With spring around the corner, February is the ideal time to prepare your allotment for some of the earliest outdoor sowings in March. There are also tasty harvests of winter salads like mizuna, rocket and kale to be had.
As well as the jobs listed below, there are plenty of indoor sowings you can start now, before transferring to the allotment later in the year. This includes sowing tomatoes, globe artichokes and sprouting broccoli in a propagator, while Brussels sprouts, leeks, onions and spinach can all be sown under cover. Want to grow get these seeds off to an early, flying start? Check out our guide to the best heated propagators, garden cold frames and garden cloches. If you're keen to get going, here are a few of our favourites:
- Buy Garland Fab 4 Electric Heated Propagator on Amazon
- Buy Garland Super7 Electric Heated Propagator on Amazon
- Buy Windowsill Propagator with Capillary Mat and Tray at Harrod Horticultural
- Buy Forest Garden Mixed Softwood Cold Frame at B&Q
- Buy the Garden Grow Cloche from Thompson & Morgan
- Buy Mini Greenhouse Cloche at Thompson-Morgan
Discover seven allotment jobs for February, below.
Harvest the last kale leaves
Kale leaves are delicious and nutritious, and whichever type you're growing, from the purple 'Redbor' to the Italian 'Cavolo Nero', all are winter-hardy. In February, new side shoots appear which can be cropped for a few weeks before the plant runs to seed.
Pick mizuna and sow more
Mizuna, rocket and winter lettuce plants sown last autumn should now be ready to harvest, providing fresh green leaves for meals. Don't worry if you haven't grown any of these, as you can sow all three in the greenhouse in February where they'll respond well to conditions of low light and cool weather.
- Buy mizuna seeds from Crocus, Thompson & Morgan and Sarah Raven
- Buy winter lettuce seeds from Crocus, Thompson & Morgan and Sarah Raven
Prepare beds for sowing
Preparing beds before sowing begins in spring is one of the most important February allotment jobs. In doing so, you'll help to aerate, drain and warm the soil. When digging over, be sure to incorporate plenty of homemade compost or composted manure. Alternatively, give beds a dressing of organic matter, then cover in plastic for a few weeks to reduce weeds and warm the soil. A trusty garden fork and spade are essential tools for this job, while a wheelbarrow is often useful if you're using alot of compost or manure. Our experts have tested a range of products to find the best border forks, best garden spades and best wheelbarrows. In a hurry? Here are a selection of best buys from these tests:
- Buy Spear and Jackson Select Stainless Steel Border Fork on Amazon
- Buy Burgon and Ball RHS Border Fork from Crocus
- Buy Wilkinson Sword Stainless Steel Border Fork from The Range
- Buy Kent and Stowe Stainless Steel Digging Spade from Amazon
- Buy DeWit Solid Socket Spade from Crocus
- Buy Lasher Ecobarrow from Primrose
- Buy Vonhaus 78L wheelbarrow from Vonhaus
- Buy manure from Dobies, Amazon and Suttons
Clean and set up cloches
Now's the time to get cloches ready to warm the soil for early sowings, and provide protection for seedlings and young plants. Clean the sides with a scourer and warm soapy water, before rinsing off. For early crops, prepare and rake level the soil, before putting the cloche in place a few weeks before sowing.
For tasty harvests of rhubarb, choose a bright, open position and prepare the soil by digging deeply and incorporating plenty of rich, homemade compost. Plant the crowns so that the buds are level with the soil surface, so make sure your the hole is big enough to allow this. Firm in and water well. Let plants establish for two years before harvesting.
Prune autumn raspberries
By pruning away the old canes of autumn-fruiting raspberries now, you'll give the new shoots plenty of time to grow and strengthen, to hold the fruit crop. Prune old canes hard back to the ground, to avoid damaging the new shoots that'll emerge between them. You can also plant new canes now.
Sow broad beans undercover
Broad beans are easy to sow under cover, and will provide a rewarding harvest in late spring. Sow indoors now in peat free compost in deep pots or modules, before placing in a cool, frost-free location, such as an unheated greenhouse or cold frame.
See our guide to peat free composts to find a range that suits your needs.
- Buy broad beans to sow from Thompson & Morgan and Crocus
- Buy modules from Amazon, Crocus and Thompson & Morgan
For more timely allotment tasks, take a look at our allotment jobs for March.
This special edition Year Planner 2023 contains advice for every month of the year, with tips for delicious harvests, plus, a sowing calendar is included for the best results all year round. Only £7.99.