And the anticipation apexes! Be sure to check out Seedy Saturday events to chat with some like-minded folks, attend some workshops, gather some “seedy” information, pick up some seeds, and perhaps try something new this year. Try to resist starting seeds too early, as plants that stay indoors too long will become leggy and weak. Instead put your energy into finishing up cleaning and organizing for more efficiency in the season to come. February is a last chance to catch up on winter tasks before the spring rush begins.
- Harvest leeks, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas, beets, carrots, perpetual spinach, salsify, chicory, endive, celeriac, celery, sun chokes, early purple sprouting broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts, and chards can continue to be harvested.
- Empty old compost bins and dig into fallow or cover crop areas.
- Ensure the greenhouse is in good order. Replace cracked glass, and give it a thorough clean before it is pressed into service.
- Wash and sterilize pots and seed trays so this year’s seedlings will get off to the best possible start.
- Remove any volunteers from last year’s potato bed to avoid disease problems and blight.
- Broad beans can be sown.
- Force rhubarb for an early crop of the sweetest stalks. Cover a few crowns with upturned buckets or pots and insulate the outside with straw or compost. They will grow in the dark. This can exhaust the plants, so only do a few and then compost them.
- Chit potatoes. Put them in frost free place with indirect light and they will produce short strong shoots. Don’t forget to label them to avoid confusion when planting.
- There is still time to finish planting fruit trees and bushes, especially raspberries and other cane fruits.
- Think about planting some early bloomers. Mason bees will take kindly to this and return the favor by pollinating early fruit trees which bloom shortly after.
- You can direct sow an early crop of salad greens and radishes in-ground in the greenhouse. Make frequent sowings (every two weeks or so) of these.
- Start leeks, parsley, and sweet onions from seed in the greenhouse. You may need heating coils or a warmer space to germinate the onion seeds, as they need about 15 degrees.
- Early this month you can prune apple and pear trees only if they are still dormant.
- Prune gooseberries and currants.
- Deadhead winter pansies to encourage another bloom.
By: Kira DeSorcy