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Gardening Thoughts

Well, it’s February and still wet, wet, wet, with short days and cold, raw weather. So, what to do? The obvious answer: stay indoors and wait for everything to brighten up. Therefore, here endeth the gardening thoughts column for this issue of the Chronicle!

Well, it could end, but I suppose I can think of a few things to get on with, as next month things start to get going.

If you haven’t planted shallots, garlic and onion sets, get on with it as soon as you can in February. They need a good, long season.

Buy seed potatoes and set them in egg boxes with the end with most eyes (shoot buds) upwards and put them in a light, airy, frost free place to allow the shoots to develop. Don’t put them in the dark as then the shoots will get too long and break off easily.

For those with rhubarb, what about covering the clump with a bucket or dustbin to force the plant to produce tender, long, tasty stems in about six to eight weeks?

It’s now possible to sow early peas and broad beans, as long as the ground is not too wet. Runner beans need moisture retaining soil, so dig a trench about two spades deep and half fill it with compost, manure or kitchen peelings, cover it with the soil and don’t forget to mark where it is or you might have forgotten by the time you want to plant the beans!

Now is the time to cut Autumn fruiting raspberries down to ground level, and all soft fruit should be given a good feed, preferably with a high potash content to boost fruit production. Come to think of it, all fruit bushes and trees will benefit from an early Spring feed.

In the flower garden in February, weeding and other maintenance should be completed. Cut back the stems of perennial herbaceous plants and give everything a feed to get things away well.

February is also the time to start on the lawn. If the weather is mild and the grass is growing, give it a light trim, but don’t cut too low at this time of year because of the risk of frosts. Rake out the dead grass with a spring tine rake to give air and water a chance to get to the roots. You can also use a weedkiller now, as long as the weather is dry and mild, otherwise wait for another month. It’s now also a good time to get the mower serviced and sharpened before everyone thinks about it and you have to wait in the queue.

Well, I surprised myself - so much to do! It just goes to show – Spring is just around the corner, and the wholemerry-go-round starts again!

That’s all for now, folks. I hope you enjoyed it! Jeremy Burden

Torridge Reflections A memoir by Charles Inniss

Although primarily about the Torridge River and the Half Moon, the book also recalls the many village characters and visitors to the inn who have enriched Charles’s life, creating so much fun and laughter. It is factual, historical, and above all, anecdotal.

Any profit from the book sales will be given to fishery and local causes, such as the community shop and the Village Hall.

If you would like a copy of the book, please contact Charles on 231237. 13

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