February is often cited as being people’s least favourite month. It’s cold, it’s dark, dank and damp. A month when many wish they could burrow under the duvet and hibernate.
Yet the daylight hours are lengthening and there are signs of spring. Here in Devon the verges are littered with cheery primroses and those stalwarts of winter, the hellebores continue to flower.
Come March the gardening season begins in earnest, so February is your last chance to do the groundwork. And yes, that involves digging and weeding and mulching. Wrap up warm and venture outside when the weather allows. But when the rain, sleet or snow is falling reach for your Dobies catalogue and plan for the summer ahead.
Our top recommended tasks for February include:
- Digging over the vegetable plot this month will warm you up nicely and will break up any compaction and allow air to enter.
- Autumn fruiting raspberry canes can be cut down to ground level. Strong new canes will grow and produce those scrumptious berries later in the year.
- Plant onion sets and shallots and Jerusalem Artichokes (if you’re brave enough!).
- Rhubarb crowns can be planted this month. Its such an easy crop to grow and the tasty stems have so many uses, ranging from crumble to gin!
- Continue to plant bare root trees and shrubs. They will need regular watering to encourage their roots spread out and establish.
- Prune buddleia now to encourage new growth and flowers for butterflies and bees to enjoy.
- Sow broad bean seeds such as The Sutton or Imperial Green Longpod. Perfect varieties for early sowing they guarantee early eating.
This month more than ever we are wanting our plates to be filled with warming comfort food. OK so maybe the New Year diet is still in force but salads in February just don’t seem right. Nor are they necessary when other equally diet friendly veg is available, direct from the plot.
Kale can meet this need for hearty yet healthy food and is one of the few plants still producing. In a brief period of time kale has made the leap from good cattle fodder to becoming a celebrated superfood. Visit our blog for details of health benefits and varieties.
When it comes to cooking kale it can be steamed, boiled, stir-fried, added to soup or slowly braised. Kale crisps are as healthy as they are tasty, just cut up the leaves, toss them in olive oil and salt and then bake for about 8 minutes or until just crisp.
For February comfort food replace cabbage with kale for making colcannon. Simply shred your kale and cook it in butter for 10 minutes before stirring it into some creamy mashed potato.
Flavours that work well with kale include:
Lemon Chilli Garlic Nutmeg Eggs
Cream Cheddar Chorizo Walnuts Hazelnuts
Almonds Mushroom Tomato Butter Beans Beef
And the Sowing Begins!
February is the start of the sowing season. Hopefully you followed our advice last month and gave your seed trays and pots a good clean, so they are now ready for action. If not, now’s the time!
Sow Under Cover
Indoor cropping plants can be sown this month, e.g. tomatoes, chillies, peppers, etc. But if in doubt wait. It’s still very early and seeds sown in March will quickly catch up.
If the soil is dry and workable then now is the time to start sowing broad bean seeds, direct in the ground. For early sowing we recommend the variety Imperial Green Longpod. Producing pods of about 38cm in length this is a heavy cropping bean so it’s worth spreading the sowing between now and April.
For full details of what flower seed to sow this month click here
For full details of what veg seed to sow this month click here