Spring is the time for green-fingered folk to make the most of a blooming spring and a great British summer in the garden. Nico Hill, gardening expert from leading plant medium and growing brand CANNA UK, shares his tips on how to successfully relocate plants from the house to the garden.
What is best to grow in spring?
COVID-19 has meant that people have been spending more time than usual at home. Some people have found themselves trying new hobbies – including gardening, to while away the time.
The incoming warmer weather means that now is the time to be thinking about outdoor space. Whether you are looking at plants and flowers to make outdoor space more aesthetic for spending time outside, or you are planning to grow your own fruit and vegetables there is plenty to get your hands stuck in to.
Some plants have different seasonality to others, but spring is the best time to get going – especially if you are trying to grow things for the first time. Referring to guidance on seed packages can really help you choose the prime time to sow to reap the benefits of a beautiful bloom later in the summer.
If you are considering growing food producing plants, the key spring staples are where to start. Consider the likes of beetroot, cucumber, carrots, tomatoes, and peppers, or different varieties of salad leaves, because they are all fairly low maintenance.
Plug plants (those already established by a nursery) can be purchased to start you off without even the need to germinate seeds. This, of course, gives you an instant head start with a lot of work already having been done for you, but also allows for planting things that you may have missed the window of opportunity on starting off already, such as onions or leeks.
Essentially, plants need good soil, warmth, sunshine and water to grow strong and healthy, so as long as you can provide them with these key elements, there are plenty of different things you can grow. Of course, you should ultimately be growing something that you like to eat.
I’ve already started growing indoors during lockdown – how do I safely relocate plants outside?
During the winter lockdown, many people have already started growing indoors due to the cold ground conditions. There are benefits to this, including not losing your plants to snow and frost early on.
You can initially encourage seeds to germinate while indoors, growing plants under a small light is an easy way to get a time advantage on the season. Then, when the time comes to relocate the plans outside, they’re already well established.
Starting to grow a plant indoors doesn’t mean it has to stay there. It’s important to consider what plants you are looking at moving outside. Many forms of house plant may not do well outside for example – so do your research and don’t assume it’s a process of simply putting a plant in the ground.
Now that sunnier, warmer weather is starting to return, some people may want to move their grows into bigger, more exposed outdoor spaces – and they will need to make sure they acclimatise their grows to their new home.
It’s crucial to make sure that the hardening off process – which is essentially a slow acclimatisation for plants – is carried out correctly and effectively, otherwise the plant may die off or growth may slow.
This hardening off process allows plants to adapt from being in a protected, sheltered environment to changeable outdoor conditions. Slowly exposing plants to colder temperatures day by day, or gradually lowering humidity when taking plants out of a propagator can avoid plants suffering from shock, which can cause stunted growth.
Another important step to prepare plants for life outdoors is to insulate those more sensitive plants using plastic or fleece coverings overnight, which will help to protect the emerging plant when the temperature drops during darkness hours.
Those living in spaces that may not have a full garden can still embark on their own growing projects, benefitting from window boxes, hanging baskets and pots. With the right container and the right seeds, people can grow something in more or less any space.