This is it, the time is here to plant out those carefully nurtured seedlings & small plants, & generally get things ship-shape for summer.
All plants grown under cover need hardening off before being planted outside. This means placing them outside in a semi-shaded place to get them used to the different temperatures, bring them back inside at night for 5-7 days.
Whilst this may seem tedious, there’s good reasons for it, their new leaves toughen up & they can cope with different weather & temperatures. This gets them off to the best start possible & they start growing straight away.
I’m keeping 3 in the greenhouse & planting 4 out-side in pots near the kitchen door, now that we’re past night time frosts here.
Move seedlings that are too small to go outside, into bigger pots. They’ll soon grow in this warm weather with plenty of light.
A plentiful supply, without gluts is the aim. Sow a few seeds every 3 weeks or so, of carrots, beetroot & salad leaves to keep a good supply of them through the summer.I have to be very disciplined about this, its so easy to be distracted by other things when the initial activity is over & vegetables growing is underway. I’m make notes on the calender, this year I’m going to put reminders in my phone too.
Water the plants if there’s little rain & the soil is dry, mulching on damp soil helps retain water. Cover them with netting, making sure that it’s firmly anchored to the soil to prevent birds getting trapped inside. This is especially important at the allotment, where they may not be spotted for a while.
I’m going to sow a second batch of half-hardy annuals. Amaranthus is top of my list, having thought of them as just plain weird, I’ve seen their amazing flowers dripping over the side of flower arrangements on Instagram & I’m now sold on them. Funny how flowers slip in & out of fashion.
Mine have had a slow start this year, except for one I neglected & left outside on a pot all year. I noticed it had made lots of leafy growth, so whipped it into the greenhouse to give it some attention. I’m keeping them all in the greenhouse for now, they’ll catch up eventually. I’ve learned that planting them out when the leaves are new & tender doesn’t work in my garden, the leaves get eaten by slugs & possibly snails.
Daffodils, tulips & the like need a little attention now. Leave the foliage to die back naturally, about 6 weeks. The leaves synthesises, feeding the plant & bulking up the bulb for a good showing of flowers next year. Give them a feed of organic fertiliser for extra help.
Tie in Clematis stems, they attach them selves with their leaf stems but need to be near the support to do this. Same goes for sweet-pea tendrils. This also stops them getting into a tangle right at the beginning of their growth.
I’ve panted a pair of standard Bay trees in terracotta pots to join the Pittosporum tobira Nana & Hebes by the front door, all evergreens with nice shapes. It’s a very sun-baked place in hot weather & these work well because they don’t dry out as quickly as tender plants. The only flowers are a big terracotta pot of French marigolds, that’ll cope well with hot sunshine.
They’ll all need watering, but they’re in big, deep pots that’ll hold the moisture.
Enjoy the rest of the month in your garden.
All photos: Jill Anderson.