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May 21, 2010 / Malcolm Dalebö

How to Plant Out

To get the planting under way you will need a length of straight timber, or a garden line, plus a trowel or border spade for larger plants. Some simple precautions are required before planting out plants that have been reared under glass.

  • Tender plants require special care when planting out, as the climate outdoors can be a shock after the warm growing conditions found under cover. 
  • Before planting out, ‘harden off’ for at least a fortnight by keeping plants in a cold frame with good ventilation by day and closed at night or in cold weather.
  • A make shift arrangement consisting of a double layer of fleece laid over the plants for a week, followed by a week under a single sheet can achieve a similar effect if you do not own a cold frame.
  • For best results the soil should be fertile, moist and well cultivated.  
  • If the ground has not been dug before/during winter, fork it over as soon as the soil is dry enough.
  • Prepare the planting sites for bedding plants by raking in a general fertilizer at a rate of 2-3oz (50-90gm) per sq metre. (see manufacturers instruction)
  • Delay any planting until all risk of frost has passed.   
  • Have some agro- fleece covering at the ready for protection should there be a late cold snap.   
  • Before planting out, ensure that the roots of bedding plants are moist.   
  • If plants are densely packed in trays it is best to knock out the entire root mass, and pull them apart by hand to minimise root damage.   
  • Allow adequate space between plants for subsequent spread.   
  • Form a hole just larger than the root ball with a trowel, and plant so that the top of the root ball is just covered.   
  • When refilling gently firm the ground around the root ball.   
  • Note; Plants transplanted while in flower invest energy in producing more flowers rather than roots; prevent this by picking off all flowers and buds before planting.
  • In dry spells water enough to wet the soil to a depth of 150mm (6”), allowing surplus water to drain away before planting the seedlings.   
  • Try and avoid scorching by keeping the water of the foliage, or wait until late afternoon when the sun will not scorch the leaves.
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