Jobs Ahead in February and March

In the Garden
If snow falls, shake it off conifers and evergreen shrubs to prevent branches bending and snapping under the weight.

Firm back down any plant roots that have been heaved out of the ground by frost or winter winds.

Soil can be improved by spreading well-rotted manure or garden compost around beds and borders.

In the Borders
Late February is a good time to get out the pruning secateurs to prune back winter heathers, winter jasmine and mahonia after they have finished flowering.

Wisteria side shoots can be cut back to just three buds from the main stem to encourage flowering and it is also a good time to prune floribunda and hybrid tea roses.

To promote vigorous new growth on dogwoods cut them down to the base. 

Make new plants for free by dividing congested perennials into new clumps.

In the Veg Beds
Begin chitting first early potatoes on your windowsill in eggboxes.

If the ground is not frozen, veg beds can be prepared by removing weeds and adding a layer of compost or well rotted manure.

By the end of March, the soil should be warm enough to plant out onion sets.

In the Fruit Cage
It is not too late to plant bare-root fruit bushes, trees and canes into prepared soil.

Be sure to remove last year’s dead growth from around strawberry plants as the new growth will already be apparent. 

In the Greenhouse
Sweet peas can be sown in deep pots in the greenhouse or on a sunny windowsill. If you made autumn sowings, start to encourage side shoots to form by pinching out the tops.

Check the back of seed packets for summer annuals which can be sown from March including nasturtiums, cosmos, antirrhinums and lobelias.

Tender crops like chillies and tomatoes can be sown if kept under glass, on a sunny windowsill or in a heated propagator.

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