February 2020 Garden Tips

Soil is the foundation for all plants in the garden and spending time in its preparation will bring considerable rewards. Ground that is going to be used for root crops like carrots, turnips, potato and radish should have a pH of about 7 (neutral). General fertiliser such as Growmore, or an organic alternative, should be raked in a few weeks before sowing at a rate of about 3-4 ounces per square yard.

In sheltered areas, crops such as onions, peas, lettuce and radish can be sown with suitable protection – either under cloches or heavyweight fleece.

Rhubarb clumps should be lifted and divided in February.

Tomato seed should be sown in greenhouses with appropriate heat to get them germinated.

Established herbaceous plants will benefit from a feed, ideally spread well-rotted farm yard manure, or garden compost around the plant and lightly fork it in.

Now is the time to think about your mower. If you have a standard powered mower like a Hayter you might like to know that the ‘Mower Man’ will come to your house and service it there for a reasonable price. He does not do electric mowers (sorry). Contact him either via his web site – www.themowerman.co.uk or on the phone 07832944791. I am still debating whether to invest in a robot (or auto) mowers but the installation and initial price makes me hesitate.

I’m looking at the possibility of getting LED Grow Lights to help germination on my propagator. The low light level in winter especially delays germination and makes growing strong plants more difficult. It seems to be quite complicated and I do not know all the answers. Much depends on the light wave output so that the wider the spectrum from red though to blue is quite important. The usual price factor applies so that the better the spectrum the higher the cost and whether that is worth it is another problem. Have a look on Amazon under the heading LED Grow Lights for more information.

Remember your house-plants on cold, frosty night. Keep them on the room side, not behind the curtain. Plants are most likely to die from drastic temperature changes between a heated room in the day and a frosty sill at night.

Verbenas can be difficult to raise from seed, the best way to do it is to keep one or two plants for stock, and to take cuttings about the middle of February. Just cut a tip and place it in a good rooting medium and you will be able to have several hundred cuttings from one good stock plant.

Young plants of perpetual flowering carnations should be potted on as soon as the small pots are filled with root growth. Keep the plants in a light, airy place that is cool – they do not like too much heat.

Chris Coke

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