Spring is in sight. The days are visibly lengthening, and our gardens are slowly reawakening. Depending on where you live, primroses, muscari and iris reticulata will be in flower and daffodils will be strutting their jaunty stuff.
The average day time temperature during February is a chilly 7°C, falling to 2°C at night. But these are averages so of course it may be warmer but be prepared for it to be colder too! Take advantage of those milder days by doing groundwork for the months ahead. This involves digging, weeding and mulching. And then weeding again. And again.
Throughout February gardens across the country will be opening and inviting people to walk amongst their many varieties of dazzling snowdrops. So, wrap up warm and find one local to you by visiting https://www.greatbritishgardens.co.uk/seasonal/snowdrops/national-gardens-scheme-snowdrops.html A cup of tea and slice of cake in the tearoom after could be your reward, or perhaps a slug of sloe gin from that hip flask you were gifted at Christmas.
- Chit your Dobies seed potatoes ready to plant when the soil begins to warm up in March
- Over-wintered fuchsias can now be cut back to a couple of strong buds
- Digging over the vegetable plot this month will warm you up nicely and will break up any compaction, allowing 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
- Order a packet of Dobies Pea Champion of England seeds, ready for sowing them in March. Recently saved from extinction this tall growing variety won’t take up much space and will crop incredibly well – https://www.dobies.co.uk/vegetable-seedsAll+Vegetable+Seeds/Pea+-+Champion+of+England_430342.htm#430342
- Plant onion sets, garlic, 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! Established crowns can be forced by popping an upturned bucket over them.
- 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
- Order your Dobies summer bedding https://www.dobies.co.uk/Garden/Bedding+Plants/A-Z+Bedding+Plants/list.htm
Knobbly and oddly shaped Celeriac will never claim to be the most attractive of vegetables however looks aren’t everything. One of the few vegetables ready to harvest in February, the nutty, celery-like flavour, combined with the freshness of fennel, is delicious. Great in soup or mashed, celeriac also works well in stews and can be used as a substitute in any dish requiring sweet potato, squash or turnip.
The classic French Remoulade is possibly the dish in which celeriac shines the most. A healthy starter, salad or winter alternative to coleslaw.
You will need:
1 x celeriac – peeled and cut into Julienne matchsticks
4 x tbsp mayonnaise
Juice from half a lemon
1 x tbsp crème fraiche
1 x tbsp Dijon mustard
Handful of chopped parsley
Salt & pepper
Toss the celeriac matchsticks in the lemon juice and then add all the other ingredients and gently combine. Serve your Remoulade on its own as a starter or as an accompaniment to smoked fish or cold meats.
Celeriac also works well with:
Pork – White fish – Blue cheese – Apple
Pear – Horseradish – Kale – Potato
Cream – Garlic – Mustard – Walnuts
Valentine’s Day Love Apples
Tomatoes were once known by the French as Pomme D’amour, in other words, Love Apples. Why? Because they were believed to have aphrodisiacal powers.
Whereas that may or may not be true, what we know for a fact is they taste wonderful and are a “must grow” for any vegetable gardener. This year Dobies are bringing you two new varieties, in fact, not only are they new, they are also exclusive to Dobies so you can’t buy them from anywhere else!
Cherry F1 Honeycomb
This grafted tomato is an improvement on the well known “Sungold” variety in that it has the same delicious flavour but with less fruit splitting.
Honeycomb is a large, vibrant orange cherry tomato, full of juice and sweet flavour. Well named, this tomato really is as sweet as honey! Growing Honeycomb at our trial grounds we were getting 150 to 200 tomatoes per plant so it’s as vigorous as it is delicious. Ready to harvest between July and October.
Crimson Crush Beefsteak
The Dobies Crimson Crush family has made growing tomatoes outdoors possible again. They simply have the best tolerance to late blight we’ve ever seen. And now we have a beefsteak to add to the family – F1 Crimson Blush.
The first truly blight resistant variety of the beefsteak world. A vigorous grower and reliable cropper, your Crimson Blush beefsteak tomatoes will be ready to harvest from June to September.
Birds, Bees and Butterflies
There is an ever-growing interest in helping the native animals and insects that visit our gardens. With this in mind, our new range of British Native Wildflowers has been specially designed to offer habitat and food. The range includes 12 different seed mixes, each with a specific purpose.
The Honeybee Mix was created in collaboration with Gales Honey and contains 30 native species of flower, all rich in pollen and nectar. With a mixture of flower heights and shapes these flowers will provide the perfect foraging spot for honeybees and other useful pollinators.
If you love to see colourful butterflies in your garden, then you’ll also love the Dobies Butterfly Mix. Each packet contains 1000 seeds, including over 30 native species chosen for being nectar rich. Perfect for flower beds these seeds will grow just as well in pots and large containers.
For more details of these and the 10 other seed mixes in our British Native Wildflowers range click here
If you have been out into the garden recently you may have noticed one or two bees already buzzing about. On the slightly warmer winter days honey bees will the leave the confines of their warm cosy hives in the search of food, but sources of pollen and nectar can be hard to find at this time of year.
A huge number of flowers and vegetables rely on insects such as bees for pollination and as gardeners there is something relatively simple that we can do to keep the bees buzzing until Spring when there will be an abundance of flowers for them to choose from.
Planting flowers such as Aubretia or Primula vulgaris, whose bright flowers will act as beacons to the bees, will provide a much needed source of food in early spring when there is little else around. Not only that but they will add a splash of colour to your outside space while you wait for the rest of the flowers to wake up after winter.