Giving your plants the best start

Did you pick up some great plant bargains at our expo on the weekend? To give your new babies the best start in your garden, take a little extra care when transplanting them. Do you have any favourite tips? Here are a few suggestions:
starting-to-garden-gloves1. Before planting, water your potted plants until water is running out the bottom of the pots or soak in a diluted seasol (or equivalent) mixture for a few minutes. The seasol will stimulate root development and help lessen transplant shock.
2. Prepare a hole 3 to 4 times bigger than the pot your plant came in and at least 1 ½ times deeper. This is a good time to add organic matter to the soil you removed when digging the hole. You can use compost, leaf mould, well-rotted manure, or peat moss. Put some of this mixture back in the hole to form a base on which to place the plant.
3. Fill the hole with water or with diluted seasol mixture.
4. Loosen the soil in the pot carefully, place your hand over the top of the pot so that the plant is between two fingers, and invert the pot to remove the plant.
5. Check the roots. Small pots are often root bound and form a thick layer on the outside of the root ball. It is very important that you correct this, or the roots will keep growing round and round and never move out into the garden soil. Cut the roots on the sides and bottom of the root ball with a knife. This will not hurt the plant and in fact will stimulate it to produce more roots.
6. Place the plant into the hole and fill it half full of water. This process ensures that the roots are drenched and that no air pockets are in the soil near the roots.
7. Fill the hole with the remaining soil, making a raised ring of soil around the plant. This will create a small trench around the plant that you can fill with water until the plant is established. Water again.

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