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
Grow your seedlings in modular seed trays or small individual pots, so there is no need for pricking out and the plants can be transferred outside, after the danger of frost has passed.
- You might find it easier to plant out into raised beds, or containers that are permanently in place. Find out more about raised beds
- When planting out at ground level, it will help if your garden beds are narrow enough to be reached without stepping on the bed. Prepare the soil well before planting and 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.
If you are planting a new bed, lay your plants in their pots in the space first. Leave enough space for the plants to grow to their final size. Only plant small sections at a time, don’t rush to do everything at once.
- 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.
- Planting involves digging, bending and lifting and so can put a strain on the back, arms and hands. Make sure you take breaks when you feel tired.
- Take care when lifting and carrying heavy pots - a lightweight barrow might be a good solution, or use a trolley, or pot wheels.
Equipment and tools
Dig the planting hole with a tool that suits you. A long handled trowel with a fist-grip style handle and arm support might be best, or if you are level with the soil, try a trowel with a wide, comfortable grip.
- A stainless steel border spade is lighter than a standard spade. Look for models with wide spongy handles.
- For smaller plants, you could try a bulb planter to extract the soil and drop in the plant. This is an easy method, but make sure that you can manage the actions involved.
- Take everything you need with you – watering can, trowel, dibber, kneeler, labels and so on, but don’t overload your barrow – you might need to do it in relays.
- A tool belt or an apron with a pocket might be helpful to carry smaller tools.