November plantings

We wanted to give a quick update on some of the things we’ve been up to this weekend (in between heavy downpours of rain!) We’ve been a bit quiet for the past few weeks. There are two reasons:

1. That it’s that time of year where the nights draw in and it gets colder and wetter, so there’s generally less going on in the garden compared to the spring and summer months; and

2. We’ve moved in to our first home, so we’ve been busy sorting things out there! But more about that another time, as we have an exciting new project ahead of us with our garden here!

First up this weekend was some flowers – a first for the blog I think! We are hoping that these brighten the place up over the winter months and into the spring. These are primroses which we got as teeny tiny plug plants from Jersey Plants Direct back in August. We’ve used this company quite a few times as a family over the past few years, and think they offer good value for money where you’re after a large number of bedding plants. Although they do larger plug plants or ones that are ready to plant out, we usually go for the smallest plug available as we are happy to grow them on until they are ready to plant out.

First, we filled some pots with some soil to anchor them and then topped them up with multipurpose compost. Then we planted up each pot with 5 primroses.

Then we watered the plants in well to settle the compost around the roots.

These plants will stay in these pots now until they are finished flowering next spring. We will keep them watered as necessary and may give them some liquid feed if we think they need it at any point.

We have put a pot on either side of our doorstep as they are a great burst of colour once they start flowering and lovely to come home to (not that any of us are going anywhere very much at the moment!)

Next up, we have the garlic bulbils. These came off the elephant garlic cloves we grew this year when we harvested them.

We have been keeping these safely in a jar once they’d dried out. Although a good growing friend of ours has suggested that next time round, we should just leave the bulbils in the soil when we lift the garlic as you get better germination of the bulbils that way.

We haven’t got that opportunity with these ones though, so we thought we’d give them a go anyway. Even though we don’t hold out much hope of them germinating!

We were advised by the same friend to cut off the tops of each bulbil with scissors to enable the bulbil to send a shoot more easily. Otherwise, they have formed extremely hard cases which would make it difficult for them to germinate. We then pressed each one into the compost. There is just multipurpose compost in the trough which we watered to settle the compost prior to pushing the bulbils in.

Last up, we have the Toughball onions. These are a small onion variety, which usually grow to 8oz to 10oz although they can go bigger in the right conditions and if you let them! These were sown from seed back in September, and have been growing in cell trays that are about 1 inch square since they were pricked out.

We are going to try these in troughs too, as they don’t need much root depth and by growing them in containers, they won’t be stuck somewhere in the garden that we decide to re-landscape at some points in a few months’ time! We filled the troughs with a mixture of garden soil and multipurpose compost as onions don’t need a particularly rich medium to grow in. And if they are given something too rich, they tend to grow very large, juicy leaves and not much onion!

Once filled, we gave the troughs a light watering to settle the compost and then marked out with our finger where the plants would go. When filling, we also helped settle the compost by lifting the trough a couple of inches off the ground, and then gently dropping it.

We find it helpful to mark out where you’re going to plant each plant, with lots of different things, not just onions, as it can help you plan and make sure things are evenly spaced across the whole container/bed, rather than being spaced out towards the beginning and squished up at the end as you find you have more plants than you expected left to fit in!

As you can see, even though the plants only have a little cell that they’ve been growing in, they still have a good root system going!

As we’ve said before, it’s usually easiest to get plants out of their cell trays when they are relatively dry. These were a little on the wet side unfortunately, but we did our best to get them out of the cells with their compost and roots intact. Where this isn’t possible, providing the roots are intact, the plant should still be fine so it’s definitely worth planting out anyway.

As with all of our plants, we gently settle the compost round the plants when we’re planting out to help their stability.

That’s all from us for now, but we’ll give you a bit off an update on our new garden project over the coming weeks. We’re also hoping to do a series of “How to…” posts over the winter months when there’s not much growing to hopefully inspire some of you for next year. If there’s anything you’d like to hear about in particular, please get in touch and we’ll do our best to cover it!

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