- Keep feeding the birds as natural food levels will be very low.
- This month is National Nest Box week why not put up a nest boxes to help our native garden birds find a home to rear their new family in.
- Keep bird baths free of ice in cold weather as water will be very hard to find and ensure water levels are topped up regularly.
Trees, Shrubs and Flowers
- Winter prune Wisterias – cut back side shoots to 2-3 buds. They will need to be pruned again late summer.
- Prune hedges even when it’s frosty.
- Remove old hellebore leaves.
- Divide clumps of herbaceous perennials.
- Sow hardy annuals.
- Plant Lily bulbs in pots and place in a cool greenhouses.
- Dahlia tubers can be placed in light and sprayed with mist if required to encourage growth and shoots for planting later.
- New turf can be laid.
- For new lawns prepare the soil / seed bed to sow grass seed late spring.
- Edge your lawn.
- Repair lawn edging with turf removed from elsewhere.
- If the weather is mild towards the end of the month you may mow your lawn but make sure it is dry and the mower is set to the highest setting.
Fruit and Vegetables
- Prune fruit trees and bushes if weather is not frosty but do not prune plums at this time.
- Dig over the vegetable patch when soil conditions are suitable.
- Sow broad beans outdoors, soil conditions permitting.
- Lime soil or use calcified seaweed where brassicas are to be grown.
- New potatoes. Now is the time to get them, all potatoes benefit from chitting (sprouting) but first and second earlies benefit the most by growing chits over the next few weeks is important as once planted it gives them faster growth and a bigger crop. To chit your potatoes place them loose on a seed tray or empty egg box in a frost free, cool place with natural light until the chits are about one inch long this is then the time to plant them
- Potatoes can be harvested as they start to flower the longer they are in the ground the bigger the potatoes will be that you harvest.
- A Rough guide to potatoes;
Variety Planting Can Harvest From First earlies from mid February to late March 10 weeks after planting Second earlies from mid March to mid April 13 weeks after planting Main crop from late March to mid April 15 weeks after planting Late main crop from late March 20 weeks after planting
Tips – protect tender leaves and shots from frost with fleece until end of May.
Main crop are best left for two weeks after leaves and stems have died so the skins have time to set to help with storage.
- Sow hardy crops (eg beetroot, early carrots and peas, radishes, salad leaves, spring onions, spinach under cloches or start off in pots/modules in cold frames, grow houses or cool greenhouses for early crops.
- Sow tender crops like greenhouse tomatoes, cucumber and peppers indoors (wait until next month in colder areas or very cold conditions.
- Test your soil for ph and nutrients.
- Start to protect plants form slugs and snails.
- Mulch the soil.
- Top up containers with compost.