The weather may be cold, wet and windy at the moment but February is actually a really good time to start planning and prepping in the garden for spring and summer.
Wildlife will start to make more of an appearance in your garden and the days are longer – and with February being such a short month spring really is just around the corner.
Here’s what you can do to start getting your garden prepped for the warmer months:
With February being the coldest month of the year, protect your bulbs and plants with horticultural fleece. Frost can easily kill plants so it’s a good idea to protect them wherever you can.
Use pegs to fasten plants and protect them from frost and high winds. The branches of plants like griselina, hydrangeas and pittospermum can often lose their leaves to frost and will appear blackened afterwards. Some will recover so don’t be too hasty in digging them up. Mulch the soil around them with good quality garden compost. Hydrangeas in particular can benefit from fleece to prevent any new shoots being frost damaged.
If you have potted plants, they can become waterlogged so either invest in pot feet or put them on bricks to keep them off the ground allowing water to drain away freely and air to circulate around the root area. They just need to be raised a few centimetres. Also push them up against the wall of the house where it’s warmer and pack them together to provide insulation – this will help them get through the cold snap. Remove dead leaves with a hand fork and remove any dead foilage before planting anything. Give them some fertiliser too.
If you’re clearing an overgrown garden, don’t overdo it as it’s better to clear a small area really well than to take on a job that’s too big. To make life easier, grow in raised beds that are 1.2m wide so you don’t need to walk on the area in order to reach it all.
If you have a greenhouse you have a great place to grow vegetables and plants that require warm, humid conditions. Growbags can be bought cheaply and you’ll enjoy a crop of cucumbers, tomato, aubergine, lettuce and more.
This is a great time to prune Clematis that bloom in the summer. Just give them a light prune and remember if your plant flowers before June – don’t prune!
Buy seed potatoes and put them into egg boxes – when they produce shoots put them into a planter half filled with compost, and when the foliage appears add compost until it is full. When flowers appear, you can enjoy the harvest!
Make sure your garden equipment such as hedge trimmers and lawnmower are in good working order ready for use in the summer.
If you are a keen gardener you might want to consider an allotment. There’s been an increase in veganism and vegetarianism in the last few years and so may be growing your own vegetables and what better way to make sure they are 100% organic? Choose an allotment plot close to your home and talk to your council about availability. Talk to plot holders about the soil, water access and any problems experienced.