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“February fill dyke” is an old country saying which speaks volumes for the weather we can expect. The temperature will greatly influence your gardening activities. Now is the time to walk around the garden checking the condition of your plants. Dead head winter bedding plants and tidy up leaves and debris as you go.

As soon as you see weed seeds germinating you will know that the soil is warming up so you can make a start sowing hardy seeds outside. Don’t plant all the seeds in the packet at once as a cold snap will easily catch you out, be ready with the frost fleece to protect your seedlings and if the worst comes to the worst you will have more seeds left for another go. The vegetable gardeners among you may have leeks still to harvest, if frost is forecast you can dig them up and heel them in to make it easier to get them. If you have parsnips, turnips or swedes still to harvest be ready to cover with fleece in a cold snap.

Things to do during February

  • Prune autumn fruiting raspberries and established blackcurrants, also prune apple and pear trees and other fruit bushes.
  • Keep vegetable and ornamental beds clear of weeds.
  • Onion/shallot sets can be planted out now.
  • Broad beans, carrots and parsnips can be planted under cloches.
  • Cut back overgrown shrubs and feed with Bonemeal.
  • Annual flower seeds (Alyssum, Busy Lizzies and Petunias for example) can be sown under glass.
  • Take hard wood cuttings of shrubs.
  • Spruce up your containers with a top dressing of the appropriate compost.
  • Dig farm manure into beds and borders.
  • Clean patios, decking and paths of any algae etc.
  • If you have a greenhouse check that the glass is secure and replace any damaged panes. Clean it out ready for use.
  • If you have pots and seed trays to be re-used give them a thorough clean and sterilise them.
  • To get the soil warming up a little early cover with black plastic sheeting, cloches or fleece.
  • Look out for early flowering plants such as Snowdrops, Cyclamen coum, and Hellebores.

Wildlife Gardening for February

  • Put up nest boxes for the birds
  • Don’t forget to keep your feeders topped up and put some food out for ground feeding birds.
  • Keep your bird bath topped up and clean.
  • Continue to put food out for hedgehogs.
  • If you haven’t already done so now is a good time to build a log/rock shelter for wildlife.

Plant of the Month


What to grow from seed during February

Flowering plants which can be sown indoors or in a heated propagator are –Antirrhinum, dianthus, geraniums, lobelia and sweet Peas

For an early start in the vegetable garden sow:

Indoors: Beetroot, brussels Sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, onions, chicory, cucumber (heated), early carrot, leeks, lettuce, mixed salad leaves, peas, radish, spinach, spring onions and sweet peppers (heated)

Outdoors: Broad beans and parsnips

We now have a ‘sow now seeds’ stand in store which will keep you up-to-date with what you can be sowing each month.

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The Garden CentreTo Visit in Essex

We have parking spaces for up to 450 cars and easy access both onto and off of the A127, which is the main dual-carriage way into Southend-on-Sea. The A127 is off Junction 29 of the M25 which is a 10 minute drive to our door. Plan your visit to Summerhill today. We can’t wait to see you.

Summerhill Garden Centre, Pipps Hill Road North, A127 Arterial Road, Billericay, Essex CM11 2UJ