Gardening jobs for February

For February, we suggest planting garlic, sowing half-hardy annuals and putting up a nest box.

It may still be chilly outdoors but there’s plenty to do to get ready for the spring ahead. It’s a good time to stock up on things you’ll need for sowing seeds, such as pots and labels.

Put up a nest box

Make sure that you site your box out of the prevailing wind and strong sunlight. It should be about 1-3m above the ground, ideally on a tree trunk, but a wall or shed is fine, too. Look for somewhere that is hard for cats or squirrels to reach and be sure to position it away from bird tables and feeders, as they’re busy areas.

Buy fresh compost

Prepare for sowing seeds and potting up plug plants with fresh compost. Buy fresh, as compost deteriorates in the bag over time and gives poor performance. Check that the packaging isn’t faded and the bag doesn’t feel heavy or waterlogged. Store in a shed or garage so it doesn’t get wet.

Tidy the greenhouse

Before the greenhouse begins to fill up with plants, take the opportunity to tidy up any pots and trays, and scrub the staging. Finish off by cleaning the glass inside and out as it will increase the light levels for your plants, which is especially important early in the year when they’re naturally low. Avoid grey mould (botrytis) killing plants that you’re overwintering in the greenhouse or cold frame by checking them over regularly to remove dying leaves and flowers. These can go in the compost heap afterwards.

Cut lawn edges

Freshen up your lawn edges by re-cutting them with a half-moon tool or a spade. Use a taut string line as a guide for straight edges or a hose for curved edges. Your garden will look instantly neater. You can then maintain the edge by trimming with long-handled shears or a grass trimmer every time you mow.

Turn the compost heap

The composting process naturally slows down during the colder winter weather. To help give it a boost, stir your compost heap with an aerator tool or dig it out and refill it. This will reduce compaction and speed up rotting.

Sow hardy veg

Mid-February is the start of the veg-sowing season, but don’t sow everything at once. It’s still early in the season, so begin with hardy veg such as spring onions, beetroot, lettuce and spinach. Sow in module trays indoors and plant outside when they’re big enough to handle.

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