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How to plant indoors

How to plant indoors



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How to plant indoors for spring

Now is a great time to plant out pots you've had for winter. We’ve had weather so cold and rainy that we’ve been lucky if we had a decent planting. So we’ve been hunkering down in our beds, waiting for spring to really move in.

With rain threatening and forecasts showing only light showers in the next few days, our forecasts for the coming week are great for growing herbs!

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We’re predicting that when we start to plant next week, we’ll have been getting some sunshine, and you can expect many of our early spring veggies to be in good condition and ready to plant.

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So the following pages will contain some information and advice for you to ensure you can bring your garden indoors successfully with minimum effort, avoiding the problems so many have been having this winter.

We will start with a list of suggestions and advice, then follow it up with pictures of some of the tools you'll need. As some may know already, I have an indoor garden on my 'growing floor'.

1. Where to put your planter

When we put our planters and pots outdoors to overwinter, we make sure that the garden is kept free from rain, so that they have dry beds when we bring them back inside. If the pots sit in the shed, and are not brought in every day, they will begin to take up moisture and develop mould.

What you should be doing now is preparing the beds for the new season. If you don't already have a raised bed, now is the time to put it together. The raised bed we use is about 40cm deep and 30cm wide. The idea is that you create a raised bed using poles for support, which will be about 30cm in length. They will sit on top of the soil or cinder block base you already have. Then the soil you use will sit on top of this.

Ideally we would like to create the raised bed each year, so it grows out over time. This way we don't have to create it from scratch each year.

Cinder blocks are not the best foundation for a raised bed as the block is quite heavy. Our bed has some bricks around it, which help provide good support. If you use bricks or wood, you will need to ensure that the base of the bed is strong enough to support the weight of the soil. You can use bricks and stones to create a base for your beds, but as bricks and stones are heavy you will need to consider what sort of weight you will be bringing in with your plants and seeds.

Pots with flat bases aren't suitable for use in a raised bed, as they would shift around and start to collapse if they were placed on the blocks. So don't put pots in the bed, as the chances are they would be out of shape or move.

2. Where to store your pots

The other thing you should do is store pots in a warm, dry place. It's possible to store them in your kitchen for a couple of months if the temperature is within a couple of degrees of room temperature. If your kitchen is cooler than this, you could buy a cooling bulb. This will ensure that the pots are kept warm.

In a dark, cupboard is ideal for plants. A lot of plants can be found in these locations in stores, so all you have to do is find one you like, buy it and then plant it. The worst that will happen is that you won't like it.

3. Watering

The most important thing you can do is give the plants plenty of water. If you get the water in the pots from below, you may risk condensation problems. It may be best to water from above, as that way you can make sure the water is not too hot. You can add a bit of bleach to your water to help disinfect it.

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Another thing to do is to have good drainage, so that if you water a pot, the water doesn't run off the edge of the pot. Putting the pot back in the correct position after water, is a good idea. Some people will say not to move plants when watering, but we do move the plants around to help them grow. So do your research.

4. Hardening off

We have a process we use, called 'hardening off' that involves giving our plants their last big shock before they leave us for the winter.

When the weather gets cold, the ground will start to freeze. The plants are then given some time in the coldest part of the greenhouse, with just the pots on a stool above the heating.

If you do this, they get used to being in the cold, and don't get as cold themselves. When they are moved into the greenhouse, the plants don't get too cold, and that will help them develop more quickly when they are planted in the garden.

By the way, if you're still using a 'growing table', then the practice of 'hardening off' should also be done on that.

5. Starting to plant

If the forecast is correct and you're expecting some sunlight for the next week, you can start to plant pots that you have in a greenhouse, or that have been in a cool shed for the winter.

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There are a number of ways you can do this. Firstly, the best time to start