It’s still early for veg plants…

We had some strong easterly winds last week, heavy rainfall, and there’s a cold spell forecast in the next few days. It’s still very early in the season to be planting out veggies, particularly more vulnerable crops like squashes and beans. If yours are already planted out, or if you’re expecting a delivery from us in the next few days, please read this so that you can give your veggies their best chance!

We would recommend planting out from mid to late May through to early June to be more confident of weather conditions, and to give plants their best start. We know that many of our customers prefer to start planting earlier so that they can enjoy time in their garden. So, with this is mind here are a few tips.

Leafy veg, brassicas, root veg and onions/leeks are quite tough and can be planted out with some confidence.

You should still keep an eye on them, especially in strong winds as they are still quite vulnerable. If they show signs of distress (usually foliage being discoloured or general wilting) they may need a little protection. Horticultural fleece is usually sufficient protection for these plant types.

Fruiting plants need more protection, so plant with caution

Those plants that bear fruits (tomatoes, beans, sweetcorn, courgette, squash, cucumber, peas) do not thrive in these colder, windier conditions or early spring, so we would recommend you protect them. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Temporarily plant the more vulnerable seedlings in a little compost in their punnets and keep them in a greenhouse/front porch/sunny windowsill until the weather warms up. Don’t forget to water them! When you are ready to plant you can gently ease them out, one by one, and plant as normal. BTW, this is our preferred option, and most likely to keep your plants safe!
  2. If you decide to plant out, or if you already have yours in the ground, be sure to protect the plants from cold/wind.
    1. Use a cloche (you can make little cloches out of old plastic bottles)
    2. Build a mini poly-tunnel to cover them
    3. Lay a sheet of horticultural fleece over the top of the rows.

Don’t forget, you can move plants again if necessary. It is not ideal, but a squash plant that has been planted out is more likely to survive being carefully dug up, planted in a pot and relocated to a greenhouse than to survive a frost.