Guidelines for Planting Seedlings
For instant, glorious colour in the garden nothing beats bedding plants. Just a few trays of seedlings will transform an otherwise dull corner into a kaleidoscope of brilliant colour.
Dig over the bed to the depth of about a garden fork, removing weeds and large stones.
Add a generous quantity of well matured compost and a handful (60g) of organic seedling food per square metre
Mix into the soil, rake level and water thoroughly
When removing the seedlings from the trays, gently push out the plant from the bottom, keeping the soil intact around the roots.
Don't bury the stems of the seedlings when planting, rather plant to the depth that they are in the seedling tray.
Gently press down the soil around the stem.
Water well with a sprinkler.
Mulch around the plants to combat evaporation and keep the soil temperature even.
Fertilise regularly. For those who want a spectacular show of blooms, a foliar feeding program will reward you handsomely.
Make sure that you start off with healthy seedlings bought from a reputable garden centre. Remember to check the label on the plant tray or ask the nurseryman about light requirements, and spacing. Water the seedlings a few hours before planting. Whenever possible grow annuals in a different part of the garden from a previous season, to reduce the risk of disease. Then prepare the area well by digging it over thoroughly and mixing in compost, 90g (a handful) each of superphosphate and a general fertiliser per m², and mix well to a spade depth.
Avoid pulling out seedlings by their leaves or stems. Rather push out the root ball from below. Make a hole in the bed with a trowel and place the seedling in at the same depth as it was in the container. Fill up around the plant and lightly firm the soil around the roots. Water well after planting and keep the soil moist until the plants are established. Once they are happy in their new home, water deeply only once the soil begins to dry out, rather than a daily sprinkling.
Remember to keep removing any old flowers (deadheading), to keep your beauties flowering for as long as possible.
Information Supplied by the Bedding Plant Growers Association. Contact Bronwen Tuck, chairperson 083 678 5907.
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