Towards the mid/end of May, we receive a high number of enquiries from hopeful customers who are keen to grow but worried that they have left it too late to plant. Our answer is always the same – No, you have not left it too late at all!!! If we could choose to ship ALL our plants in just one week of the year, we would choose the last week of May every time. It is, in our humble (but very experienced) opinion, the best time to plant out.
- warmer nights cause less stress to plants and enable them to thrive
- longer daylight hours and warmer soil promote faster growth
- there is less risk of frost (which can destroy vulnerable crops like beans, squash and tomatoes)
- the cold winds ease and shift direction, bringing warmer, gentler breezes that cause less stress (much better for beans!)
- plants benefit from a couple of extra weeks in the warmth and shelter of the polytunnels before being planted out – they are a little more mature, stronger and more likely to withstand pest damage
Veg plants are not great lovers of either cold temperatures or high winds, and this is all the more true when the plants are young. To plant them out in late April or early May always brings with it the risk of exposing them to cold nights, frosts and strong winds, meaning that they are less likely to thrive. This May has been unusually windy, and we’ve had some cold nights with frosts in the early hours of the morning (which are not always visible as they melt away within an hour or two, before we all get out of bed!) We’ve had several reports of friends, family and customers who have planted out their veggies only to lose them to the cold, windy weather.
So, what we’re saying is, if you haven’t yet planted out, don’t worry… You’re more likely to have a successful growing season by planting in the next 2-3 weeks and you’ll get just as good a harvest (if not better)!