Your gardening calendar: Top tasks for February!
Our monthly calendar guides focus on what we do: Wildflowers, edible crops and wildlife. Here, we'll take you step-by-step through the most important sowing, growing and nature-friendly tasks for February.
Sowing and growing wildflowers
Make room for bee-friendly borders
Wildflower seeds - both mixes and individual species - can generally be sown as early as March. With less than a month to go, it's time to make sure you've left plenty of space to fit them in.
Why not dedicate one border of your garden to a wildflower mini-meadow?
And make sure you squeeze some wildflowers in and around your allotment or veg patch, too. Attracting pollinating insects could make all the difference when it comes to growing successful crops of strawberries, gooseberries, beans, squash, cucumbers, courgettes and many more fruit and veg.
Sowing and growing fruit, vegetables and herbs
Start growing your tomatoes, radishes and rocket indoors
It may be cold and even snowy outside - but you can start growing your tomatoes, rocket and radishes right now!
They can all be sown indoors from mid-February onwards, on a sunny windowsill or in a greenhouse.
And in the right containers, tomatoes, radish and rocket can actually be grown completely indoors, until you're ready to harvest them.
Start sowing your windowsill herbs
For folk without gardens or greenhouses, herbs are a great grow-your-own starting point. Lots of herb varieties, including basil and peppermint, are simple to grow indoors from February onwards and thrive in relatively small pots.
Get your vegetable beds in tip-top shape
You'll be sowing lots of veg seeds directly into the ground during March - so now's the time to get the soil dug over and prepared.
If you don't have fertile ground to plant directly into, try making a small raised bed using a secondhand wooden pallet collar. Add some topsoil and off you go!
You can create a deeper bed by stacking two or more collars on top of each other.
Finally, it's time to chit your seed potatoes if you haven't already. You can find out all about how to do that in our January calendar guide.
Top tips to help wildlife
While weather remains cold during February, it's important you continue any regular bird feeding and provide your local wildlife with clean, unfrozen water.
Make a wildlife pond
Once the ground has thawed and is workable, February is a great time to create a wildlife pond in your garden. This will give it enough time to settle and hopefully be populated by native flora and fauna when spring comes.
Building a good pond is one of the single most important steps you can take to support your local nature.
It will provide a home and feeding ground for so many different creatures, from invertebrates like pond-skaters, water boatmen and dragonflies to amphibians like frogs, newts and toads.
Your garden birds can also use the pond to drink and bathe.
This RSPB guide goes into lots of detail about the animals your pond might help.
You'll need to make sure any pond has deeper and shallower areas, and it's really important it has an easy escape route for any non-aquatic animals (like hedgehogs) that fall in.
Some folk add escape 'ladders' or planks to help with this - but we think the safest thing is to construct a pond with a very gentle slope out of the water on one side, so that any animal can simply walk out.
This great how-to guide from the Wildlife Trusts takes you step-by-step through the process of creating a pond that is perfect for wildlife.