Gardening: Things To Do In February

The weather may be hot, but that’s no reason you can’t start thinking about the flowers and veges that will yeild in winter. Here are some top tips from the experts about what needs to be done in your garden this February.


Cool and temperate

It’s time to start thinking about vegetables for winter — yes, already! All the brassicas — broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts — can go in soon. Start some seeds now so they will be ready to plant out in about a month to six weeks. They need time to grow a framework before they produce, so get them off to a good early start. Italian sprouting broccoli and broccolini planted soon will provide plenty of greens through the winter into spring.
Parsnips are good to sow now for winter stews and soups. If you have a parsnip still in the garden left over from last year, let it go to seed. Collect the seed and sow straight away. Fresh parsnip seed is the secret to the best germination.


There may be just enough time to get some more sweetcorn in and perhaps a few bush beans (not climbing beans) where the last crop of lettuce has been. This will build up the soil and provide the last sweet, succulent beans of the summer.


There is no problem in growing salad greens in the tropics at this time of year. Plenty of rain ensures the perfect growing conditions for tatsoi, lamb’s lettuce, lettuce of all sorts and some Florence fennel as well. They will find a bit of shade welcome, so rig up an instant shadehouse (see page 48).


Cool and temperate

It’s time to think about netting those fruit trees. The birds are looking forward to their annual treat of apricots, peaches and nectarines, so it’s time to get busy. It’s also the ideal time to summer prune. Prune back the long, whippy growths of spring by at least two-thirds or to a triple bud in the case of peaches and nectarines. Summer pruning will divert the plants’ energy into the fruit and keep the trees a manageable size. Not only that, the trees are just that little bit easier to net.


If the weather is getting a bit too hot for your trees, add an extra layer of mulch around the base and water early in the morning to help keep the moisture up to the tree during the hot day. Move potted specimens into the shade and away from afternoon sun to help reduce evaporation and burning of the leaves.



The compost should be cooking nicely in the summer heat. It’s a good time to turn the compost and mix the layers to allow more air to penetrate. Add a handful of lime as you mix and perhaps a few leaves of Achillea or yarrow to speed up the process.


Keep the water up to your compost as it can dry out so easily with dry weather and hot winds. Remember that dry compost does nothing — it just sits there — so check your heap regularly.


Help to cool your worm farms down by positioning them in complete shade during these hot months. Remove the lid and cover over with hessian or newspapers and soak well to keep the soil moist. Check the moisture level daily and soak immediately when the paper seems dry.


Cool and temperate

The mulch could be getting a bit thin, so top it up with a pale-coloured mulch such as sugar-cane, lucerne or pea straw. A bit of extra slow-release nitrogen should also be added to keep those salad greens growing. Use old drink bottles with pierced lids, filled with water and upended next to your thirsty plants to keep the ground moist.

Article published with the permission of Universal Magazines Complete Home

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