There's a whiff of spring in the air
We’ve certainly seen some extremes this month with temperatures plummeting to -16°C in some areas of our region, but at last it looks as though winter is finally drawing to a close.
Now that the snow has gone you can see how advanced some of the spring flowering bulbs are; snowdrops and early daffodils are already out and the rest aren’t that far behind. Now’s the time to get inspired by gardening all over again!
Although there isn’t an awful lot to do in the garden at the moment there’s a lot to think about and plenty to plan to ensure you keep ahead because come mid March, everything will start romping away.
First off, if you’re a vegetable grower you might want to start thinking about what potato varieties you are going to grow this year. There’s plenty to choose from in the garden centres right now, you just have to decide on whether you want early new potatoes, second earlies or main crop varieties. Whatever you choose it’s far too early to start planting them out just yet but it’s the perfect time to start preparing them by ‘chitting’ them. This means encouraging them to grow shoots and the purpose is to give them a good start when you do plant them at the end of March. It’s done by keeping them somewhere light and frost free for about four to six weeks, windowsill or cool conservatory is fine.
Start preparing your flower borders by mulching with well rotting horse manure. Manure is a great investment as it enriches the soil, aids in moisture control, improves soil structure and keeps the weeds down.
Empty out any spent grow bags or old bags of compost onto the borders and clean any pots or propagating modules in preparation for sowing your seeds next month. Don’t be tempted to sow anything too early as you will do more harm than good, March is early enough.
As winter is slowly drawing to a close, so is the window for planting bare root plants, especially roses and fruit trees, so if you have anything that needs to go in do it now. If you are planting bare root roses it’s a good idea to consider using a beneficial ‘friendly fungi’ to boost their performance. Mycorrhizal fungi can be added when planting to aid water and nutrient uptake and is available from most garden centres or online stockists. It comes as a granule and you only need to use it once but you do need to ensure that the granules are in contact with the roots for it to be effective. Slow release fertiliser sprinkled around your trees and shrubs is also a good idea.
Ideally, fruit tree pruning, especially apples and pears, should also be completed now before they wake up from their dormancy but remember most stone fruit pruning should be left until May/June to avoid the danger of silver leaf disease.
Although, frosty mornings aren’t yet a thing of the past, it is starting to feel quite pleasant when the sun does come out and it’s set to warm up even more this week, it may even hit 16 degrees by Friday. Positively barmy!
For more jobs to do in February and March visit our website www.woolcottandsmith.com.
There’s only about 90 days to go before Chelsea and we must admit to feeling a few butterflies in the tummy, a perfectly normal reaction to taking part in the world’s most prestigious flower show. We’re beginning to get that nagging feeling that there’s something we’ve forgotten and the Chelsea dreams (or nightmares) are starting to kick in.
On a more positive note, last week we had a great trip down to Dorset to catch up with our sponsors who are also making the shepherd’s hut feature for the garden. Everything seems to be going to plan so far and we even have a scenic artist on board to distress the hut.
We’ve had more wildflowers delivered this week and our heritage beetroot and runner beans are just starting to come up in the greenhouse. So touch wood we don’t need to panic just yet. Will leave that until next month!