Feature

February in the Garden

With the first day of spring upon us, yes I know time waits for no one, the first day of spring is which ever date you follow i.e 1st-3rd of February and is known by quite a few names such as Imbolc, Candlemas, Brigid day.
Which ever day you use it is the seasonal change when the first sign of spring and the return of the sun are noted, the sprouting of the Crocus flowers in other words it is the festival of the successful passing of winter and the beginning of the agricultural/ horticultural year.
 Again this year I’m growing plants together in large pots, one it uses up space which for me is at a premium and two I like experimenting in gardening, seeing what will grow well together plus you can place the pots in the sunniest part of your garden.
So what can you grow together well that’s up to you, one thing I’ve tried is growing tomatoes and basil together in a five litre pot, they are good companions any way and planted out when all signs of frost are over end of May time should give you good yields of both.
One tip while I remember about growing tomatoes is the best tasting toms I’ve ever had is when the plants are grown outside not in a greenhouse, in the garden soil or large pot for this we need a good summer, try it for yourself and plant one in a greenhouse and one outside and see what the differences are.
   One fruit I hope to try growing in pots this year are raspberries but for pot cultivation the raspberry has to be the autumn fruiting variety such as “Autumn Treasure” and/or “All Gold”.
These will fruit between august and october and are ideal for growing in containers as they don’t need supporting. They are great for beginner gardeners as the pruning is very simple.
Now then pruning raspberries, Primocanes and Floricanes don’t let these terms confuse you. Most autumn fruiting varieties are primocanes producing fruit in their first year of growth.
Summer fruiting varieties are usually floricane which have stems that grow for one year before bearing fruit and flowers so they require slightly different pruning techniques.
Autumn fruiting are the simplest to prune. In late winter prune all the canes to ground level before growth commences. The plant will fruit on new growth.
Summer fruiting produce fruit on one year old canes, in autumn cut all canes down to soil level that bore fruit during the summer, it may be worth marking the fruiting canes during the summer so you can distinguish between these and the new seasons canes (new seasons canes are green and lush, tie in six-eight of the strongest new canes and remove the rest.
The new canes should be spaced about four inches apart to allow each cane as much air and light as possible.
Until next time Good Gardening

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