Hanging Baskets and Hardening Off

This week in the garden

It is time to harden off the tomatoes and courgettes we started off in the greenhouse to get them ready for planting outside. Plants are constantly adapting and responding to their environment, however they need time in order to do this.

Plants raised indoors or in a greenhouse need to be aclimatised to cooler temperatures, lower humidity and increased air movement before they are planted outdoors. This ‘toughening up’ process is known as hardening off.

Why harden off plants? Hardening off allows plants to adapt from being in a protected, stable environment to changeable, harsher outdoor conditions. If suddenly placed outside, the shock can severely check a plant’s growth. Although plants usually recover eventually, hardening off is thought to be preferable to a sudden shock. The effect of hardening off is to thicken and alter the plant’s leaf structure and increase leaf waxiness. It ensures new growth is sturdy although growth will be much slower than in the greenhouse.  If you want to read more follow this link

We will be placing the plants in the cold frames to harden them off. Both the frames behind the upper and lower greenhouses are extremely weedy so we will weed them first.

We have been doing well with plant sales, and the result is that we need to sow more seeds so we have plants to sell later on in the summer!  We will be sowing a new lot of bush tomatoes, and some ornamental. We will also need to prick out some seedlings.

The vine in the greenhouse is putting on a lot of new growth. If you look carefully you can see the new clusters of flowers where the grapes will later emerge. Generally we will pinch out the stem after one or at the most two clusters of grapes. In this way we are encouraging the plant to put its energy into producing grapes and not just more leaves. The other reason for pinching out new growth in spring / summer is to keep a good air flow around the plant which will discourage the growth of mildews and help to keep the vine healthy.

Around the garden there are plenty of jobs to do to keep our vegetables growing well including, weeding watering and thinning out.

On Thursday 24th May we have our monthly volunteers meeting at 3.30pm

On Saturday 26th May, Andy’s running a workshop on How to Make a Window Box. There are two concession tickets still available for BPCG volunteers. Book here.

On Sunday 27th May, Cat’s running a hanging basket workshop from 11am to 12.30pm, where she will help you learn how to create marvelous hanging baskets for year round displays. We have grown masses of lovely colourful and edible plants for the workshop (featured here in our photo) so you should come away with something quite special!  Book here.

 

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