Posts Tagged ‘grow’

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.

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.

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.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes can be planted indoors in February, or up to May, but it is dependant on variety – check the pack for information. In hot climates, you may be able to plant them outdoors. During early summer, you can often buy established plants from garden centres. However you choose to start growing them, you need to ensure that you care for the plant correctly.

Tomatoes should be grown in well drained, good quality soil, in a sunny position so that the fruits ripen by the time the weather is cold. Some people grow them in large pots so that they can be moved if there is a weather problem. However, I do not recommend this as the pots are often very heavy and difficult to lift.

If you do believe that bad weather may be a problem, get a cloche to put over them, but do not leave it there all year, or they will get too hot. Make sure that, during hot weather, you water the tomatoes regularly so that the soil does not become too dry. You will need to water more often if the plants are in pots. If the soil becomes too damp, wait for it to dry before watering.

Growing Basil

Basil is one of the most popular herbs, and is often used for Italian style dishes, such as pasta al forno. It can be grown all year round indoors, which is the way I grow it.

It should be planted in good quality compost on a windowsill, or in a propagator, and the soil kept moist until germination, which normally occurs after 10 to 20 days.

Often, it is over-watered, so make sure that you allow the compost to go slightly dry before watering. As the basil plant grows, move to bigger pots if necessary. In my experience, it is best to plant 5 to 8 plants in a pot, so you end up with a bushy plant, with enough leaves to give you enough seasoning. Make sure you keep the basil in a warm, sunny position, where frost cannot get to it.

In order to ensure that your basil continues growing, you should pick it regularly, so fresh leaves grow. Always try to remove leaves that are damaged or rotting, as they may cause the plant to become diseased.

Have you tried to grow basil? How have you got on? Feel free to share your experiences below