Address: Irish Seed Savers Association, Capparoe, Scarriff, Co. Clare, Ireland   Phone: +353 61 921866   Email: info@irishseedsavers.ie

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Gardening tips for February & Life on the farm

Before the recent spell of bad weather, which damaged one of our polytunnels, we took full advantage of the dry mild conditions and built our pea fencing for the coming year, as well as getting a head start on some much needed maintenance works. Golden Sweet Mangetout was one of our most sought after varieties last year and for that reason we have been growing it in abundance in our polytunnnels over the winter to harvest the seeds later in the year. Our over wintering lettuce is looking good enough to eat but we have to resist the temptation and let this go to seed. In the polytunnels we’ll be starting to sow onions and peppers this month and our parsley is ready to be transplanted out to complete it’s seed cycle.

We wait patiently for the next dry spell of weather as the grass needs mowing and fresh straw needs to go down around our perennials. Our green manures need to turned over, which is not a nice job in these wet conditions.

February is the ideal time to be planting your fruit trees and bushes as they’ll still be dormant. If you have mature trees and bushes now is the best time to do some pruning, especially your gooseberries and currants. In the greenhouse or polytunnel you can get an early start by planting lettuce, rocket and radish away in there but our Top Tip is ’Chitting’ your potatoes.

‘Chitting’ is the process of pre-sprouting your potatoes before planting, most just do this for the earlies and not the main crop. Some say this process gets the potatoes off to a fast start when they are planted out. To chit them all you need to do is store your seed potatoes in a cool but frost free place where they get some light but not direct sunlight. This will help them form short stubby shoots before planting.

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