Greenfingers - February 2017

The Stroud Potato Day is to be held in Merrywalks on Saturday 4th February when Transition Stroud and Down to Earth will have over 20 varieties of seed potato on sale. The potatoes are supplied by Dundry Nurseries located near Cheltenham who have 100 varieties should you need more choice.

So one of this month’s tasks is to chit the potatoes in a light, cool environment, and I use an egg box to support them. Other tasks in the vegetable garden are to harvest winter crops and start sowing broad beans in cold frames; lettuce, summer brassicas, turnip, and spinach seeds indoors, and onion seeds in a heated propagator.

Pruning is the subject of the February gardening club talk on Monday 20th which can be applied to apple, pear, quince and medlar trees, as well as gooseberry, currants and autumn raspberries this month. I recently removed a large south facing side branch from a crab apple as it was beginning to dominate and unbalance the look of the tree.

Other pruning tasks are wisteria and winter flowering shrubs which have finished flowering. The major pruning of wisteria is now, January/February, with a minor pruning of the long runners in August to keep them out of gutters and from creeping under tiles. Snowdrops2

Last month I mentioned that it was a bit too early for snowdrops, but was proved wrong during a walk near Painswick on 28th December when I came across a clump of fully open flowers.

There are two eclipses this month, an annular solar eclipse on 26th which is visible only from the southern hemisphere, and a penumbral lunar eclipse on the 11th which will be visible in its entirety from the UK. The moon will darken, though not completely, as it passes through the earth’s shadow.

Pete Smith