these structures and decide what (if any) repairs are needed, or if they need replacing. Now the worst of the weather has, hopefully, been and gone, you should consider those basic repairs.
Turn the Soil
Now would be a good time to turn the soil. For the most part, over the coming weeks you will see less and less frost and the ground will be wetter from dew and rain. This makes the ground soft and pliable, and much easier to turn than when it is frozen, or as happens in particularly dry summers, becomes solid and compacted. Even if there is still frost around, it doesn’t tend to last very long in the mornings. The soil should be easy to turn and it will be ready for when you start to plant winter or early spring plants.
What Should You Plant in February?
You might not exactly relish getting outdoors in the garden in February, especially with the blustery winds currently sweeping across the UK, but planting early on will be all the more rewarding as your garden comes into colour over spring.
February is the ideal time to start planting some of the early producing vegetables. The ground is soft and you will get a good crop early on. Typically, you might want to plant several types of pea and broad bean – make sure you use hardier cultivar types as should you get an unexpected cold snap, as is the erratic nature of February, it could kill them off.
Carrots are also another good crop to plant this early, though you may wish to leave it until the second half of the month before sowing. Again, check that the type is suitable. Some gardening sites recommend sticking to short-horn carrots. This is the perfect time of year for shallot, parsnip and garlic too, and other early sprouting native European vegetables. It is best to leave planting potatoes until March when spring really is on the horizon. Others you may wish to consider include some types of broccoli, cabbage and lettuce.
Flowering Plants / Shrubs
Climbers may be the bane of your existence in the summer when they seem to run wild, but if you enjoy climbers like clematis and ivy, particularly evergreens such as Dentata and Goldheart, then they will make your house and garden that much more attractive before anything else starts to bloom and will look good all the year round. Be sure to keep them in check, especially as summer approaches as they make the most of the sunshine and grow very quickly. Deciduous climbers are the more attractive cousins of the evergreens and some have some brilliant flowering colours. If you don’t mind working hard to keep them in check, then consider the many types of climber.
Did you know we stock a whole range of gardening tools here at CareCo? Follow the link and check them out!