Author: Martin Blunn

February is the month hopefully were the weather changes and as a result is the time for pruning the tree fruits other than those soft fruit with stones. Cane fruit and bush fruit like raspberries, blackberries. Blackcurrants and redcurrants should also be pruned at the same time. If you are unsure on how to prune use resources like the royal horticultural society to determine based on the style you’ve selected and the age of the tree, cane or bush. General principle for bush fruits is to remove only roots that are very weak or are growing horizontally or downwards. For fruit trees again remove weak shoots, this can occur as a result of light or no pruning so it is finding the balance to promote the desired growth.

Now is also the time to start seeding tender plants from seed. Tomatoes, peppers, aubergines and melons can all benefit from a longer growing season. If you start the seed off at the end of February the plants can take full advantage of a hot May and June even if July and August are poor months. Also consider some new varieties of seeds for something you haven’t grown before. Without trial you will never know what may become a future favourite. Hopefully you have already procured your seeds otherwise some may be unavailable.

When sowing plant only as many as you need and only a few more much better to try and grow the right amount rather than waste resources in terms of time, effort and space on surplus plants. Pick varieties that you’ve grown before or suit your conditions and what you will most enjoy. Simple tip but remember read the packet when sowing as different seeds need different conditions to grow.

If the temperature permits now is the time to clean the greenhouse including glass or polytunnel plastic in preparation for the new season. It is amazing how much dingy everything gets after a year of growing. Also any of the other cleaning jobs you didn’t get round to should be done this month before the growing season starts. If you have potting benches or other benches where you grow these also need a good scrubbing down with warm soapy water. It not only gets rid of last year compost and debris but also kills off pests that may be trapped in crevices.

If you’ve managed to grow vegetables over the winter now is the time to harvest them. As discussed previously with all growing winter vegetables pick small amounts to allow the plant to continue to grow.