February is a month of such hope. There are snowdrops and crocuses galore to prove spring is just around the corner, and you can risk sowing the first hardy vegetables undercover in a heated propagator to kick-start the veg growing year. Here are a few of the jobs you can be getting on with:
- Put up nesting boxes for birds so they have somewhere to raise their young this spring. Choose a sheltered spot, and make sure it’s out of reach of cats.
- Turn the compost heap to mix up all the ingredients and get all those bacteria working at top speed to turbo-charge the rotting process.
- Plant winter aconites ‘in the green’ – when they’re still leafy - as they establish more quickly than dry tubers. You’ll find pots full of aconites and other early spring bulbs at the garden centre.
- Cut back wisteria if you didn’t finish pruning last month – sideshoots should be taken back to two or three buds to encourage plenty of flowers.
- Trim back heathers shearing off faded flowers to leave a neat hummock of evergreen foliage, adding a handful of slow-release fertiliser to keep them healthy through summer.
- Plant shallot sets so the tips are just showing above the surface of the soil, spacing them 15-18cm apart in moisture-retentive but free-draining soil in full sun.
- Sprinkle sulphate of potash around fruit to encourage lots of flowers and a bumper crop of fruit later in the year. Fork it in lightly and finish off with a mulch of garden compost.
- Sow early peas in guttering filling the guttering with compost then sprinkling the seeds about 2cm apart across the top then pushing them gently into the compost.