Approaching mid-February

HAVE you noticed how daylight seems to be coming a bit earlier these mornings and dusk it also a bit later too, with daylight extending until about six o’clock.

By the end of February things will be getting nearer to spring and soon March will be upon us.

Unfortunately, seasons are not following a set pattern these days and gardeners just never know what will they will encounter each day.

They will want to get out into the garden as soon as weather permits and begin to sow their seeds and plant perennial plants in the borders.

Seeds can be sown indoors and germinated on a window ledge to give us vegetables and herbs to plant out in the coming months.

Edible garden

Just a few days ago I was passing through the main street in Gourock when I came across a display which was labelled Gourock Edible Garden and I immediately decided to stop and have a look at this and find out more about this.

Outside a shop was a half-barrel filled with plants. I spoke with the lady in the shop who said that she had various herbs, including mint, and passers-by were welcome to stop and help themselves to some of the herbs.

The barrels were supplied by the Shed in Gourock and given to various shops across the town.

Seedlings now on sale at Cardwell Garden Centre

Small seedlings of a wide selection of bedding plants are now on display at your local garden centre and it is a good idea to take a trip along and see what is on offer.

There are some rays with a dozen or so seedlings with other individual plants such as geraniums and Fuchsia to name but a few.

While these young plants cannot be planted outside just now, they do need to be kept indoors in a frost-free location. More information about these plants will be given in the coming weeks.

Bees so important in our gardens

Wild bees abound in our gardens. Even at this early time of the year. These wild bees are different from the honey bees which are bred to produce honey but the wild bees are much needed to help pollinate plants. These bees are usually found in long grass and in the old nests of field mice and voles and they can be useful in helping to pollinate flowers and vegetables throughout the garden.

Wild bees can be disturbed by noise such as that caused by lawnmowers, and care needs to be taken when using machinery in the garden. Early buds can be helped on their way to pollination by those wild bees so try and encourage them by being kind to them. Avoid excess noise and they will repay you by giving your plants a good start.

Onions and garlic plants

As you are browsing through the seed potatoes on display in the Garden Centre take the opportunity to buy some onion sets and garlic bulbs.

These are quite hardy species and can be obtained over the coming weeks and at least you will have them ready for planting early next month.

Onion sets come in various types including the popular red baron, which is good in both salads and other culinary creations, and the onions can be planted outdoors during March.

Garlic bulbs are easy to deal with as the bulb can be divided into their separate cloves and the cloves can be planted into small pots containing fresh peat-free compost and grown on until green shoots appear.

Later in the year the garlic can be planted out alongside rose bushes to keep greenfly and other aphids away from the plants. Even growing a few small pots in the greenhouse can be beneficial.

Tackling house plants in early spring

At this time of the year various house plants are needing our attention as they will be starting into growth and some will need just a little more water while other will not need too much.

Over-watering is a sure way to kill house plants but as the plants emerge from their winter hibernation take care about where you locate them.

Avoid having them up against sources of heat and remove any brown leaves. Some plants may benefit from a little feeding but do not soak the pots unless the pot is light in weight when you lift it.

If the pot is heavy then watering id usually not needed. Cacti and succulents can usually survive without water and, indeed, too much water can kill them.

Read the labels carefully and take care looking at room temperature and give the leaves a little care and attention.

Cacti placed in good light often will flower in the spring and produce excellent flowers which will last for a long period of time. House plants often help to keep the air free from pollutants and toxic elements. Some plants such as orchids will fade and die but will flower again in another month or so.

Try and avoid placing plants between a widow and a curtain at night as this can cause the plant to suffer from a cold environment which will cause the plant to become stressed.

Garden talks take place every second week

Gourock Horticultural Society's fortnightly talks take place every second Tuesday from now until the end of June.

The talks are held at Cardwell Garden Centre at 2pm and last about an hour. Why not come along?