February Highlights

As you might expect, February 2024 was pretty grey, pretty windy, pretty wet and a little cold. We had a couple of frosts here in Gloucestershire but nothing particularly severe or prolonged.

However we have a couple of those spring-like days that make you dash out and face up towards the sun. The blossom has started to appear on the blackthorn bushes and many other buds are starting to open or swell. Seeing the new spring growth is one of my favourite things and really boosts my mood.

Here are a couple of February updates for the garden:

The first really lovely day we had saw a red admiral butterfly feeding on the Daphne bush near my back door. I was really pleased that I had a source of early nectar available for any early-emerging invertebrates. Not only that but it’s evergreen, smells divine and is an attractive screen with winter interest- everyone should have one!

The potatoes I bought last month (see January Highlights blog post) are happily ‘chitting’ (sprouting) on the windowsill. I started the earlies and first earlies first, not being 100% of whether you’re meant to chit maincrop potatoes, but I put these out too a couple of weeks afterwards.


The garlic is really starting to put on height having been underground for most of the winter, as are the chives. My hop shoots are also poking out of the soil – this is their second year of growth so I am excited to be able to harvest some hop shoots to try. The first crocuses and primroses are starting to flower.

Wood pigeons have started to take notice of my cabbage plants. Some of the older plants which I’ve actually had growing over two years are ‘bolting’ (going to flower) which I’ll leave as the flowers are so bright and cheerful and a real magnet for beneficial insects. I’m hoping it might help bring some aphid predators into the garden ahead of the annual broad bean aphid attack. But back to those pigeons – I really don’t mind them pecking holes in some of the more robust or older plants but I think I will protect my perennial and other kale plant as they are still a little vulnerable. The young red cabbages have also been stripped. On the plus side it’s helped clear some space for other veg this spring and I did have too much cabbage for one household. Some of them may re-grow if I cut them at the stalk and I’ll give this a try with the red cabbages (this is the reason my other plants have lasted so long, with just leaves taken off as needed).

I held off until 11th February but have now sown some seeds of early varieties or long-season crops (peppers):

  • Peas (not sure of the variety as saved from a couple years ago)
  • Peppers (sweet/bell): Zitava (hopefully to dry for paprika), Nardello, D’asti giallo and some saved seed originally from one of those long red peppers you get at the supermarket. These have been my best producers in years past
  • Salad leaves: winter marvel lettuce; claytonia
  • Sweetpeas (Beaujolais (my favourite!), snoopea)
  • Broad bean (St Gorran, a few left from my Heritage Seed Library selections last year)
  • Field bean

As March progresses I hope to be very organised with my seed sowing for the year ahead, to maximise production and length of harvest, experiment with new varieties, try again with things that haven’t worked before (luffa) and keep on learning.


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