Your gardening jobs for the first week of February | Brian Kidd
A host of things to be getting on with – weather permitting.
• Try to hoe through strawberry plants. The ground is currently very compacted because of the wet weather but by easing the soil, air will be introduced and the plants will start into growth earlier which will speed fruiting.
• Did you get the motor mower serviced? If not, in another six weeks you will have to wait ages to get the job done. If you can’t be bothered, at least start the engine to see if is working after all the damp weather. The same apples to rotovators. If one won’t go, buy a new spark plug. A new plug is the heart of an engine.
• Put your bag of seed-sowing compost in the greenhouse. It’s amazing how it will warm up ready for seed-sowing a few days later.
• Buy some copper mixture so you have some ready to prevent potato and tomato blight. In June, when you need it, the garden centres will have sold it all.
• Buy some seeds of Salad Bowl lettuce for sowing indoors in early April.
• This is an excellent time to plant new roses. Prepare the soil well and if it’s poor, invest in a bag of shrub planting compost. You will need the equivalent of a gallon bucket of compost for each new rose bush.
• Do you grow roses in pots or containers? This is a good time to knock them out of the pots and after removing all the old compost, repot into JI No3 compost and prune them really hard. This will give you an amazing display of colour in late May.
• If you grow ornamental grasses some will still look attractive because they are the evergreen types, but some are past their best and look brown. Cut those which are brown down to the base, leave just an inch of stem and then fork over the soil. A scattering of grit over the surface will make this spot look more attractive.
• If you lifted a clump or rhubarb roots just before Christmas and it is still out there lying on the soil, place it into a black polythene sack and pop it in the bottom of the airing cupboard or underneath the greenhouse staging. The lovely red stems which emerge will be tasty in about a month’s time.
• Nerine bulbs can be divided now. These great favourites spread quite quickly and tend to be ignored. This is the time to divide the clumps and plant them elsewhere in the garden.
• If you can retain 10C (50F) in your greenhouse, you might like to sow some dwarf French beans and once large enough, plant them into pots. These will crop well in the greenhouse next June.
• Peas sown in insert cells in the cold greenhouse five weeks ago will be ready to plant outdoors now. Prepare the soil and if possible, cover the ground with some temporary cloches to warm it up and it will also help the soil dry out too. Obtain some hazel sprays to hold the pea foliage together and protect the new plantsfrom pigeons otherwise they will be devoured in just a couple of days.