Archive for the ‘Flowers’ Category

Poppies

Poppies are some of the most beautiful flowers, and are useful for filling empty beds on an allotment. However, be careful, as many varieties are poisonous. Check they are safe around any children or pets you may have, and ensure that you are safe while around them.

Poppies can be sown around April, although it varies depending on the variety. They usually need half to full sun, and well drained soil.

Poppies are often invasive, as they have many seeds which grow easily. In order to combat this, it is a good idea to pull up their seedlings when they start to grow, or to dead head them when the flowers start to fade.

Wildflowers

A good idea for an empty space on an allotment is to plant some wildflowers. They are available as mixed seed packets and are often planted between March and May.

Many wildflowers are annuals, but they will set seed, so may grow back the next year. For this reason, they may be invasive, so watch out for when they begin to spread.

Make sure you are careful around wildflowers as they may be poisonous. Check they are safe around any pets or children you may have.

Choosing The Right Pots

An Apple.

A common problem that people face when trying to grow plants it that they do not know what pots to choose. The right type of pot depends in what you are trying to grow.


Seeds are best planted in plastic seed trays or small biodegradable pots. Biodegradable pots are better suited to larger seeds, and are useful as the roots are not damaged when the plant is potted on.

Cuttings can also be planted in plastic seed trays or plastic cellular trays.  However, they are best planted in biodegradable pots so that their delicate root system is not damaged.

Shrubs are best planted in plastic pots which are strong and allow for some movement if you are careful, as they are heavy.

Larger or more permanent plants should be planted in large plastic  or metal pots, or frost resistant terracotta pots. Terracotta pots are best both aesthetically and practically as they absorb water and often are stable.

March

March is when pace of growing on the allotment really picks up. You should check all your planning is finished, and that you have a clear idea of what to plant where and when. March can be used for growing crops early in heated propagators, or planting crops that are usually planted then.

Plants such as chillies and tomatoes can be planted in March, as well as whatever else you may have that says it can be on the seed packet.

Pricking Out

When you have seedlings which are too large to stay in the seed tray or pots anymore, and are large enough to handle, you should prick them out into larger pots. Make sure you prepare enough pots first, as plants with uncovered roots often wilt. Poke a hole in the soil surface with your finger for the new seedling.

 

  1. Using the tip of a pencil, lift the plant’s roots out carefully from under the soil, while supporting the leaves with your fingers.
  2. Once the roots are loose, lift the plant by a leaf and place it into the new pot. Make sure it is not too deep.
  3. Gently push down the soil around the plant to firm it down, and water well.

Potting On

After your plants have grown, they may need to be potted on. This should be done when the plants are too large for their current pot. I use biodegradable pots so I do not have to struggle to remove plants, but if you are using normal pots, hold the plant by a leaf (if it is small) or a branch/stem if it is larger. Get help if the plant is very large.

Firstly, you should fill your chosen new pot about half full with good quality soil or compost, and then water slightly. You then place your plant on the compost and fill around the edges. If your plant is too large to be potted on this way, you should put less soil in to start with.

Then, check that the plant is watered regularly, but not allowed to flood.

Growing Seeds

When growing seeds, whether in a heated propagator, or outdoors, there are a few important guidelines that you need to follow to ensure that the growing process runs as smoothly as possible.

  1. You should always label the seeds so you know what they are. It is best to put plant, variety, planting date and expected germination date on the label. This means that you will not get plants mixed up, and you will know to dispose of those which have not grown after about two weeks after the expected germination date.
  2. Do not over-water the seeds. If they have too much water in their soil, they will rot. This means that seed is wasted and if the rotting is fungal, it may spread to other plants nearby. Just moist soil is best.
  3. Do not forget to water. Seeds need water to germinate, so without any, nothing will happen. Keep soil moist by spraying with a water spray, standing in shallow water so it is absorbed (remember to remove it), or watering the pot or seed tray with a watering can with a fine rose.