Eight February gardening jobs you can’t put off

Heligan Gardens, Cornwall

Before too long, you’ll be as green-fingered as the Cornish gardener who created this Robin Williams lookalike.

The snow is melting. The barbecue is looking at you, saying “please don’t replace me, I’m good for one more year.” The sun might not have his hat on, but he’s starting to think about getting out of bed and having a shower. And with the impending summer are some early spring gardening jobs that you just can’t put off any longer. Here are our top eight:

1. Sort your lawn

If you’re thinking about planting a new lawn, you’ll need to prepare the ground now. Dig through that soil and remove any weeds. If your existing lawn is all fine and dandy, you’ll still need to clear it – remove any dead leaves and detritus that may have covered your prize turf before it gets damp and yellow. It’s also the perfect time to scarify it. That doesn’t mean jumping out on your lawn and waving your arms. It’s a special way of cutting the grass to encourage growth. This special lawn seed from Crocus will grow in even the toughest spots – it’s a snip at £9.99 and 5% goes to your charity.

2. Prune your vines

If you’re anything like me, spring crept up last year and made your grape vine ten times as large as it should be. Make sure the same thing doesn’t happen in 2013 and prune and twine that vine while it’s still dormant. You should also prune any other conservatory climbers, wisteria, evergreen hedges, and any winter-flowering shrubs that have now finished flowering. These handy pocket secateurs from Blooming Direct are a snip at just £10.95, and are available from Blooming Direct. 5% goes to your charity.

3. Take cuttings

Now’s the time to take cuttings if you’d like more of those shrubs and perennials. This rooting gel from Amazon might help, at £4.67. Amazon donate 1% to your charity or cause.

4. Clear the pond

All sorts of unsightly and messy things will have happened to your pond over the winter. Take out all those leaves and twigs, before they start decomposing into things your fish really won’t want to share a pond with. Using this £12.99 (4% to your cause) net from UK Water Features, your pond will be clean in no time. This pond cover net at £21.50 from Spalding Plant & Bulb co. will prevent the problem happening again, and comes with a nice 6% donation to your cause.

5. Get planting

Winter is beginning to lose his icy grip on proceedings. Sure, there’s still a nip in the air, but the soil’s retaining some heat. So you can plant out azaleas, camellias, conifers and shrubs, roses, rhododendrons and trees. You can also prepare vegetable seed beds, and sow some vegetables under cover. Broad beans and onions from seed ought to do well at this time. Last year was a pretty ghastly one for the allotment gardener, so here’s to hoping those vegetables do better this year. This selection of summer vegetable seeds from Garden Bargains can be yours for £4.99, with a 5% donation to your cause.

6. Chit your tatties

Yes, it’s time to chit those potatoes. “What’s a chit,” I hear you ask, “and why should I give one?” It just means putting your seed potatoes in a frost-free place with a little (but not direct) light (a north-facing shed window would be ideal, as long as it’s frost-free) so they can begin to grow some stubby roots. You can also rub off all but three shoots so you get fewer, but larger, potatoes, rather than something resembling a bag of marbles when you come to dig them up.

7. Get your bulbs “in the green”

Divide bulbs like snowdrops, and if you’re planting bulbs out in the garden after they’ve been pot-grown (also known as planting “in the green”), these will need to go out too. Make sure you plant them in a hole wide and deep enough for the roots to spread.

8. Protect your blossom

Stone fruit, like the glorious cherry, will be the first to bloom. Make sure you protect likely candidates like peaches, apricots and nectarines that need any help to keep the frost at bay. You can do this by using soft fleece to cover the trees overnight.

Thompson & Morgan’s spring sale is now on, with offers including £50 worth of plants for just £10, including a 60p donation to your cause. Click here to see all offers.

Gardening jobs for February

Those were our top eight gardening jobs for February, from getting your lawn in order to protecting blossom form the frost. If there’s something you do in the garden every February which you think we all need to be doing, please let us know in the comments below. You can view all participating Home and Garden stores on the Give as you Live website.