Introduction to Allotmenting – Sunday 16 February

Introduction to allotmenting

On Sunday 16th February we are holding a session to help all our new members who want some help with getting started on their allotment.

It will also be of help to those who are looking for advice and help on low maintenance allotmenting or would like to share ideas with fellow plotholders.

Join us in the Tom Douglas Clubhouse at 2pm on Sunday 16th February.


What to grow in March

In the greenhouse / indoors

Begin chitting (sprouting) seed potatoes for planting out in April when the risk of frost has reduced.

Sow aubergine seeds in the propagator – they have a long growing season.

Sow chilli peppers, sweet peppers, cucumbers, gherkins and tomato seeds indoors for greenhouse growing. your tomato seeds will usually germinate within 5 to 10 days. Best to keep temperature range 21ºC to 27ºC or 70F to 80F

Start basil seeds to grow on your kitchen windowsill, or for planting out after the risk of frost.

Sow perennial herbs such as lemon balm, rosemary, sage, oregano and thyme under cover. Sow salad leaves in pots and place on the windowsill or in the greenhouse.

Sow Brussels sprouts, cauliflowers, celeriac and purple flowering broccoli under cover – they have a long growing season.

Start sowing winter brassicas such as cabbage in seed trays in a cold greenhouse.

Sow celery indoors from the middle of the month onwards.

Sow early broad bean and early peas, in seed trays of compost. Just push the seeds into the compost and keep watered; you can transplant them later once they’ve germinated.

In the cold frame/ under cloches

Sow lettuce in module trays under glass for transplanting into the garden later. Alternatively sow lettuce outside under cloches.

Direct sow carrots, parsnips, chicory and radishes under cloches.

Direct sow outdoors beetroot, broad beans for summer crop. If mice are a problem, sow into modules for transplanting later on.

Sow herbs, such as chives, coriander, dill and parsley, directly into the ground or in containers.

Direct sow summer and autumn cabbages, calabrese, kale, kohlrabi, turnip and leeks into well-prepared beds outdoors.

Start sowing spinach outdoors in soil enriched with plenty of organic matter.

Sow spring-onion seeds in drills outdoors for a quick crop to add to salads and stir fries.

Swiss chard can be sown outdoors for a colourful crop – they even look great in flower beds!

Plant outdoors

Plant Jerusalem artichoke tubers as soon as the soil is workable, at a depth of 10-15cm.

As long as the soil isn’t frozen or waterlogged, you can plant onion sets, garlic sets and shallots now for a crop this summer.

Towards the end of the month you can start planting out chitted early potatoes in the ground later in the month. If you don’t have enough space for growing potatoes on your plot, try a potato-growing kit for your patio.

Asparagus crowns can be planted into permanent beds. Dig a trench about 20-25cm deep and 30cm wide. Carefully place the crowns 45cm apart and ensure the emerging buds are just below soil level.

Rhubarb crowns can be planted into rich fertile soil – there is probably somebody on site who has a rhubarb plant they want to divide, it’s worth asking around.

Strawberry plants can be planted in the ground, or in hanging baskets.

It’s still not to late to plant fruit trees such as apple, pear, cherry and plum trees.

What to plant in February

The days are getting (slightly) longer and it’s time to start sowing seeds for this years harvest.

Good to grow now are:

Chitting early varieties of seed potatoes can start towards the end of the month. Place seed potatoes in a light, cool but frost-free place at about 10C. It helps to produce earlier and slightly larger crops of the earlier spring varieties of potato.

In the greenhouse/indoors you can start sowing

Peas in upcycled guttering with drainage holes drilled in the bottom.

Cucumber, tomato, chilli and sweet peppers as well as aubergine seeds for indoor crops in the summer.

Summer cabbage and cauliflowers, spinach, leeks, hardy peas, salad onions, celeriac, celery, carrots and turnips can be sown indoors for early crops.

Basil can also be grown on a windowsill.

In coldframes/cloches you can sow:

Sow beetroot under cover.

Sow early carrot varieties, such as ‘Nantes 2’, under cloches or in greenhouse borders.

Grow chicory under cloches, for early summer harvesting.

Sow radish seeds now under cloches or in greenhouse borders.

Grow some salad leaves, lettuce or spinach indoors or under cloches for a tasty and nutritious start to the growing season.

Sow seeds of spring onions under cloches, in greenhouse borders or in cold frames. ‘Ishikura’ and ‘Summer Isle’ are good early varieties.

Broad beans can be planted in pots in mild areas, placing them in a cold frame or unheated greenhouse.

Direct sow outdoors

Jerusalem artichoke tubers.

You can still plant bare-root fruit trees and fruit bushes, as long as the soil isn’t frozen.

Plant bare-root strawberry plants outside now. Replace plants that are 3 years old or more, as they will have lost much of their vigour.

 Plant stone fruit trees such as apricots, peaches and nectarines.

Plant rhubarb crowns in a sunny position in well drained soil.

February is also a good time to prune apples, pears, quinces, medlars, currants and gooseberries as well as autumn raspberries.