So here we are in February already and some of us will have already started off seedlings etc. which is why some of the old-timers call February the impatient month.
We are all desperate to get back out into the garden and get going. But the trouble with this month is that we can end it with two feet of snow or glorious sunny skies and there is just no way to tell which it is going to be.
The biggest issue with starting seeds off even indoors is the lack of daylight hours (as may experiment to grow carrots indoors during December and January proved), the lack of light leads to weak leggy seedlings that either die off or do not seem to do as well as those started off a little later.
The use of grow lights can give you a bit of a head start however unless you are growing on a commercial scale is the cost of the equipment and the electricity worth it?
There is a simple trick that can help to increase the amount of light the seedlings receive and that is to place a mirror (a bit of aluminium foil on some cardboard will do) a the back of the seedlings to reflect light back onto them. Just remember to turn the tray around each day to help prevent the seedling be drawn towards the window.
If you plan to grow potatoes this year you should now be starting to chit them, but be careful if you are doing so in a shed or garage as if we get a really cold night (such as last night) the cold can damage the chits and almost certainly prevent you from getting a good crop. The best thing to do is to provide some protection with some fleece at night when the temperature is predicted to drop.
Also this month
It is the last chance to prune any apples / pear4s that need it as the sap will soon start to rise again. It is also time to cut down the Autumn fruiting raspberries and to prune the balckcurrants.
If you do plan to plant out / direct sow it is a good idea to cover the ground with either cloches or agricultural fleece a couple of weeks before so that the soil has the chance to warm of a couple of degrees.
Well, that is the gardening stuff for this month.