Why February is a berry exciting time

Strawberry plants starting to stir.
Strawberry plants starting to stir.

This is an exciting time for gardeners. The retail outlets are stocking up with plant materials we will buy and grow on to maturity and several spring bulbs are already flowering outdoors.

So whatever happens to the weather between now and Easter weekend, I’ll not let it rain on my parade.

The mantra we followed as Scouts in days of yore still holds true – be prepared.

Covers are in place over the rhubarb crowns which only need the slightest encouragement to start shooting.

In the absence of custom-made terracotta pots, which look brilliant but cost a fortune, we use the large clay type, whose weight is a distinct advantage when the wind whistles through the garden - they’re just as effective.

With a couple of arms-full of straw from the horse’s bedding thrown in to increase warmth, there is every reason to be confident of a quick response in growth.

Strawberry plants potted up from the garden recently and lined out on the cold greenhouse staging, are stirring into growth.

They are looking good for early fruit production but need watching for greenfly when grown under cover.

We found a developing colony of this pest recently on the soft orange tree shoots but a soapy wash soon took care of it.

For these and similar plants, it pays to have a small plastic hand sprayer on standby.

So whatever happens to the weather between now and Easter weekend, I’ll not let it rain on my parade.

The mantra we followed as Scouts in days of yore still holds true – be prepared.

Covers are in place over the rhubarb crowns which only need the slightest encouragement to start shooting.

In the absence of custom-made terracotta pots, which look brilliant but cost a fortune, we use the large clay type, whose weight is a distinct advantage when the wind whistles through the garden - they’re just as effective.

With a couple of arms-full of straw from the horse’s bedding thrown in to increase warmth, there is every reason to be confident of a quick response in growth.

Strawberry plants potted up from the garden recently and lined out on the cold greenhouse staging, are stirring into growth.

They are looking good for early fruit production but need watching for greenfly when grown under cover.

We found a developing colony of this pest recently on the soft orange tree shoots but a soapy wash soon took care of it.

For these and similar plants, it pays to have a small plastic hand sprayer on standby.