Forest Garden
Prepare Your Garden for Spring

4th March 2021


Top Tips for vegetable gardeners in February

The very best advice is to keep tuned to the weather forecast.  February can be a very difficult month to manage in the vegetable garden as the thermometer, particularly in an unheated greenhouse, can rise to high upper limits and then crash down well below freezing, all in a 24-hour period.  If the soil is frosted try to keep off it, other than to harvest.  If you have a net covering over a vegetable or fruit case, knock off any accumulated snow as this will cause real damage and can even cause the support bars on the roof and sides to collapse.

Time to plant in frost free soil

  • Any broad beans sown in pots and kept in an unheated greenhouse in December or January and all remaining seeds.
  • Leeks in an unheated greenhouse for an early start to the season.
  • Aubergine, tomato, selected herbs, brassica, salad leaf seeds in a heated propagator.
  • Early peas outside.
  • Carrots in an unheated greenhouse.
  • Shallots.
  • First early potatoes (towards the end of the month unless really cold weather is forecast).

Time to enjoy

  • Brussel sprouts and do not forget the sprout tops.
  • Sprouting and green broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Green and dark kale
  • Celery
  • Leeks
  • Winter salad crops
  • Chicory
  • Endive
  • Swede
  • Parsnips
  • Jerusalem artichokes
  • Any supermarket vegetables showing the Union Jack, confirming it is British grown.

Jobs for February

  • Place a clear cloche over perpetual spinach and chard plants still growing to give them a boost for a second early spring harvest.
  • Check ties on Brussel sprout and sprouting broccoli stakes to avoid wind damage.
  • All digging and manuring should be completed this month unless the ground is frosted.
  • Check outside taps are not frozen.
  • Check that everything is secure to withstand the March gales.
  • Open greenhouse windows and doors on warm days to boost fresh air circulation but remember to close again at night.
  • If not completed already, purchase all seeds, onion and shallot sets and seed potatoes.
  • Always keep full cans of water – ideally rain-water – in the greenhouse so it is at the correct temperature for plants and seeds.
  • On a warm day turn the compost heap with a fork to let in fresh air.
  • Check that guttering leading to water butts are free from leaves and other rubbish.  It will only settle on the bottom and interrupt the flow of water.