This month can sometimes be deceiving in the garden and generally for that matter. Lovely days that seem to announce the arrival of Spring, are quickly followed by really bitter, wintery weather.
However, the mild spells, when they occur, really do give us time to start the new season’s gardening activity in earnest, providing, of course, that we don’t forget that winter is still with us for a while.
You will, hopefully, have spent January deciding which seeds to sow and which plants to purchase as young plants or plug grown seedlings. If you intend to sow seeds then this is a good month to do this both indoors and outdoors, but remember to always check the packet for sowing times first.
When sowing in trays or pots, make sure you use a seed sowing or general purpose compost and always keep it moist.
In the greenhouse, you will need to keep frost at bay and perhaps also increase the heating. Propagators (with or without heaters) can help maintain even temperatures and humidity over seeds without the need to increase general greenhouse heating too much. If you don’t have a greenhouse, then a sunny window sill will do a good job and here again, the propagator will even out the temperatures and help to keep night frosts at bay.
When planting outdoors, try using horticultural fleece to warm the soil for a short time BEFORE planting and again afterwards to protect seedlings and young plants from frosts. But do remember to fix it down against the wind. Fleece will also offer some protection against rabbits and certain insect pests.
This is a good month to carry out any alterations you may have planned, but take care to complete your planning before starting work and don’t forget any appropriate protective clothing or equipment.
Complete winter washes and sprays on Apples and Pears, but remember to make sure you are using chemicals that still have approval.
Start pruning climbing roses by removing weak and old shoots and tying-in new, strong growth to fill lower spaces. Some strong new growth may need to be positioned in stages by tying in, leaving a few weeks and then positioning again.
Continue to carry out general winter pruning and if possible, try to complete this before the end of the month.
These are now available at Farnborough Garden Centre, but it is advisable to shop early for a full choice of varieties.
Continue to feed and position nesting boxes to enable birds to select their new nesting sites. Some birds will be starting courtship and mating activities this month and will be looking for new homes.
Patio Pots and Planters
Continue to take steps to prevent frost damage, the main cause of which is usually water-logging.
The work here in the Nursery at Farnborough Garden Centre is already changing with hand watering of outdoor plants necessary during dry, windy spells. Our feeding schedule is now well underway and the weeding has begun again.
The retail display areas are changing to accommodate our new season’s plants and the first of the starter plants and plug grown seedlings will be available from the end of this month for those customers wanting to get an early start in growing-on their summer bedding, tub and basket plants. We are constantly adding to the range of plants, pots, composts, garden sundries and giftware on offer.
Written by Pete Toms, Farnborough Garden Centre.