Planting out is a job most of us take on some time in the year. Most plants grown in pots can be planted year-round, but if you plant out in dry weather, make sure you water regularly to avoid drying out.
Top tips to make planting out easier
- It will help if you can adapt your garden to avoid planting out at ground level. Raised beds bring the soil off the ground and you can vary the height of the beds to suit you. Find out more about raised beds
Planting in containers is also a good option. Vary the size and height of the pots and planters to suit your needs.
- When planting at ground level, try using a low kneeler or stool to sit on and use a long-reach handled trowel to dig your planting hole and to drop the plant into position. A bulb planter can also be used to create a planting hole for smaller plants.
- Planting out at ground level will be easier if your garden beds are narrow enough to be reached into without going on to the soil. If you are planting at ground level, try using a low kneeler or stool to sit on, and use a hand trowel or longer reach tool to dig and plant.
- If you’re planting a new bed you can avoid mistakes if you lay out your plants in their pots in the space first. Don’t forget to allow enough space for the plants to grow to their final size.
- Prepare the planting hole to the right depth by placing the pot in the hole and checking the soil will come up to the same height on the plant as the soil in the pot.
- Prepare the soil well before planting. Consider laying down a weed-suppressing membrane first. Cut crosses in the membrane for each plant and after planting, lay gravel, bark or other mulch to cover the membrane. A mulch laid directly on the soil will also cut down weeds and help to save moisture.
Planting can involve digging, bending and lifting and so can put a strain on the back and arms. Don’t strain to reach the soil surface.
- Avoid bending by using the right tools, such as a long reach trowel for digging and guiding the new plant into place.
- Do a little at a time and make sure you take breaks when you feel tired.
- Take care if you are lifting and carrying pots - a lightweight barrow might be a solution, or use a trolley.
Equipment and tools
Dig the planting hole with a tool that suits you. A long handled trowel might be best, or try a multi-change trowel, where you can change the handle length and have the option of working at different heights.
- To make planting smaller plants easier, you could try a bulb planter to extract the soil so you can then drop in the plant.
- If you are strong, you could try using a long handled round-point shovel to dig the hole without bending.
- A long reach grabber might be of help to move plants into position.
- Take everything with you. A tool belt or apron with pockets will help you carry small equipment. Consider using a garden cart for larger items.