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Garden Ideas for February


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Looking for ideas for what to do in the garden in February? Well, look no further as we have compiled a list of garden jobs to keep you busy throughout the month.

How to Prune


The first rule of pruning is to remove the four Ds. Dead, Dying, Diseased and Damaged. This is best done in winter when you can see the problem. Aftr that prune for reversion and tidying.

The difficulty rating for this garden job is 2 out of 5 and you will need: Secateurs, Pruning Saw, Gloves

Step One:

For larger branches, remove any obvious dead, diseased or damaged wood, cutting back to live wood using a clean saw.

Step 1 of 4How to Prune

Step Two:

Smaller shoots can be cut using clean secatuers cutting back just above an outward facing bud.

Step 2 of 4How to Prune

Step Three:

A green shoot on a varigated shrub needs removing at its base. This is known as reversion and any all green shoots are stonger and eventually take over, changing the look of the plant.

Step 3 of 4How to Prune

Step Four:

Remove old flower heads from plants like lavendar in spring to allow room for new growth.

Step 4 of 4How to Prune

How to pH Test Soil


It is important to know the pH of your soil before you plant. Some plants prefer more acidic soil (lower pH) and some plants prefer alkaline (higher pH). Home testing kits are readily available and are easy to use.

The difficulty rating for this garden job is 2 out of 5 and you will need: pH Testing Kit

Step One:

Take a sample of soil from 10cm below ground level in the area you wish to plant and place it, with the indicator chemical, in the testing tube.

Step 1 of 4How to pH Test Soil

Step Two:

Add the required amount of de-ionised water to the tube to make a solution.

Step 2 of 4How to pH Test Soil

Step Three:

Seal the top of the tube and shake the contents well for several minutes. Then stand upright and allow the mixture to settle for at least 30 minutes.

Step 3 of 4How to pH Test Soil

Step Four:

Once the mixture has settled check the colour against the pH chart. The red end of the spectrum is acidic, green is neutral and blue to purple is alkaline.

Step 4 of 4How to pH Test Soil

How to Chit Potatoes


Chitting is the practice of encouraging potatoes to start to shoot before you plant them. It makes it easier to pick good potatoes to plant and helps them get off to a rapid start. Buying seed potatoes each year is preferable to saving your own, as you always have fresh, clean stock.

The difficulty rating for this garden job is 2 out of 5 and you will need: Seed Potatoes, Seed Tray, Egg Box

Step One:

Use fresh, healthy tubers each year and discard any that show signs of rot or damage.

Step 1 of 4How to Chit Potatoes

Step Two:

Each of these 'eyes' will grow into a stem that will feed the root system and encourage lots of delicious potatoes.

Step 2 of 4How to Chit Potatoes

Step Three:

Put the potatoes in a seed tray or egg box to chit, with the end showing the most eyes uppermost.

Step 3 of 4How to Chit Potatoes

Step Four:

Place them in a cool, frost-free, well-lit spot to let the eyes develop. Once they are around 1cm long, the potatoes are ready to be planted out. Keep them the same way up as you plant and they will soon start to grow.

Step 4 of 4How to Chit Potatoes

How to Force Lily-of-the-Valley


Lily-of-the-Valley is not the first plant you think of for forcing to have the flowers indoors, but it is ideal for a cool, well-lit spot out of direct sun and the fragrance is wonderful.

The difficulty rating for this garden job is 3 out of 5 and you will need: Lily-of-the-Valley roots, Compost, Pots

Step One:

When you purchase a pack of lily-of-the-valley, you should get several roots that are either dormant or just coming into growth. Separate them to see how many you have.

Step 1 of 4How to Force Lily-of-the-Valley

Step Two:

Trim the roots to make them easier to pot, cutting them to about 5cm with clean, sharp secateurs.

Step 2 of 4How to Force Lily-of-the-Valley

Step Three:

Pot individually, or together in a larger pot, using fresh, sterile multipurpose compost. The tip of the shoot should be just above the compost. Water and allow to drain.

Step 3 of 4How to Force Lily-of-the-Valley

Step Four:

Stand in a cool, well-lit spot out of direct sun, as they are edge of woodland plants. Keep the compost moist, but not wet. After flowering, you can plant them out in the garden in a shaded area, where they will flower for years to come.

Step 4 of 4How to Force Lily-of-the-Valley

How to: Maintenance Pruning


On ornamental plants (not fruit) there are a few basic reasons why you should prune, best remembered as the 4 Ds: Dead, Dying, Damaged and Diseased. Next, remove crossing or rubbing branches, any that have reverted to green and for shape.

The difficulty rating for this garden job is 2 out of 5 and you will need: Secateurs, pruning saw

Step One:

Dead wood is easiest to see and remove in summer. Cut back to healthy, pale-coloured wood.

Step 1 of 4How to: Maintenance Pruning

Step Two:

Die-back is common after early pruning where a rogue frost can catch you out. Cut back to just above a healthy bud.

Step 2 of 4How to: Maintenance Pruning

Step Three:

Larger dead stems should be removed with a pruning saw, working very carefully so you do not damage nearby shoots.

Step 3 of 4How to: Maintenance Pruning

Step Four:

Green shoots on a variegated plant should be removed, as they contain more chlorophyll and are stronger. If left, they will take over and you will lose the variegation.

Step 4 of 4How to: Maintenance Pruning

We hope these projects have given you a few ideas and a bit of inspiration for what to do in your garden this month.

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