Welcome back to the blog!
The first cluster of snowdrops have appeared by the kitchen garden gate signifying the beginning of the gardening year for me. Any gardening done before they arrive is a bonus in my book, but by no means a must. I like to spend January hibernating, planning projects for the garden and the house. It’s a time I’ve come to treasure before the pace picks up, and while the garden is still mostly asleep, I allow myself a rest too.
Now February has arrived and I’m ready to tick some jobs off my garden to do list, and get my hands back in the soil. I’ve been jotting down ‘to do’s’ in my garden journal over the past couple of weeks, as I spot them on walks around the garden. So here’s a list I’ll be working through over the next month, along with some tips I’ve learned over the last few years. I’ve split them into jobs taking as little as 10 minutes to a whole afternoon. Obviously this is dependent on the size of your garden, but I hope this list is helpful to you as the gardening season begins again. Remember these lists are a guide based on the growing conditions usually experienced in Scotland at this time of year, timings may need to be adjusted based on where you live.
10-20 minute jobs
- Pop cloches, row covers or fleece over empty growing space to warm up the soil for early sowing of cold crops such as carrots or spinach
- Clean plastic plant labels with nail polish remover ready to use again
- Keep topping up bird feeders, wash them in between refills
- Check dahlia stock and remove any rotting tubers
- Start pre sprouting ranunculus and anemone corns. I soak them for around 3-4 hours, and start them off in seed trays in the shed for around 14 days before planting them up individually
- Towards the middle of February, purchase seed potatoes and place them to pre sprout / chit in a light dry spot. I usually pop them in the greenhouse but a windowsill will do
- Cut back any damaged hellebore leaves, allowing new growth to emerge
- Buy all the compost and mulch you will need for the season ahead
- Wash pots to prevent diseases such as dampening off
- Prune climbing and bush roses including Rosa Rugosa. Burn any diseased clippings, rather than adding them to the compost pile
- Cut back perennials. On mild days I’ll be cutting back perennials such a campanula latifolia, hypericum, nepeta, phlox, sedums, and group 2 and 3 clematis. Don’t forget to clean pruners regularly between uses.
- Turn the compost pile
- Order all the seeds, or not if you have restraint
- Clear any leaves, branches and debris that may have appeared in the garden over the last few weeks
- Mulch perennial borders – I do this every couple of years with a good 2-3 inches of organic soil improver, mulch or compost
- Wash and fumigate the greenhouse. I purchased one of these garlic candle fumigators which I’ll set off in the greenhouse to prevent aphids and other pests before seed sowing begins in earnest
- Plan what to grow and where to maximise your growing space, thinking about companion planting and succession growing to get the most from the season
- Prune fruit trees while they are dormant
What to sow in February
- Sweet peas
- Broad beans
- Micro greens
- Chillies – If you live in Scotland get these going as soon as possible
- Herbs such as parsley and rosemary
To say I am excited for another opportunity to create a beautiful garden full of home grown vegetables and cut flowers would be an understatement. At the same time, I’m looking forward to soaking up all the beauty and calm the natural world has to offer as we march towards spring. It’s been wonderful to hear the dawn chorus already growing in volume as the days go by. Happy February!