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Monday 6 February 2023

The Vegetable Plot – February

There’s no place like loam

If your soil is sandy loam, you will be spared any deep digging in the vegetable plot. It will just need a good forking over and added compost after the frosts have broken it down. Remove weeds and residue of old crops in readiness for planting out and sowing. Heavy clay soil will need plenty of humus added when you give it a good dig over.

You can plant artichokes, garlic, winter lettuce, early potatoes, rhubarb and seakale when conditions allow. Plant Jerusalem artichokes 1 metre/3 feet away from other vegetables as they grow very tall. This month you can be starting off Brussels sprouts, cabbages, onions, leeks, parsnips, peas, cauliflowers, parsnips, spinach, radishes, turnips and tomatoes. 

If you have wintered cauliflowers and lettuces under cloches, you can start hardening them off on warmer days. Now is the time to net fruit and vegetable plants to keep the birds off. Take care to protect the blossoms on apricots, peaches and nectarines. Finish pruning quince, plums and damsons and make a new bed for strawberries if you fancy a good crop of summer fruit to lavish with cream.  

  • Sparingly sow parsnips outdoors if conditions allow
  • Deeply seat shallots when planting to stop birds pulling them out before they root
  • Make successional sowings of broad beans and peas under fleece
  • Under glass, sow celery, celeriac, cucumber, aubergines, tomatoes and peppers
  • Cover areas with cloches or polythene to warm the soil for sowing
  • Sow lettuce, carrots, radishes and summer cabbage at the end of the month

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