February Grower's Calendar

Preparation

If you didn't do so earlier in the winter, spread well rotted manure or compost over vegetable beds and cover selected areas with cardboard, black plastic or carpet to start warming up the soil. The soil in raised beds will warm two weeks at least before open ground which will make it easier to grow in later in the spring. For those beds which are not covered or for open ground, turn over the soil if the weather is good. Keep off the beds to prevent soil compaction - use timber planks to stand on for access. If you have not already done so order/buy your seeds, spuds and onions. Chit seed potatoes – put them in a container (e.g. used egg carton or empty seed tray) and leave them in a bright warm place.

To do List

  • Prune fruit trees and bushes if necessary, to improve their shape and remove winter damage to the bushes (it's best to complete this job before Spring when the sap begins to rise).
  • Consider netting the bushes after pruning (fruit netting can be bought in DIY stores and garden centres - it's worth it unless you want your fruit to become a nice treat for local birds) and dress the ground around with a potash feed (or use wood ash), which encourages fruit growth.
  • Check the pH of your soil – you can buy a soil pH testing kit in any garden centre.
  • Lime your soil now if required (for acid soils) – ground limestone or crushed chalk are the most common forms. The addition of lime is particularly important in your brassica bed.
  • Scrub seed trays with hot soapy water in preparation for sowing – dirty old seed trays can harbour disease.

Sowing Seeds and Planting Out

Finally, we can sow some seeds. On a sunny windowsill indoors, in a heated greenhouse or on a heating mat: sow celery, globe artichokes, celeriac, leeks, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, peas, aubergines, peppers/chilli-peppers. In polytunnel or greenhouse: beetroot, Brussels sprouts, summer and autumn cabbage, carrots, leeks, lettuce, radish. Outside: Weather permitting you can try planting out broadbeans, spinach, kohlrabi, onion and shallot sets, Jerusalem artichokes, parsnip and early pea varieties. Now is a good time to plant fruit trees and bushes. It's also a great time to start planning a herb garden - get root cuttings of perennial herbs i.e. Mint, Fennel, Thyme etc. from fellow GIYers. Buy seeds for the annual herbs like basil and coriander.

Harvesting – what's in season?

Winter cabbage and cauliflowers, Brussels sprouts, spinach, kale and leeks.