With Liz Robinson of Pinewood nurseries and farm shop Hannah Stephenson
s The blackbird is one of the
loudest dawn choristers HIS weather has brought our bedding season into full swing.
I’ve been battling customers at the till explaining to them it’s just too early and ‘don’t think this heat wave is going to last’... being very cynical in my old age at their attempts to convince me that they have a greenhouse they’ll fit this all in to at home... Especially petunias which are very tender and cannot withstand any light frost.
The Petunia surfinias are the star of our show here at Pinewood. We grow 6,000 baskets full of them and they decorate gardens up and down England.Engl They are so versatile, if you get thet right variety.
ForFo Stoke Park we plant up huge pots with tall canes and the Petunia ‘Easy‘Ea wave’ climbs up the canes to create a spectacular show. I’m alwaysa warning customers that theyth need a lot of water if they area in pots and baskets. They haveha so much foliage you can’t relyrel on even a thunder storm to IT’S so tempting, I know. All those annuals you’ve sown indoors from seed are big enough to plant out, the tomato seedlings are doing well and you just want to clear the decks to make a head start on summer.
But be warned, if you risk planting tender plants out before the last frosts have passed, it could ruin all your hard work of the previous months.
A late frost can hit in late May or even in June, reducing your tender plants to shrivelling corpses.
It’s best really to sow seed of frost-tender vegetables including French and runner beans, courgettes, marrows, cucumbers, tomatoes, squashes and melons, in April under cover because they are going to take four or five weeks to establish before they can be put outside, so that way they are timed to be planted out after the last frosts are over.
Anything grown in a frost-free greenhouse such as patio plants and frost-tender vegetables will need hardening off before being planted outside, to acclimatise them slowly to outdoor conditions. Harden them