Allotment jobs for February

With spring around the corner, February is the ideal time to prepare your allotment for some of the earliest outdoor sowings in March. There are also tasty harvests of winter salads like mizuna, rocket and kale to be had.

As well as the jobs listed below, there are plenty of indoor sowings you can start now, before transferring to the allotment later in the year. This includes sowing tomatoes, globe artichokes and sprouting broccoli in a propagator, while Brussels sprouts, leeks, onions and spinach can all be sown under cover.

Discover seven allotment jobs for February, below.

1.Harvest the last kale leaves
Kale leaves are delicious and nutritious, and whichever type you’re growing, from the purple ‘Redbor’ to the Italian ‘Cavolo Nero’, all are winter-hardy. In February, new side shoots appear which can be cropped for a few weeks before the plant runs to seed.

2.Pick mizuna and sow more
Mizuna, rocket and winter lettuce plants sown last autumn should now be ready to harvest, providing fresh green leaves for meals. Don’t worry if you haven’t grown any of these, as you can sow all three in the greenhouse in February where they’ll respond well to conditions of low light and cool weather.

3.Prepare beds for sowing
Preparing beds before sowing begins in spring is one of the most important February allotment jobs. In doing so, you’ll help to aerate, drain and warm the soil. When digging over, be sure to incorporate plenty of homemade compost or composted manure. Alternatively, give beds a dressing of organic matter, then cover in plastic for a few weeks to reduce weeds and warm the soil.

4.Clean and set up cloches
Now’s the time to get cloches ready to warm the soil for early sowings, and provide protection for seedlings and young plants. Clean the sides with a scourer and warm soapy water, before rinsing off. For early crops, prepare and rake level the soil, before putting the cloche in place a few weeks before sowing.

5.Plant rhubarb
For tasty harvests of rhubarb, choose a bright, open position and prepare the soil by digging deeply and incorprating plenty of rich, homemade compost. Plant the crowns so that the buds are level with the soil surface, so make sure your the hole is big enough to allow this. Firm in and water well. Let plants establish for two years before harvesting.

6.Prune autumn raspberries
By pruning away the old canes of autumn-fruiting raspberries now, you’ll give the new shoots plenty of time to grow and strengthen, to hold the fruit crop. Prune old canes hard back to the ground, to avoid damaging the new shoots that’ll emerge between them. You can also plant new canes now.

7.Sow broad beans undercover
Broad beans are easy to sow under cover, and will provide a rewarding harvest in late spring. Sow indoors now in deep pots or modules, before placing in a cool, frost-free location, such as an unheated greenhouse or cold frame.

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