During February I try not to fool myself by thinking spring is immediately around the corner, even though I fully enjoy the emerging signs that it is indeed on the way and start some early sowings undercover. I absolutely love snowdrops so taking a walk where they brighten up the landscape is a joy at this time of year. Also spotting the sunny looking Winter Aconites, sniffing out the Witch Hazel fragrance in the air and spying Daffodils just popping up through the soil brings so much hope for the season ahead.
My green fingers are itching to sow seeds, and I have started some eggplant and chili peppers along with sweet peas and cosmos. Some seeds will go into a heated propagator at home so I can keep a close eye on them and others will be in the Rhino Greenhouse with some fleece on hand for when the overnight temperatures drop low - because no matter how many seeds I’d like to sow, it simply isn’t time just yet.
From colorful fruits and vegetables to all the colors of the rainbow in the cut flower patch,
I have decided to go big on cut flowers this year and experiment with various colors of vegetables. Every year on the allotment is an experiment in some form, so along with some tried and tested varieties, I am growing some heritage seeds, which often have wonderful colors such as purple carrots and also some newer varieties to see how they all perform on my allotment.
Over the past few years I have expanded some of the space to allow for more cut flowers and as ever, I have made a spreadsheet of what I will sow and when. I have records going back years! Some years I remember to write what did and didn’t grow so well, others I forget, but mostly it’s a wonderful way to document each year and look back at varieties I might like to try again or colors I’d like to see again.
I am going big on snapdragons (Antirrhinum) this year although I won’t be sowing them until March, along with Zinnias, Strawflowers and my usual beds of Dahlias, Peonies, Delphiniums and many more annuals I haven’t quite decided on yet. One thing I am sowing in February is an abundance of Cosmos. I simply love the whimsical nature of their growth and feathery foliage. By successionally sowing the seeds every few weeks, there will be flowers all summer long and even into autumn. Bees and other pollinators flock to them and they are perfect for filling in around the cut flower patch where there is space. They are easy to save seed from for the next year also. A few new varieties I will be trying this year are ‘White Knight’ and ‘Chocamocha’, ‘Daydream’ and ‘Summer Dreams’. Watch this space, to see them growing from seed in the Rhino Greenhouse to flower out on the plot.
From here on in the season of growing starts and I just can’t wait to see the greenhouse and allotment come alive again!