Get Your Summers Plants Off To A Good Start Using Plug Plants.

 In George Irvine

Over the past few blogsI have made mention about growing from plug plants and did say that the first of the season’s plug plants would soon be arriving at Cardwell Garden Centre,

The good news is that they arrived last week and are now gracing the shelves at Cardwell. A few years ago plug plants were on offer from a multiplicity of mail order outlets which advertised in a wide range of magazines and newspapers, but now there are fewer of those adverts simply because the Government decided to impose Value Added Tax on those little plants which were imported from outwit the United Kingdom. Of course, this made them twenty percent more expensive.

The other disadvantage about buying by mail order is that you do not see what you are buying in terms of the quality of the plants. However, by going along to Cardwell you will see exactly what you are purchasing and observe the high quality of all the plants.

When I popped along last week I was impressed with the range of the plants on offer and I can tell you that the quality is top class.

There are little cell trays containing twenty plants of species such as fibrous rooted begonias, Antirrhinums, Bedding Geraniums, Lobelia, Petunia and French Marigolds. These cell trays cost £4.99 each but buying three will only cost £12 which is a great bargain.

There is a wide selection of individual plants in little pots including such kinds of flowers as Large- flowering begonias, various Geraniums, Fuchsia and Osteospernum and Argrantheum. Bacopa –which is great for hanging baskets – is available in more than one colour. These little individual pots cost from £1.29 -£1.49 each but you can buy 8 for only £9.00

Have You Tried Jack’s Magic ?

When I visited Cardwell Garden Centre last week, I came across a new addition to their usual range of compost. Called Jack’s Magic, this product is manufactured Westland and contains peat.

Indeed, this traditional blend of compost is an all- round product suitable for seed sowing, potting and planting and for growing in containers too. Jack’s magic is sold in 60 litre bags costing just £5.99 per bag although you can take advantage of Cardwell’s special offer of 3 bags for just £12.

The product looks and feels very much like a traditional compost and seems much better than many of the newer peat-free or peat-reduced brands. While many of the peat reduced composts have had their problems over recent years many of the more traditional composts containing peat have given much better results. Indeed, peat contains both Humic and Fulvic acid which in themselves possess nutrients which enhance plant growth..

I think Jack’s Magic is certainly worth a try this year.

Wage War on Weeds.

Now that spring is just round the corner you will no doubt begin to see the perennial weeds starting to appear in the borders and vegetable plots and even on your lawns.

Most of these weeds will just keep on appearing and will become more troublesome in the months ahead. Although some of these may look reasonably attractive, they will nevertheless, use up water and nutrients which our cultivated plants require.

At this time in the year it is best to tackle these perennial weeds before we plant out your new shrubs, flowers and vegetables.

Some of the common perennial weeds are Dandelions, Ground Elder, Couch Grass, Bind Weed and Mares Rail. The best approach at this stage is to attempt to dig these weeds out from the soil, but do try and get as much of the roots out as you possibly can In some cases, even a little bit of  root left in the soil will come back to haunt you later in the year. Indeed, getting rid of these species can take a long time and you might have to keep trying to remove them right through the summer growing season.

Another method of tackling these weeds is to apply a systemic weed- killer such as ‘Round Up’ which, once applied, will penetrate down through the weed to its root which will then be killed off. However, such weed-killers need a warmer temperature than we have a present, so it is better to lay off using them until late March or early April. Take care when applying weed-killers that you keep the spray away from any plants that you want to keep. Also read the manufacturer’s directions carefully before you start to use the product.

Growing Your Own Vegetables.

With all the problems being encountered with salad crops such as lettuce due to crop failures in overseas countries it really makes sense to grow your own vegetables. Although we may never be completely self sufficient we can certainly get enough to keep us supplied with tasty vegetables for a good part of the year.

Most vegetables are not too difficult to grow and in some cases you do not even need to have a garden as many can be grown in containers on the patio. However, if you want to get a head start on growing vegetables on your own patch, you can warm up the soil by covering it with sheets of heavy duty black polythene. Leave this in place for a week or two and you should be able to plant out some vegetables. If you want you can use a soil thermometer to check the temperature.

Onion sets and Garlic can be planted into little pots or cell trays and started off in the greenhouse or on a windowsill before planting outdoors once the soil has warmed up. Plant garlic cloves about an inch deep with pointed end facing upwards.

Both onion sets and garlic can also be grown in large troughs or containers.

 

 

 

There are lots of interesting plants to choose from and my advice is to get down to Cardwell sooner than later and get your favourite plants before they run out. With these little plants everything is quite simple – Step 1 – Plant Step 2- Water and feed -Step 3 Enjoy your flowers

More on plug plants next week.

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