February top allotment tips have arrived and we are still very much in the grip of winter in most parts of the UK. Despite this, the days are joyously lengthening and there are subtle changes taking place on the allotment.
At home, house sparrows and starlings are raising the noise level earlier in the morning than for many months. This welcome optimism is valued more than ever during lockdown. Yet, of course, we do need to tread carefully as we are still early in the year.
Jobs in the Greenhouse
Included in our February top allotment tips is a bit of tidying up! I’m spending more and more time in the greenhouse now and it feels good! One task I’ve been doing is to wipe the algae off the perspex panels to allow those vital extra rays of light through. Good light levels are so important to keep the potential legginess of young seedlings to a minimum.
A non-heated propagator, placed on a warm windowsill in a cold greenhouse is a very useful alternative. The sun has enough strength now to really warm a south-facing windowsill or greenhouse for part of the day.
Onions, Shallots & Leeks
I like to start off my onion sets ‘Sturon‘ and the red variety ‘Electric‘ towards the end of the month. I plant them in multi-purpose compost in a combination of trays and pots. The onions will develop steadily. Root development is key and the shoot will develop accordingly. I’ll be planting my shallot bulbs ‘Golden Gourmet‘ in the same way and also any leftover garlic. All of these can be planted directly on the plot during March if the weather is settled if that is your preferred way of doing it.
I enjoy growing carrots to maturity in large containers or windowboxes. The varieties ‘Amsterdam Forcing‘ and ‘Ideal‘ perfect. I make the first sowing during February, leaving the containers in the greenhouse until the end of April. I then put them outside until harvest time.
My windowsill is now in active use chitting my early potatoes. Use the brightest window you have available. Try to protect the tubers from too much heat from any radiators.
Bare Root Planting Season
Another worthwhile job outdoors on the plot if the ground isn’t too wet, is to dig a runner bean trench. The trench is made up of rotted compost and leaf mould from a previous year. The well-rotted matter is added to the trench and eventually covered up with soil. The idea is the trench will retain moisture around the roots of these thirsty plants.
Still thinking of climbing beans, it can be quite good fun making wigwams at this time of year. It is easy to sink the canes in damp ground that isn’t frozen or waterlogged. As ever it best to keep off soil that is in that condition.
When the soil isn’t fit to work on there is always plenty above ground jobs. It worth checking all your fruit trees and fruit bushes for any diseased or damaged wood. These should be removed using a sharp pair of secateurs.
What to Harvest in February
Happily, there are still plentiful supplies of produce to harvest this month on the allotment. Brussels Sprouts, winter cabbage, kale, leeks, Jerusalem artichokes, parsnips and swede are all in season.
We hope you have enjoyed our February top allotment tips and make sure you come back for more in March. If you missed last month’s, you can browse it here.
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