Making the most of spare plants

Dad had grown some Little Gem lettuces to go out in the garden. He had a handful left over, and we didn’t want them to go to waste, so I’ve snapped them up and am going to grow them in a container.

Although if you read many of our blog posts you’ll be bored of us saying by now, we filled a pot with multipurpose compost, with a little garden soil in the bottom as anchorage.

We then made a hole in the compost just large enough for the cells the lettuces had been growing in, and popped one plant in each hole and firmed the compost gently round the base of the plant.

A top tip we’ve found when potting up/planting out plants in cell trays is to use the end of a pencil to gently push the cell out of the cell tray. Providing the compost is not too wet, and the plant has made enough roots by the time you are potting it on/planting it out, they come out really easily.

If you give it a try and find that the plant hasn’t got enough roots yet to keep the compost held together when you push out the cell, the plants probably aren’t ready to pot on/plant out just yet, so give them a few more days and then try again (where possible).

If the cells are too wet, leave it a few hours and try again, as the small cells don’t take too long to dry out again!

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After we’d planted them out, we gave them a good watering to settle the compost around the plants.

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As with the previous planting of lettuces, this pot is now stood on the path in the polytunnel to speed up the growing a bit. However, providing the plants have been hardened off, there’s no reason why lettuces can’t be planted outside at this time of year.

Although we only planted some lettuces in a pot a week or two ago, as with lots of crops, if you plant them out at the same time, they tend to mature at the same time too. Therefore, succession sowing/planting is key if you want to have the crop for a more prolonged period.

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