Unsurprisingly, February is a quiet time on the allotment, but I still find bits and pieces to do – I enjoy having a reason to get outside and I’m often accompanied by my dog, Amber. I find that in February, I notice and appreciate the sights and sounds more than I might do later in the year when I tend to take them for granted, bird song, sunshine and daylight are a real treat at this time of year.
In terms of jobs, it’s mainly preparing and planting on my to-do list. I’ll dig over the plot and remove as many weeds as I can – this pays dividends later in the year as the more you remove now, the less you’ll have to deal with later in the year.
Once the soil starts to warm up, I’ll apply some manure and a fertiliser to improve the quality of the soil – this year I’m using Growmore Fertiliser which is slow release so will nourish the soil right through the growing season.
I really enjoy growing my own potatoes so I’ll place them in a cool, light place to chit on (sprout) in February & March, then I can plant them in the ground in April (traditionally Easter is the day). This is also the time to start sowing seeds such as lettuce, sweet peas, tomatoes – this is a job I enjoy doing with the kids – we’re always surprised at how quickly they start peeping through. A tip for growing lettuce is to select a few different varieties (I’m going for Romaine Ballon, Saladin and Tom Thumb) and sow them at two week intervals – this means that you should have a crop to pick throughout the summer, rather than all at once.
Back out on the allotment, I am planting Taylors Yellow Moon shallot sets, these will be ready in the summer. The key with these is not to plant them too deep so they don’t rot.
Finally, I will be painting my fruit trees with fruit tree grease to help control aphids and scale from climbing the trunks of the tree and laying their eggs which will hatch in spring causing many diseases to the tree.