February heralds the beginning of peak harvest time for most of our fruit and vegetables that were planted in Spring and early Summer before Christmas.

The flower garden will be blooming  as the dahlias, begonias, perennials and Summer annuals reach their showy best.

To get the best from garden fruit should be picked as it ripens to avoid it becoming over ripe and spoiling, the same applies to the vegetables, especially if you are intending to preserve or freeze any of them.

As we finish harvesting, the ground should be prepared for the planting of Winter crops. Many of which can be planted now.

Once the stone fruit trees have finished then a spray of a fungicide to control leaf curl and brown rot can be now applied.

Tomatoes will be ripening now and will benefit from a weekly liquid feed to help them to keep growing. Continue to remove the laterals and lower leaves to let more light in to help ripening.

We now have water restrictions so we must manage our watering carefully so that the plants are still able to grow and produce as we expect.

Pest and diseases are most noticeable now and any treatments must be done with due care, especially on fruit and vegetables which are close to harvest.

Weeds are very fast growing now so regular hoeing when they are small will deal to them.

To keep flowers at their best regular removal of the spent flowers will encourage the plants to continue to flower.

Taller plants and perennials will require staking as we seem to have had a lot of winds this year.

Plants that are growing in containers dry out quickly, regular watering and a weekly liquid feed will help to keep them in peak condition.

Lawns dry out very quickly with the heat and wind. To keep them green water regularly and give them feed every 4 to 6 weeks,  slow release fertilisers are also a good option.

Avoid cutting the grass very low and only cut about one third of the leaf each cut.

I enjoy working in the garden in the morning and later in the evening, avoiding the very hot part of the day. This allows time to enjoy other activities during the day giving a good balance to life.

Happy Gardening, Michael Coulter

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