Sunday, September 29, 2013

Let's get planting!

Yesterday the weather was very obliging and we got a lot of planting done. We planted about 50 corn plants, 15 courgette plants, 6 butternut plants, one bed of potatoes and we repotted strawberry plants and transplanted the tomato seedlings into their new temporary homes. Our chillies, like all chillies, are taking the long slow lazy route to growing and will sit tight for a few more weeks until they are big enough to be planted out.

So here's the low down on planting out your seedlings...

If you started them indoors like we did you need to acclimatise them to the outdoor life for a week or so before settling them into the ground. We did this by putting our trays outside during fine weather and bringing them indoors overnight.

While you were waiting for the seeds to grow, you should have prepared your garden beds with compost, bone meal and volcanic rock dust or something similar. Remove any weeds and dig them over well. I know there are those out there that use a no dig method - I don't.

Seedlings should never dry out so even once you have planted them, do not let them go thirsty but don't  overwater either. I like to give them a good drink of worm tea just before I plant them and then water every second day.

The experts say that seedlings should be planted out in the evening when it is cool, but this does not work for me as my energy levels are too low at that time so it is early morning and a good watering to get them through the day.

New seedlings need protection too. In our home its from cutworm, slugs, snails and cats! If you are still concerned about frost you can collect up 2 litre plastic cool drink bottles and cut the bottoms off. Place the top portion over the plant. This is good for most smaller plants.

Our courgettes were too big for this treatment so I used small metal climbing frames that I had lying around which will stop the cats digging them up.

The corn we planted just had old trellises put over the beds which is sufficient protection for them. Every morning and evening I go snail collecting in the garden and feed them to the chickens so that is how we handle those critters [evil grin]!

Planting out tomatoes are an exception to the rule. Once you have a "true" leaf on each of your seedlings, which can take about 1 month, you need to repot them into a slightly larger pot slightly deeper than before. This causes the stem to be thicker and stronger and a bigger root system to develop. You should do this 3 or 4 times before their final planting out.

Potatoes are sown in the valleys of ridged ground and as the green shoots rise above ground level you "bank" up the potatoes which simply means cover the shoots  until just the top two leaves are showing. This causes tubers to form as the potatoes are banked up every few weeks.

So that's it...the biggest thing I appreciate on planting day is helping hands so I like to warn the family a couple of days ahead so that every one is in the right frame of mind. :)

In a couple of weeks time I will post some things that I have learnt about organic pest control and how to give ongoing care to your babies so that when they are big and grown they will give you some delightful harvests.

How are your spring gardens coming?

No comments: