My Night With Veg. Planning Your Planting and A Few Jobs for February

Well. Last week, Punxsatawney Phil came out, wiggled his little nose and declared he had seen a shadow so, sadly, six more weeks of winter are due and there is no earthly point planting anything right now. Better to sit in the house and watch comforting nineties romantic comedies or listen to your old Sonny and Cher records. So……

Well. Last week, Punxsatawney Phil came out, wiggled his little nose and declared he had seen a shadow so, sadly, six more weeks of winter are due and there is no earthly point planting anything right now. Better to sit in the house and watch comforting nineties romantic comedies or listen to your old Sonny and Cher records. So……

"Shadow? What shadow?"
“Shadow? What shadow?”

See what I did there? No? No it’s not a Grauniad style error. Have you never seen Groundhog Day? Never heard of Phil, Seer of all seers, prognosticator of all prognosticators on Gobblers Knob? Honestly. My talent and experience is wasted on some people. It’s a very funny and sweet film.

Never mind. Cute little Phil is right. It’s been as frosty as the reception for Nigel Farrage at an Albanian Builders convention. I can’t plant anything right now as my soil is like concrete and getting anything in the ground would be like trying to prick a Rhino with a safety pin.

So. The only thing to do is prepare and plan. And planning is great because it’s the one bit of gardening you can do in the kitchen, in the evening, with a cup of steaming Horlicks, a premium-brand Garibaldi and Stravinsky’s ‘Rite Of Spring’ at number 11 on the stereo. I did it just the other night and by the time I had finished I could almost see those fresh, tasty vegetables leaping onto my table asking to be washed, chopped and turned into a nourishing soup. ready meals? Those are for wimps.

Have a think about what to plant and where and when? Hmmm. Hopefully, you’ll already have given some thought to crop rotation, moving stuff around to refresh the soil and keep pests and diseases down. If you haven’t planned this yet, think about it now and take some notes. Plan your beds and where everything is going to go. You can even put down stakes with labels if it makes you feel organised.

I’ll be doing some chitting as I am definitely going for potatoes as usual. My crop last year was superb and if you are a potato fan, you should start the process as soon as you can get hold of them chitters.

The Good Stuff. Get It While It's Hot
The Good Stuff. Get It While It’s Hot

I’ll definitely be forking some manure into my planned potato beds this week. You can’t beat it for seriously kick starting the process, and I always get a good supply. I’ll be warming up the ground with some mulch too and probably some polythene to cover afterwards. I have a friend who is a great gardener and doesn’t bother so it’s your choice but I think it’s helpful as long as you weigh it down.

And when I say weight it down, I mean it. We had a problem one windy night last year with a rogue sheet of black plastic that took off like a kite and ended up blown against my neighbour’s bedroom window. She woke up with a start, thought all the streetlights had gone down in the area and called the local council. Not good.

Onions and garlic will undoubtedly be on my list, although it’s been too cold up to now. I might sow some in pots in the greenhouse. I always check the temperature first so, if you don’t have one, make sure you have a good barometer in the place and don’t bother if the temperature is way below 15 degrees!

I’ll be sowing tomato and cucumbers but no way just yet. If it warms up by the end of February I might consider it again.

Anyway, keep warm and don’t forget that planning is half the battle…the other half is physically tougher but you have to do it and it’s great fun.

So don’t dawdle, get your pencil and paper out and remember to enjoy your garden.

Drew Hardy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Drew Hardy

Freelance Writer at Mowdirect
A keen allotmenteer with an interest in all things horticultural, Drew has a varied writing background with experience in a number of fields including garden machinery, lawn care and compost. His first experience with gardening was a cultivating a small plot he was given by his house master at school. He grew a decent crop of radishes and lettuce and sold them to a local shop, exhibiting his first, and last, sign of an entrepreneurial spark. Drew lives in North London with his wife, two children and a slightly bonkers cat
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