What To Do In The Kitchen Garden In February

When I first started to grow vegetables I really needed the information to be in one place, so I could look it up easily. However, I found I had to search for lots of little bits of information, scattered between internet sites and books. It used to take me a long time to find the information I needed.

I thought it would be useful to have this information altogether in one place. So for the benefit of the UK gardeners, I write a list of things to be done each month and any useful information I can think of.

It is worth remembering that different parts of the UK have different weather conditions e.g. the last frost is expected earlier in the south than the north. Therefore, this is a general guide.

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February:

January has been a very wet month and it is said that if February starts with cloud and rain then winter is virtually over, especially if there is a westerly wind.  Though it is also said that if the wind is in the east at the beginning of the month then winter will be here for some weeks to come.

February can be one of the coldest months of the year, with afternoon temperatures not rising much above freezing.  Blustery winds can bring heavy snow fall too.   However in a milder February, afternoon temperatures can reach 10C in the Midlands.

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Vegetables and salads to harvest:

Brussels, kale, cabbages, parsnips, celeriac, leeks, cauliflowers, swedes, Jerusalem artichokes, hardy lettuces, corn salad, land cress and winter purslane, mizuna, chicory, endive and early sprouting broccoli.

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Vegetables and salads to sow:

Broad beans can be sown outside if the soil is not frozen or waterlogged.

Hardy peas can be planted outside in milder areas or undercover.

Onions can be grown from seed in modules, but they must have a minimum temperature of 10C.

Early varieties of Kohl rabi, brussel sprouts and sprouting broccoli can be sown this month indoors and Globe artichokes, rhubarb, lettuce and salad leaves, leeks, radish, coriander, parsley, basil, spinach and greenhouse tomatoes and cucumbers too.

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Things to plant (if the soil is not frozen or waterlogged):

Garlic can be planted outside.

Bare-rooted fruit trees and bushes can be planted.

Jerusalem artichokes can be dug up and re-planted and rhubarb sets can also be planted this month.

Shallots can be planted this month too (though I prefer to plant mine undercover in modules).

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Jobs to do:

Lift your remaining Jerusalem artichokes and dig in some compost or manure.  Replant them 10-15cm deep, 30-40cm apart.

Warm the soil where you will be soon planting crops e.g. broad beans or shallots, by covering with plastic or cardboard.

Continue to plant bare-rooted trees and fruit bushes.

Cut down autumn raspberries to just above ground level, as they produce fruit on new growth during the summer.

Give your compost heap a turn and water it if it is dry.

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Finish digging your plot over if it is not waterlogged or frozen, incorporating compost or manure if required.  If it is just a little bit wet, use a plank to stand on while you dig, to spread your weight evenly.

Don’t forget to feed the birds and top up water for them to drink.

Keep removing any yellow fallen leaves around your brassicas as these can harbor pests.

Order any seeds for the coming year and plan this year’s crop rotation.

Weed and mulch around established fruit trees.

Continue to fill your runner bean trenches with old peelings.

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Check the fruit and vegetables that you have stored. Remember that one bad fruit or vegetable can destroy the whole crop if you don’t remove it quick enough.

Bullfinches love the newly forming buds, especially on gooseberries, apple, pears and plums. If you have had a problem in the past then nets are the only solution.

Continue to cover the white cauliflowers with their green leaves bended over them, to protect them from frost and light.

Finish pruning fruit trees and bushes (except cherries and plums) unless the weather has turned very cold.  They will start to come out of their dormancy in March.

Buy seed potatoes and ‘chit’ them by putting them in egg boxes or trays with their ‘eyes’ facing upwards.  Leave them in a cool, light room.

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Check all your tree stakes and fruit supports are stable and repair if necessary while plants are dormant.

‘Force’ rhubarb by covering the crown with an upside down dustbin.

Feed fruit bushes with a high potash feed or blood, fish and bone and then mulch.

If you grow apricots, peaches or nectarines in a sheltered, south facing spot, then they may start to blossom in February.  Cover them to protect them from rain and frost.  You may have to hand pollinated the flowers.

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February pests and diseases:

Mice and rats love to dig up and eat newly planted broad beans, early pea seeds and garlic.

Slugs can still be a problem even in February.

Pigeons are hungry and love eating brassicas so keep them netted.

Bull finches love the new buds on gooseberries, so net them early.

Check apple and pear trees for signs of canker and cut out any diseased wood.

Check for ‘big bud mite’ on blackcurrants.  The buds will actually look big and swollen if affected.

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I hope this information has been helpful.

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Thank you for reading my blog today.

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21 thoughts on “What To Do In The Kitchen Garden In February

  1. We are going to try Bordeaux mixture on our peach, nectarine and apricot this year to try and ward off peach leaf curl. I know one was is to cover the trees but if we can avoid that we would prefer to.

  2. Thank you for the february list of jobs, we are held back at the moment as everywhere saturated, we just need a couple of weeks of dry weather and i can get weeding.
    Sue

  3. We are nearly in Autumn here, and I have thrown my hands in the air. We have the air outside putrid with coal smoke from the bushfire that got into our open cut mine,
    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/herald-sun-photographer-jason-edwards-captures-images-of-the-fire-emergency-in-morwell/story-fnl2cq7o-1226822077323
    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/firefighters-falling-ill-at-coal-mine-fire-20140216-32u0r.html
    http://www.news.com.au/national/breaking-news/mine-smoke-hits-19-vic-firefighters/story-e6frfku9-1226829247880
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-02-17/air-quality-drops-as-27frustrating27-mine-fire-continues-to-b/5263628
    And on top of the air quality playing havoc with my asthma there is a fine dusty ash covering everything outside, and trying to cover inside too :/ Arghhh!! I’m thankful, though, that the fire didn’t come into town, though!!

    • Oh Mrs Yub, I hope you are all ok. We have been away and this is the first time I’ve logged into my blog and I feel terrible that I didn’t see your comment until now. How is your asthma now? The links you posted show how bad it is…how long do they expect it to burn and the air quality to be so bad?

  4. Thanks for your blog. Have had an allotment for 5 years and am amazed at how the grass grows .have declared war on it now . Found your list very helpful as was overwhelmed. Am going to try to have as little grass as possible as the less you have the less there will be. Have bought more black fabric and going to use cardboard and mulch etc.

    • Hi Gill and thank you for reading my blog…I am so glad you have found the list useful. We had a lot of grass around our fruit trees and bushes at our allotment and we used to mow it every week and it was really time consuming. I put woodchip around my fruit in the end and it made such a difference.

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