Usually February is a dull and quiet month, not this year! However, not all bad news, the rain has filled up the water table and rivers, so we can look forward to a quick start to Spring, hopefully. A not so good side effect of heavy rain is that it will wash out the goodness from the earth, so consider a light dressing of a basic fertiliser, (Growmore or Blood Fish and Bone) on both vegetable and flower beds. If you have any spare compost, put a 6” collar around hungry plants, such as roses, blackcurrants, artichokes and spread the rest on cleared ground. Putting some in the bottom of the potato trench is recommended.
Early potatoes can go in mid-March plus early varieties of peas and broad beans as well. If you have access to guttering, cut into 3ft lengths, tape the ends, fill with compost and plant peas close together in a 5 pattern. When about 4” high, transplant into a trench by sliding out in one go. No need for heat, cold greenhouse is best. A pinch of a hardy type of lettuce can be started in a pot in a cold greenhouse and a few cabbage seeds also, for transplanting later.
As soon as new growth starts on plants outdoors, check for any damaged parts you find as a result of the storms and trim out.
Start off dahlias (single flower type for bees etc.) and plant some gladioli corms for early flowering. At the end of the month, or early April, sow a tiny pinch of root vegetables, preferably under a cloche if it is at all cold
It is not often stated on fertiliser products, that it is better to feed plants. with a ½ strength mix at each watering. They do not then get an irregular boost, so growth is much more controlled.
Nature Notes – “Gardeners urged to back butterflies” – go to wildaboutgardens.org.uk for full article