The Daily Telegraph - Saturday

TWO PROJECTS TO PLAN

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Plug plants

Garden centres are full of plug plants for summer baskets and pots. If you can look after these tiny plants, it’s a much cheaper way to buy your summer flowers compared with fully grown plants later in the year.

BUT don’t fall into the trap of buying them now unless you can provide a frost-free, sunny place for them to grow until the end of May, when they can go out in the garden. A sunny windowsill or greenhouse would be ideal.

These bedding plants will outgrow their plugs quickly, so plant them into a bigger pot, which will mean a bigger plant when you come to put them outside at the end of May. Make them part of your “feeding Friday” too.

Easy veg

Rainbow chard is a great vegetable for kids to get started with. It’s simple to grow, the seeds are large and easy for youngsters to handle, and it provides a riot of colour for their plates.

Pop two or three seeds in a small pot – or just a used yogurt pot with a hole in the base – and lightly cover with compost. Place the pot on a sunny windowsill.

When roots start to emerge from the holes at the base of the pot, plant out in the ground or in a larger pot. They’ll do best in a sunny position, but don’t let the plants dry out. Regular picking will keep the leaves young and tender.

Tom Brown is head gardener at West Dean Gardens, West Sussex

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