GardenAction Newsletter
February 2008

February, 2008

Welcome to the GardenAction newsletter for February 2008 in your garden.


Now is the time to choose your vegetable seeds. Ordering online is a simple, safe and enjoyable way to obtain your seeds. At GardenAction, we don't sell seeds at the moment, but if you stick to the well known names you'll be OK. Happy selecting, and be sure to be adventurous with a few of them. We have updated our vegetable calendar page to include more vegetables and be more specific on when to plant what. It's a one web guide to all the key vegetables. Take a look by clicking HERE.

If you haven't got round to preparing the ground for this year's Brussels Sprouts do it soon at a time when the ground is not frosted. Brussels Sprouts seed can be sown outside from mid-March onwards, so preparing now will give the soil a chance to settle. This is important for top heavy Brussels Sprouts.

When selecting a position for Brussels Sprouts remember that they will cast a shadow, also they do slightly better in partial shade.
Click here
for more information on Brussels Sprouts including the seed varieties we suggest.

February is the best month for preparing the ground for carrots. Aim to get a light soil with lots of organic matter in it, a difficult combination but something to try for. When selecting carrot seed we reccomend you try he pelleted seed. It's much easier to handle than normal carrot seed and will save a lot of 'thinning' effort later in the year.
Click here
for easy to follow instructions and our suggetsed carrot varieties.

Lettuce are normally sown outside from the beginning of March onwards. However you can get a head start by sowing them under poly- tunnel or cloche protection. In many areas of the UK you can sow lettuce outside under cloche protection from mid-February onwards, a couple of weeks later if you are in a colder part of the UK.
Click here
for easy to follow instructions.

Onions can be sown outside from mid-March onwards so February is the time to prepare the soil before planting. If you have a poly tunnel or cloches, onions can be sown outside towards the end of February.
Click here
for easy to follow instructions.

February is the month for starting off your potatoes. Buy the seed potatoes soon and start sprouting them in February. It's not complicated and the GardenAction pages will guide you through the process using straightforward language and lots of helpful pictures.
Click here
for easy to follow instructions.

Towards the end of February you can sow seeds of Summer Cauliflower as long as they are protected by poly tunnels or cloches.
Click here
for easy to follow instructions.

Broccoli is sown earlier than most vegetable (March) so prepare the ground now in late January or February.
Click here
for easy to follow instructions.

February is the time to prepare the soil for new strawberries.
Click here
for easy to follow instructions.

February is the time to prune autumn (not summer) fruiting raspberries. Simply cut them down to 15cm / 6in from the ground, remove the canes, apply a long lasting fertiliser such as bonemeal then apply a mulch.
Click here
for more detailed instructions.

If you are lucky enough to be growing peaches, give some thought in February as to how you will protect the delicate buds from the frost in March. A little planning now will save a panic in March if a forst threatens.
Click here
for easy to follow instructions.

Bay trees can be harvested all year round and the make very attractive potted plants. Think about buying one now and you can keep it indoors in a light and airy room for a couple of months before putting it outside for most of the year. Remeber also that they make ideal birthday presents, requiring very little attention and no gardening knowlege.
Click here
for easy to follow instructions.

February is a good month to plant or transplant fruit trees. Do it on a day when the ground is not frozen or waterlogged. Go to the relevant page on the GardenAction website for details specific to each tree type.

This month the spotlight is on


February is a good month for pruning clematis which flowered the previous summer (not spring flowering types though). Vigorous summer-flowering clematis (mainly those that flower from July onwards like the jackmanii varieties) need to be heavily pruned to about 3 foot above soil level. Less vigorous summer-flowering varieties (mainly those that flower between May and June) need to have all the dead growth removed and each stem cut back to the lowest pair of healthy buds. Pruning clematis is explained in great detail in the GardenAction pages.
Click here
for easy to follow instructions with lots of helpful pictures.


A farmer goes out to his field one morning only to find all of his cows frozen solid. As far as the eye can see are cows, motionless like statues. It had been a cold night, but he'd never thought anything like this would happen. The realisation of the situation then dawned on him. With his entire livestock gone, how would he make ends meet? How would he feed his wife and kids? How would he pay the mortgage? He sat with his head in his hands, trying to come to terms with his impending poverty. Just then, an elderly woman walked by. "What's the matter?" asked the old lady. The farmer gestured toward the frozen cows and explained his predicament to the woman. Without hesitation the old woman smiled and began to rub a cow's nose. After a few seconds the cow began to twitch and was soon back to normal and chewing the cud. One by one the old woman defrosted the cows until the whole field was full of healthy animals. The farmer was delighted and asked the woman what she wanted as a repayment for her deed. She declined his offer and walked off across the field. A passer-by who had witnessed the whole thing approached the farmer. "You know who that was don't you?" asked the passer-by. "No" said the farmer "Who?" He said "That was Thora Hird."
1 Old School Cottages, Southam Street, Kineton, Warwick CV35 0JN

This Month's Recipe

Tapas are small portions of different Spanish food which are becoming increasingly popular. We have a page devoted to their history with lots of different tapas recipes all with step by step pictures and instructions.
Click here
for these delicious recipes.

The Romans were enamoured with broccoli. Pliny the Elder, an Italian naturalist and writer, 23 to 79 CE, tells us the Romans grew and enjoyed broccoli during the first century CE. The vegetable became a standard favorite in Rome where the variety called Calabrese was developed. The Calabrese is the most common variety still eaten in the United States today. Before the Calabrese variety was cultivated, most Romans were eating purple sprouting broccoli that turned green when cooked.

Roman Emperor Tiberius, 14 BCE to 37 BCE, had a son named Drusius who took his love of broccoli to excess. Excluding all other foods, he gorged on broccoli for an entire month. When his urine turned bright green and his father scolded him severely for "living precariously," Drusius finally abandoned his beloved broccoli.

Roman farmers called broccoli "the five green fingers of Jupiter".depending on whether the household's business prospers or fails. Put the two together and make of it what you may!

Sage symbolizes domestic virtue, wisdom, skill, esteem, long life, good health, mitigates grief, and increases psychic powers.

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