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Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Allotment Guide in February

We should start to see signs of spring this month, the ground (hopefully) will be starting to warm up towards the end of the month. Many plants shrubs and trees are budding ready for the warmer weather to return. Towards the end of the month is a good time to start sowing early peas and beans.

There are several other vegetables suitable for growing in February,  White Lisbon Spring onion, early short horn carrots, early types of lettuce for example. In the colder parts of the country it is better to wait until March but here in London we will be sowing our parsnip seed which should give us a good large harvest later in the year.
Fresh Garlic Bulbs

February is a good  month to plant out garlic and shallots. Prepare the ground as you would a seed bed and plant using a garlic trowel so that you don’t push the bulbs into the soil. Plant the garlic cloves about 2ins/5cms deep and leave the tips of the shallot bulbs just at the soil surface. Watch out for birds as sometimes they can pull the garlic out of the ground when the first growth appears, if your local birds learn this trick cover over with a net. The leaves can develop rust if they are planted too closely or are in too much shade.

Hopefully the rain will ease as for many its been a very wet period this this, however February is a good month to top dress all your fruit trees and soft fruit bushes with a general fertiliser at the recommended application rate. At the same time top dress the rest of the plot with a general fertiliser as land becomes available. It is not too late to plant bare rooted fruit trees and bushes so if you want to increase your numbers then get that done soon.

Check over any fruit trees and bushes for damage and disease problems and take appropriate action, also look out for any pruning that needs to be done and get the bushes and trees into a good shape for spring.

You can speed up the warming of the soil by covering the soil with cloches or sheets of plastic, which traps heat from the sun and will help you get seeds established quicker when the time comes.

If you grow potatoes then you will have started to chit them by now. Make sure you check them regularly and begin to rub off any excessive eyes making sure you leave three or four well-spaced shoots.Keep an eye on the weather and be prepared to cover over with fleece, straw or even newspaper if frost is expected.

If you are lucky to have a greenhouse on the allotment then its also a good time to get this clean and make any repairs necessary.

What ever you do make sure you stay warm, perhaps try a good vegetable soup - heres a great recipe for a hearty winter vegetable soup!

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