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Each month, receive tips on the top jobs needed in your garden as well as a wealth of information on a range of gardening topics. From sowing seeds to picking fruit, each month get access to information on the care and maintenance of your flowerbeds, vegetable plot and lawn. As with your own gardening diary, the journal is split into separate sections, each covering a different area of garden care.

Wednesday 1 February 2017

This Month in your Garden - February

"Why, what's the matter, that you have such a February face, so full of frost, of storm and cloudiness?" 

-  William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

We’ve had our fair share of frosty mornings and hard ground in January so perhaps it’s time to
welcome a little drama in our February garden. There’s another saying along the lines that no two gardens are the same and no two days in one garden are the same. So here we’ll merely suggest what you might be getting on with in your February garden, whatever the weather.

The Lawn Care Guide - February

All dressed up and ready to go

Probably the smoothest ‘lawns’ you’ll ever see are bowling greens and it’s interesting to note they date back hundreds of years, the oldest recorded being before A.D.1299. Whilst it would be  nice to think we can achieve the perfect lawn the average garden is not conducive to creating bowling green standards and anyway, the type of grass would not take the kind of punishment we dish out on our garden lawns.

We can, however, follow the lead of the professionals to achieve a very pleasing effect by caring for the grass in similar ways as they do. During February the grass will start into more vigorous growth and the tell-tale signs of sponginess and moss indicate the need to aerate and, when weather conditions permit, scarify. If it’s wet then hold off until March (usually March to November would be the time to aerate with a machine or aerator towed by the garden tractor).

Lawn Care: Questions and Answers

Q. A question that pops up every year is: How do I deal with worm casts and can I get rid of the worms?

The Vegetable Plot - February

Don’t forget to make the bed

The likelihood of late frosts that break down soil into a workable tilth, especially a heavy clay soil,
make this a good time to finish off any deep digging. If you’re on sandy loam then you’re spared the digging and just need to lightly fork over the vegetable plot, removing any weeds or vegetable residue. If you wish you can cover areas with cloches or polythene to help warm up the soil ready for early sowings of carrots, radishes, lettuce and summer cabbage at the end of the month. Shallots can be planted, making sure they are deeply seated so the birds can’t pull them out before they root.

The Big Glut Recipe - February

Leek gratin with Gruyere

A dish to serve six with a seasonal slant, appropriately from House & Garden.

  • 4 leeks
  • 20g (¾oz) butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 200ml (3½fl oz) chicken or vegetable stock
  • 200ml (3½fl oz) double cream
  • 125g (4½oz) grated Gruy√©re
  • Herbs to taste – thyme or rosemary

Lawn Care: Questions and Answers

Q. What can I do to get rid of ants in the lawn? Counted over 50 ant hills last year on small lawns front and back - about 150 sq mtrs max. I have tried the normal powders and sprays and also drilled down into the hill before applying powder but no luck. Is there anything on the market that will completely eradicate the problem?

Lawn Care: Questions and Answers

Q. Is winter the right time to core aerate my lawn? I have had a company looking after the lawn as it's quite large and there are quite a few trees around, moss was a big problem. They came yesterday and core-aerated it at a daft cost...and I notice none of the other neighbours had this process done ( those that use this company that is) and I just want to make sure they are not pulling the wool over my eyes ( they know I'm widowed..). I appreciate every garden is different, in it's needs and issues, but just a general idea of when these processes should be done, would be helpful.