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This entry taken from the June Dalgety Bay Diary.

Gardening Jobs Ė February

Take the good days when they come along to spend time outside in the garden. If the ground isnít too frozen or waterlogged, you can dig the soil over, or turn any compost that you have. Tidy up any debris that may have been blown down by winter winds. This is a good time to get your garden ready for the busy springtime ahead. Get organized and buy all the seeds and compost that you are going to need. You can also begin planting seeds inside and chitting potatoes.

The Vegetable Patch in February

Harvest root vegetables
Parsnip, turnip, swede and jerusalem artichoke can all be lifted. Start lifting before they start into new growth which will make the roots flabby. Scorzonera, salsify and celeriac will also be ready.

Harvest other winter vegetables
Kale, purple sprouting broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, spinach and chard can all be picked and are a welcome addition to the dinner table.

Sprout some seeds on your windowsill
Most things grow tasty shoots. Try beetroot, peas, broccoli as well as the usual cress, alfalfa, mustard and clover. In fact, you can sprout seeds of almost anything.

Cover soil with black polythene or cloches
For early crops, warm and dry out the soil by covering with cloches or sheets of black plastic.

Sow early crops in the greenhouse or on a light windowsill
You can get started with broad beans, early cabbages, leeks, onions, peas, radish, spinach and turnip.
Sow greenhouse crops
Seeds that will be grown in the greenhouse can be started now. Sow chillies, tomatoes, aubergines, peppers, cucumber and melons and keep them warm inside or in a heated propagator. These all benefit from an early start.

Cover your brassicas with netting
If pigeons are a problem in your area, then cover any purple sprouting broccoli, kale and other brassicas with netting or fleece. Pigeons do like the green leaves and they will quickly and easily strip your plants.

Chit potatoes
Place your seed potatoes in egg boxes in a cool, dry, light place to help them chit. This can help give them an early start.

Finish digging
If the soil is not too hard or waterlogged then finish digging it over and incorporating compost and manure. If the soil is very dry, then rake it over to get a fine tilth for seedbeds.

Look out for volunteer potatoes
Remove any potatoes that were missed last season and have begun sprouting. They could spread disease and blight and you donít want them growing amongst your other crops.

The Fruit Garden in February

Force rhubarb
Forcing rhubarb under forcing pots or an upturned bucket produces beautiful tender stalks. Just choose one or two crowns to force as it takes a couple of years for the rhubarb to recover.

Plant fruit trees, bushes and canes
You can still plant fruit trees, fruit bushes and raspberry canes if the soil is not too hard. Donít leave it too much later as they should all be planted whilst the plants are still dormant.
Prune blackcurrant, blueberry and gooseberry bushes
These can all be pruned during the winter before new growth starts.

Cut down raspberry canes
If you havenít done so already, cut all autumn fruiting raspberry canes to 3cm (1in) above soil level. Cut down all summer fruiting canes that fruited last year.

Check fruit cage netting
Go over all netting and mend any holes that have appeared.

Tidy your strawberry plants and beds
Get your strawberry bed ready for the coming season. Remove dead leaves and old runners and clear away any debris and slugs that are hiding.

Other Gardening Jobs in February

Clean your greenhouse
If you havenít done so already, give your greenhouse a thorough clean and check over for damage ready for the season ahead.

Buy seeds and compost
Stock up on any seeds and gardening supplies before the busy spring period.

Donít forget the birds
It is still very cold out there, and this is when food begins to get scarce. Put out wild bird food and fresh water to help our feathered friends.

Michael Gourlay Chairman

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