The weather is looking up and there appears to be no chance of a frost (all being well) on the horizon, so the time has come to plant up! Here’s my step by step guide on the all-important how-to.
Preparing the soil – It’s so important that the soil is the right consistency. Make sure you dig, rake and remove any large stones. I then take an additional step of removing a thin layer of topsoil and putting it through a sieve, just to give an even finer consistency. After doing this I then walk over the top of the bed to compact the soil to help remove any air pockets and create a nice even surface.
Sowing Direct – If you are planting from seed then the first step is to make a very light trench to sow your seeds in to. I use my finger – just think drawing a line in the sand on the beach. In terms of spacing, make sure you follow the instructions recommended on the seed packet. I find it a lot easier to sow the seeds without gardening gloves on as it allows you to be a little more precise. I tip the packet of seeds into the palm of my hand and then sprinkle them in. I then sieve a very light dusting of soil over the top. I have also covered with netting to protect them from the local birds after their breakfast, dinner and lunch.
Planting out flowers that have had a head start – If you have started to grow flowers in a greenhouse or on a window sill then it’s likely you’ll have small plants by now. Make sure you are careful when transferring them as their roots will still be delicate. I (very carefully) use a knife and go round the outside of the pot to ease the soil away from the sides, then I pop a base of a pen through the drainage holes to push the soil away from the base. I follow this with gently squeezing the sides of the pot all the way around and then holding the tip of the shoot I start to delicately to ease the plant out. Hopefully, the plant should come away quite easily. If it doesn’t then repeat these steps until it does. When planting out do make sure you are gentle and dig a hole that is big enough to accommodate your new plant. When bedding it in, don’t be heavy-handed, just gently tap it in.
Watering – Once all in, give everything a water. I use a watering can with a sprinkler on the end to provide my newly planted out seeds and plants with a little drink.
A few additional tips
Sweet Pea planting – Sweet peas grow to about two metres high so they will need support. You can either use netting for them to grow up or a wigwam or obelisk as I have. If you are using an obelisk then you will need to wrap string or netting in between the horizontal wood supports as the wood will be too wide for them to wrap around. In terms of spacing, I’ve left about 20cm between each one. To be honest, I’ve never grown sweet peas before and mine are not looking too happy. However, I have read they can take a while to establish and once they do they should grow quite happily. For the time being, I’m giving mine plenty of water and feeding with some seaweed, oh and keeping everything crossed.
Dahlia planting – For Dahlias, make sure you give your soil a feed as they can be quite ‘hungry’. Just add some compost to the soil or some bone meal. Also, be aware that slugs love a dahlia so keep an eye on your precious plants as they are growing. Copper rings have always worked for me so if you see any slugs, just add these at the base of the flower.
Cosmos and SnapDragon planting – When sowing or planting out, make sure you leave enough room to add some horizontal supports as they may require these as they grow.
And finally, don’t sow all your seeds at once. To prolong your harvest on non-repeat flowers you can sow seeds every two weeks to prolong their presence in your cut flower beds. I’ll talk about this more over the next few weeks.
With love and please do feel free to ask me any questions or share any of your experiences.
Flowers and Lifestyle by Margot – www.instagram.com/flowersandlifestylebymargot/