Growers Corner: Late Winter

Frosty Allotment. Credit: Chris Murphy

Published: 31 Jan 2022

It may be consistently cold and wet out but there’s always something to do. We check in with head grower at our showcase allotment gardens, Chris Murphy, to find out some of his top tips of what to do.

You say potato: February is the month to order seed potatoes. Potatoes are grown from ‘seed’ potatoes and whilst they may look exactly like a potato you might get from the supermarket don’t be tempted to plant those. Real seed potatoes, those that have been specially grown and are both true to type and virus free, will ensure healthy plants and a good harvest. 

Perfect planning: This is the perfect time to be finalising planting plans for the coming season. I start by taking stock of what seeds I have in and what I need to order. Think about successional planting to have a steady supply of things like lettuces and beets throughout the year. 

Time for a trim: Finish running you fruit bushes and trees before new buds start to show. Start by removing any dead, damaged, diseased or dying branches. Try to ensure good airflow between branches by removing some if over-crowded, this will help improve pollination and fruit ripening later in the season. 

Don’t tidy up too soon: It’s great to use this time of year to have a good tidy up in the garden and prepare your space for the coming season, but beware that many butterflies, bees and other pollinators may be over-wintering in leaf piles and hollow stems. Designate some areas to be left as-is until the temperature is consistently above 10 degrees. 

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