PLANT

Your Home and Garden - - Outdoor Diary -

> If you’re lucky enough to have space for grow­ing pota­toes, it’s not too late to plant. Soil tem­per­a­tures need to be above 7°C for spuds. Speed up the process by chit­ting (sprout­ing seed pota­toes in a warm spot out of the sun) so they form plenty of shoots. When shoots are about 2.5cm long the pota­toes are ready to plant. > Avoid plant­ing ice­berg let­tuce seedlings in warmer ar­eas as they can take a cou­ple of months to ma­ture and do bet­ter in cooler tem­per­a­tures. Cos is one of the most heat­tol­er­ant let­tuce types. When plant­ing out let­tuce seedlings space them about 15cm apart. To pro­tect against heavy rain and snails cover with cloches for the first 2-3 weeks. Soil should be fer­tile with plenty of or­ganic mat­ter such as com­post, sea­weed or well-rot­ted ma­nure added be­fore­hand to hold the wa­ter and pro­vide nu­tri­ents for these hun­gry feed­ers.

> Spring-planted onions will grow far more quickly than those planted over win­ter, so now is a bet­ter time for space-poor onion lovers. Spac­ing seedlings quite close to­gether (3-5cm) means your onion bulbs will be smaller and suit­able for eat­ing as spring onions or for pick­ling. To grow big­ger bulbs space them at least 10cm apart. Try to choose an onion va­ri­ety to suit the sea­son.

> Cau­li­flower can still be planted in cooler places. It’s of­ten bet­ter to plant seedlings than sow cau­li­flower seed di­rect to en­sure plants have a good root sys­tem. Choose a spot with good sun and space seedlings 45-60cm apart.

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