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In the Garden – February 2024

The season is galloping away; February is a very busy month in the Garden! Head Gardener Helen tells us what the team have been doing to get ready for a productive season.

The fruit cage

We’ve finished pruning everything in the fruit cage; from red and black currants to gooseberries, jostaberries and tayberries (we’re growing more of this delicious, under-rated berry this year). It’s all been fed and mulched to encourage fruiting and hold in the moisture in the summer – hard to imagine that being a problem just now!

In the Garden

Our experiment of overwintering small plants in our cold frames has gone well, resulting in 1 1/2 beds of lettuce and half a bed of chard planted out mid Feb. We’re very happy with that as the “hungry gap” is always a challenge.
Over-wintered outdoor spinach, which we fleeced to protect from the coldest weather, is now just netted to keep the birds off and coming along nicely. Fleece back on shortly for a while, depending on the frosts.
Our veg bed hoeing rota is working well to keep the weeds down at the moment but a downside is we’ll need to reseed some of the edible flowers which normally reseed themselves. Watch out for calendula, borage, heartsease violets and nasturtium flowers in the salad bags later in the season.
Garden volunteers and Helen hoeing the raised beds

Sowing

Peppers, chillis and tomatoes and lots of lettuce¬† have been sown under cover. We find a glass sheet or plastic cover helps hold in moisture and warmth for germination. We’ve had some trouble encouraging the peppers and chillis to germinate due to not getting the hots bed temperature high enough, but my airing cupboard did the trick for most of them in the end!
Other sowing in Feb Рleeks, beetroot, chard, rocket and lots of Orientals for the poly tunnel, peas for shoots, broad beans, parsley, basil, coriander, lambs lettuce,  and then fennel, spring onions, celeriac, spinach, kale & purple sprouting.

Jobs for March

March is peak sowing time, so get yourself ready; if you haven’t cleaned pots and greenhouse, do it now!
It’s particularly key to get your veg sown. If they need warmth, keep them on an indoor windowsill for the time being.
If you didn’t top your beds in the autumn, get it done now so they are nice and rotted in time for planting out.