Greenbelt

Garden jobs for February

Ask the Expert

Question: Garden jobs for February

With no way of really knowing whether each new morning will bring snow or sunshine – though most likely it’s rain! – I’m not sure what I need to be doing in my garden in February. Can you please help?

A. Doig

Answer

You’re quite right. Not even the expert weather forecasters seem particularly confident! However, those sudden blooms of snowdrops are the sure first signs of the approaching spring. And that means, whatever the weather right now, it’s a time when we can begin looking forward to the light lasting longer and the days growing warmer.

With the first days of February already upon us, there will be plenty to be getting on with in the garden, before bulbs begin appearing and flora and fauna begin to wake from their slumber.

Here is a handy hit list for top jobs for February to get you started!

Veg out

Now is the perfect time to prepare those seed beds for this year’s vegetables. You can even sow some vegetables under cover.

Wrap up

Be aware that there is still a strong chance of frost and even snow. Protect your more vulnerable plants, by wrapping pots in insulation and raising containers off the ground. Treat young trees and shrubs to a helping of dry mulch to protect their roots.

Cut back

Get those pruning scissors out because all of those winter-flowering shrubs have finished their displays and will need cutting back.

Quick tidy

Also in need of a timely haircut are your hardy evergreen hedges and any untidy deciduous hedges. Remember, too, not to let leaves accumulate around your alpines, as they can die if left damp for long. You can also cover any bare patches around clumps with gritty compost.

Spuds you like

Available now are your favourite seed potatoes are available now, and you should allow their shoots to form (called chitting) by placing them in a cool but frost-free and light place.

This months’s Top Tip: how to be a rolling stone

You don’t want to gather moss, but it will start growing on your lawn long before the grass ever stretches from sleep. Ferrous sulphate is often used to kill moss.

However, we do have a green alternative. If it sounds a little kooky, that’s because it is: but it’s a tried and trusted method!

Gently mix together four ounces of an organic liquid dish soap (you should be able to find a good range of eco-friendly varieties in your local store) with a gallon water into a hand sprayer. Holding the nozzle a couple of inches away, drench the moss with the soapy solution.

The moss should turn an orange-brown colour in a day, eventually drying up altogether and allowing surrounding grass to take over.

Conor Wilde, Greenbelt