The end of February is the best time to start preparations for the new season. The risk of severe frost is low, and a few days are pleasant enough to tempt us out into the garden. Pruning should be the first priority – to remove dead material, open up the structure of the plants, direct their shape, and stimulate new growth. Fertilizing is important at this stage, when plants are putting on new growth and beginning to set their flower buds. Mulching is the final step to get your garden off to a good start for the season.
To maximize your gardening success this coming season, challenge yourself to:
- Grow veggies that you are excited to eat.
- Grow varieties that do well in our area and your conditions.
- Stay within your limits; you don't have to grow all your food.
- Keep things simple, but don't be afraid to experiment.
- Grow diversity over quantity.
In the flower garden:
- Check climbers are securely attached to their supports with ties.
- Take root cuttings of oriental poppies and grow them in cold frames.
- Spread fresh gravel or grit around alpine plants.
In the vegetable garden:
- While many parts of the garden and allotment are cleared, use this opportunity to install a permanent network of hard-wearing paths.
In the fruit garden:
- If your strawberry plants are over 3 years old, order some new strawberry runners to replace them. Old strawberry plants can harbour diseases and tend to lose vigour and productivity.
In the greenhouse:
- Ventilate the greenhouse on warmer days to reduce humidity and the risk of disease.
Other jobs in the garden:·
- Choose a dry day to clear out the garden shed in preparation for the spring.
- Get rid of slimy patches on the patio and paving by scrubbing with a broom or blasting with a pressure washer. For an easy alternative try a liquid patio cleaner.
- Turn your compost heaps to mix the ingredients and help the contents to decompose.
From your couch:
- Carefully plan your vegetable garden for next year so that you ensure good crop rotation to avoid a build up of pests and diseases.
- Order your flower seeds and vegetable seeds for next year - reflect on what worked well this year and what didn't, and don’t be afraid to try new ideas.
- Take an inventory of tools and equipment that you need for next year. Add them to your Christmas list!
- Order apple trees now for planting in early spring. If space is limited, try growing dwarf fruit trees.