• Bridgette Macilwaine

Spring planting tips

Excited to be back at the Project this week, the wind is chilly, the sun is shining, the birds are out and the team is full of enthusiasm for the planting and plot maintenance jobs on today gardening list. I took a second to admire the large broad bean plants growing strong here (image below) as they have been growing well over winter and looks like we will have a great harvest from these in a few months.

Small basil seedlings (image below) which had been grown from seed needed planting out into the lower polytunnel, watering them first and gently pushing from the opening below with a small stick to release the seedling, as pulling form the top would cause harm to the tiny plant.


As you can see from the tray image below there were quite a few empty holes where seeds had not germinated, this is typical when planting seeds, which is why the advice is always plant a little more than you are planning to grow, because some just might not sprout.


Once happily planted, they were watered and wished well. They should do well in the polytunnel, as it's a great place to keep them warm and out of cold winds.


🌱 HANDY HINT:

Sowing leeks in spring, means you can be harvesting them from autumn, all the way through winter for warming soups and stews.


The next exercise was planting out the baby leeks, a few great tips for planting leeks which are not so obvious to most people, especially if it might be your first time:

  • leeks need a sunny, sheltered area

  • sowing in spring, you can harvest from autumn, through winter

  • the roots can be quite fragile

  • make a deep hole with a dibber to give the roots the best chance of survival

  • add plenty of compost to the soil and hole before planting

  • planting roots one per hole will produce large leek with thicker stems

The left image below show plenty of leeks seedlings in one pot, these have very tiny and fragile roots, so simply diving the soil or pulling them out can cause root damage, instead, place them into a bucket of water to help gently loosen the soil apart, this also helps them to not dehydrate once planted. Once planted cover over and water the ground, (keep an eye out for the later pictures as these leeks grow).

A few other jobs for the day was clearing the weeds around the fruit trees in the orchard as these are starting to grow very quick now the that sun for longer hours and the weather is warming up. Once cleared, carboard is laid around the base of the trees and bark chips on top of this.


Carboard was also used around the young strawberries, as these will start growing fast and this not only helps to keep weeds at bay but also helps retain moisture in the soil, especially on a community allotment such as this, plants may not be watered as often as if it were your own private garden.


 

Thanks for reading 🙂🌱 if you have any community gardening stories or experiences, we would love to hear from you!