Get started on baskets
Are you keen to get going on your spring planting but know its slightly too early? How about sorting out some hanging baskets that will erupt in flowers before you’ve even planted your first tomatoes.
Hanging baskets are a great way to liven up any area, large or small. Suspend them in entrance ways, under verandas, decks and patios.
And what’s really great about baskets is they are super easy to assemble. Many come with a fitted coconut liner but if not get some sphagnum moss to line it with. You can also get your seedlings or order online from www.awapuni.co.nz
Whatever you choose I recommend getting a basket/s at least approx 30cm in diameter.
Solid baskets have the benefit of not drying out as quickly. But they don’t allow for you to cascade plants around the sides and base of the basket. Wire ones have a real cottage garden feel.
Coconut liners are solid and ideal for wire baskets with bigger gaps. Using sphagnum moss wouldn’t work on a wire basket as the moss would fall through the gaps.
Some baskets come with a selfwatering reservoir which might save you watering for a few days in summer. I like to place an old saucer at the bottom of the basket which acts as a water catcher and helps the basket to retain its moisture.
When assembling your basket, first soak the liner in a bucket of water for five minutes to really help its hydration. Line your basket with the coconut or moss liner. Then fill it almost to the top with lightweight potting soil mix and compost.
Balance your round basket on an old bucket so it stays flat while you are assembling it. Try mixing in some water gel crystals. They retain water in the summer months and help if you miss a day or two of watering. Awapuni Nurseries have a vibrant hanging basket mix with a range of suitable, seasonal flowers — lobelia, pansy, English daisy, dwarf antirrhinum, viola and primula. You can order online and have them delivered.
Try adding plants in the middle that pack a bit of height. Dwarf antirrhinum (known as dwarf snapdragons) are perfect. Looking for something a bit more practical and close to kitchen? Add some parsley or basil in the middle and keep your cascading flowers on the edges.
If your basket is 30cm across three to five plants is suitable. Slightly wider and easily fit seven. I like a really full basket right from the start so I really pack them in.
Once established hanging baskets require little maintenance other than regular watering — especially during summer. So, stop waiting for spring to arrive to get back out into your gardens.
Spring to it now and plant some baskets.