“February Fill Dyke” may live up to that old country title––or it may not. We shall not be so rash as to prophesy what the weather will be, for though it may be snowing or raining in the North, the South may be basking in the sun––even if a wintry one. However, if the weather be fine in February, we shall be anxious to get on to the vegetable plot; if it is not, then we can do a bit of thinking and planning indoors. We can profitably take stock of where we stand and make sure that we are ready to start operations as soon as the weather is right and the ground fit.
Never work the soil when it is too wet and sticky and clings in lumps to your boots. You do more harm than good by walking on it and working it when it is like that. And that applies also to sowing seeds, for seeds sown in cold, wet soil will rot instead of germinating, or they will make but poor growth.
If you can settle down to do a bit of thinking and planning – and plotting things out on paper – it will be worth your while to read carefully what is said later about the importance of crop rotation. It may save you a headache in the months ahead if you plan the lay-out of your vegetable plot.
And when you do, bear in mind what you have got growing now in the way of vegetables. If you have an abundance and a good selection – and your family eats what you grow –then you won’t go far wrong if you stick to last year’s plan (rotating your crops, of course).
But if your wife, or whoever runs the kitchen department, complains that there is little or nothing in the garden and that shop prices are high, it would pay you to plan so that you grow your own winter vegetables – especially greens. But before you get down to planning, have you yet got or ordered what you will need when you can start outdoor operation? These are the items: