You may be saying to yourself that it is still winter and what gardening jobs can there to do in February? Actually now is a good time to start preparing for the year ahead if you have not already! At Mitzvahs and Marrows we like to take the opportunity to take stock and plan what we want to grow during the coming seasons. A little advance preparation will reap dividends in the long run.
Potatoes are an easy crop to grow and chitting your seed potatoes will mean a bigger yield and bigger spuds, which is good news all round. Seed potatoes are small potatoes that have been selected from specific varieties and are certified disease free. You can buy seed potatoes from any plant nursery, garden centre, and from our very own ‘Leap Into Spring Sale’ on 29th February.
Chitting refers to allowing the seed potatoes to sprout a little before planting them out. This is really easy and you just take an old egg box and place the seed potatoes in them, put the filled egg trays into a cool, dry, airy place preferably near natural light and wait a couple of weeks or so.
Another important job to do in the garden in February is to check over things and remove any weeds so they don’t take hold. Of course if the ground is too damp, or hard from frost, or covered in snow(!) this will have to wait until the soil conditions are more conducive.
During this month it is also a good time to order your seeds for future planting (or you can buy some seed pots from the Leap Into Spring Sale). It is a real gardening pleasure to thumb through a seed catalogue and gaze at all the lovely vegetables, flowers, and herbs to grow. It is too easy to just plunge in and buy everything! However you need to think of the size of your garden or plot (or windowsill!), what soil conditions you have, how much sun your garden gets and so on.
If you are starting out growing your own then start small and pick a few things as a project rather than trying to do too much in one go. At Mitzvahs and Marrows we originally started with potatoes, chilli peppers, tomatoes, and courgettes (the latter grew so well they turned into marrows!), marigolds and runner beans. We looked at what was most successful and what didn’t do so well. In our case the runner beans were a run away success … sorry about that, I couldn’t resist it!
Onions are a good crop to grow and rather than try to grow them from seed it is best to buy onions ‘sets’. An onion set is a small immature onion and as it grows it will increase in size and bulb out into the onions we all recognise.
Look out for March gardening tasks to find out what to do once the weather has warmed up and you have all your seeds, seed potatoes, and onion sets.