A big hello from the Poundstretcher garden! Allow me to introduce myself. The name’s Greenfinger, Gregory Greenfinger -Poundstretcher’s very own gardening expert, and I’m here to help you with all your gardening needs!
To make things easier, I’ll be running monthly blogs to help you find the best time to plant your favourite flowers, herbs, fruits and vegetables - and I’ll even throw in some ideas of how to use them in your kitchen too!
So if you’ve been bitten by the gardening bug and want to get passionate about planting, then take a look at my guide to growing in February!
Before you start planting any seeds, it’s very important to prepare the ground first. While most seeds can be planted outdoors, it’s key to note that if you’ve not got much room you should sow your seeds in trays or propagators (a small tray with a see through lid) first. That way you’ll give your plants a great head start before you plant them in the ground!
If you need a hand with supplies, I suggest picking up some propagation sets and some fibre pots, along with one of our fantastic walk in greenhouses from Poundstretcher's great gardening accessories range to get you started!
If you’re lucky enough to have a huge garden, then you don’t have to worry about plating your seeds inside first. You do however need to prepare the ground before you start to sow anything – and the first thing you need to think about is weeding!
Get rid of any pesky plants that you don’t want growing in your garden, by digging them out by the root. This will ensure that they won’t make a reappearance later down the line, and ruin the appearance of your garden. Just remember that while people generally use the term “weeds” for plants such as dandelions and nettles, it actually just refers to any plants that you don’t want to see in your garden!
Once you’ve removed all the weeds from your garden, you can then move on to improving your soil. This just means making the texture a little bit easier for the roots to grow in, so it’s easier for them to get to all the nutrients and water in the ground.
The best way to do this is by firstly applying loads of organic compost to the soil. You can either buy a bag of it from any home and gardening store, or you can try making your own from things like shredded paper, vegetable peelings, mowed grass, and even the tops of any weeds you dug up!
After you’ve applied all your compost, you then need to move on to the fertilizer. While compost is typically used to reduce nutrient deficiencies in your plants, fertilizers are used boost the soil’s structure and fertility - so it’s really important to apply both to your soil. Again, you can buy your own fertilizer, or make your own by aging and drying manure for at least 6 months (if you happen to have any lying around) and applying it to your plant beds.
Just remember that if you’re starting your garden from scratch or you’re using clay based soils, it’s best to do all the preparation the winter before you plant your seeds. And don’t think you’re off the hook if you’ve already got plants in your patch, as you’ll need to mulch their beds with some compost and fertiliser before growing season starts up again!
While you only really need to do this if you’re growing fruits or veg, digging is a very important part of ground preparation. Helping to fluff up the soil, digging ensures that plant roots get enough air to aid their growth, allows for easier drainage to stop the roots from drowning, and generally makes it easier for roots break through the soil!
While digging may seem pretty straightforward, old Greenfinger knows different! To get the best results, grab one of our digging spades along with a trusty gardening fork and some left over compost and fertilizer, and dig a straight 10inch trench in the area you want to plant in. Using your fork, dig in roughly 10cm of compost and fertilizer and spread it out across the trench before using your spade to dig another 10inch trench. You can then transfer the soil from the second trench into the first, so that it covers the compost and fertilizer.
You’ll need to repeat these steps until you’ve dug the entire area you want to grow in. But make sure you remember to remove any weeds you see along the way, and break down any clumps of soil you come across while you go!
Once you’ve got all the boring stuff out of the way, you can start thinking about what you want to plant! No matter if you want to start your own allotment, or you’re just fanatical about flowers, I’ll be on hand every month with hints and tips for what to sow! February is the best time to plant:
- Sweet Pea varieties
- Antirrhinum varieties
- Dahlia or “Bishop’s Children”
- Cobaea Scandens
- Chinese Lanterns
With all this great food at your fingertips, how could you not get excited about eating it? That’s why every week along with my tips about what to plant; I’ll be treating you to a featured dish to help you make best use of your produce in the kitchen!
This week’s featured dish: Broccoli and sage pasta. A quick, easy and really tasty way to use your garden produce!
So if you’ve been bitten by the gardening bug, and you want to try your hand at growing some greens, then pop over to your local Poundstretcher to grab some supplies today!