February


What to do this month


February, being the last of the winter months, often has a sting and ends up being the coldest month. So,
more than any other month, this one you need to play according to local conditions. It’s best to hold off
than try to sow in waterlogged, near frozen ground that will most likely rot any seeds.


Sowing & Planting in February on the Vegetable Plot


The seed potatoes should be with you by now but it’s too early to plant outside so chit them. Chitting is
the process of pre-sprouting before planting. When you get your seed potatoes you put them in a cool
but frost free place where they get some light but not direct sunlight. The potatoes will then grow short
stubby shoots to get them off to a fast start when planted out.


If the weather allows, you can direct sow your broad beans in February along with early peas such as for
a May / June harvest. This early in the year your best chance would be to start your peas in the
greenhouse or a coldframe and plant later.


Conventional advice is often to sow parsnips now but it might be better to leave to March or even April if
the ground is wet.


Jerusalem artichokes and shallots can be planted now, although shallots will benefit from covering with
a cloche.


Under Cover in Greenhouse, Coldframe and Polytunnel


If you have a greenhouse, you can get an early crop of lettuce, rocket and radish away in there. You can
utilise cloches outdoors but success will be more dependent on the weather.


Time to sow your summer cabbages, turnips and spinach.


Onions from seed should be started now. They need about 15 degrees C to get them going so you may
be best using the windowsill in a cool room to start them off.


With a heated propagator or using windowsills you can start off aubergine and peppers, chillies and
tomatoes.


Fruit - Planting & Pruning


There is still time to finish planting fruit trees and bushes, especially raspberries and other cane
fruits
.


Early this month you can prune apple and pear trees while they are still dormant. It’s also time to prune
gooseberries and currants. With currants shorten the sideshoots to just one bud and remove old stems
from the centre of the bushes.


Forcing Rhubarb


Rhubarb can be forced for an early crop of the sweetest stalks. Just cover a crown or two with large
buckets or even an upturned black bin and insulate the outside with straw or manure for added heat. The stalks will grow in the dark. The drawback is that this takes a lot out of the crown and it won’t recover for
a couple of years.


General Jobs on the Plot


If you have finished all the major tasks, such as digging over, creating leafmould heaps etc you will not
have a lot to do in February but this is your last chance before spring.
You’re going to be using your pots and seed trays next, so this is a good opportunity to wash out and
sterilise them so you seedlings will get off to the best possible start.


This years potato bed will benefit from a good application of compost or rotted manure that can be
forked in or rotavated in to get them away.


You can cover soil with dark plastic sheeting, fleece or cloches to warm it up for a couple of weeks before
you start to sow and plant.


Harvest


Leeks may well be standing ready but if a long freeze seems likely you can dig some up and heel them in
to dug ground for easy access – unless we have deep snow!
Parsnips and swedes in the ground can come up when you are ready, cover with fleece or straw to stop
them freezing solid into the ground.
The cabbage family should be providing some sustenance with early purple sprouting broccoli, kale and
Brussels sprouts still being available. Beet leaves (perpetual spinach) and chards may be available.


Other crops you may have: scorzonera, chicory, endive, celeriac, celery and Jerusalem artichokes.


Start thinking, planning and sowing crops for the summer show in August.

Download / Printable Copy: What to do this month on your plot February.pdf

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