February + March

If you are an exhibitor or are running a flower show, make sure that you have a copy of the new RHS Show Handbook, available from RHS at Wisley.

Just a few thoughts on what to do in the garden in the next few weeks:

 

Vegetables

  • If you haven’t got your seed potatoes yet, hurry up; the best varieties will be sold out soon. When they arrive, put them out to chit. Place them in a light frost free position with the eyes uppermost so that they can get a head’s start on growing. If you put them in the back of a cupboard in the dark they will send out long pale shoots which won’t be any good when you come to plant them
  • Buy your veg seed
  • Check your greenhouse, make sure the heater is in good working order and the insulation is in good condition
  • Onions and leeks for showing should be well on their way by now, pot them on when required, don’t let them get a check by being pot bound
  • Shallots for the show should have been planted by now but it’s not too late, plant them in the greenhouse if soil conditions are not right. Use varieties Hative de Niorte or Aristocrat
  • Prepare soil when conditions allow, set up cloches to warm the soil
  • Heavy soils should have been dug during November but lighter soil can get compacted by winter weather so I leave my light sandy soil until it warms up and dries out a bit which it will do soon
  • Check bean sticks pea sticks etc. replace if required

Flowers

  • Sweet peas should have been sown in October and kept in a cold frame or cold greenhouse, check them regularly, water if required, until ready to go outside in March. Give them some extra protection in very cold weather
  • Dahlia tubers can be given some heat now to provide a good crop of cuttings
  • Herbaceous borders can be mulched and tidied up and plants moved about if conditions allow
  • Bush roses can be pruned soon, don’t be in too much of a hurry I always wait until the third week of March
  • Shrubs that flower on new wood like buddleia and lavatera can be pruned hard now so long as it is not too cold

Lawns

  • Think about mowing if conditions are right, not too wet, not frozen etc
  • I like to put lawn sand on in March when conditions allow, to kill the moss then scarify after a couple of weeks when the moss has really died, not just gone black

General

  • Check fences for damage and loose posts etc. and repair as required
  • Relay loose paving slabs on paths and patios
  • Tidy the garden to remove shelter for slugs and snails
  • Put up bird boxes and clean and repair old ones

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