Before you start to plant.
· Have a good look at the site and choose what to plant and order your plants early. It takes time to grow tubestock to the right planting size. Ordering early increases you likelihood of getting the plants you want in the numbers you need.
· Make sure the site is well prepared in advance of planting the tubestock. The best results come from ripping the site where possible and making sure the site is weed free and rabbit free. It may be necessary to apply herbicide to kill the weeds and 2 application may be required.
· Clay soils have the ability to hold water well but the disadvantage is that the drainage and aeration will be poor, just as it would be in a compacted soil. Digging gypsum through the soil at the rate of 1kg per square metre helps to break up the clay.
· Compost is also a very good soil conditioner, which can be dug through a new garden bed up by digging it through the soil with a fork. This improves the soil structure which aids aeration to plant roots, enables roots to grow freely in the soil, encourages soil life such as worms which add humus to the soil and improves drainage so roots are not water logged. It is also a good idea to raise the garden bed to aid drainage.
· Check for soil pH by using a simple soil pH test kit, which can be obtained from a local garden centre. Simply follow the directions on the soil test kit. If the pH is above neutral (7), agricultural sulphur can be incorporated into the soil. If the pH is below, dolomite lime can be dug through the soil. It is good to keep the soil at a neutral level so the elements are available to the plant at the right rate.
· The planting, once the first good autumn rain has fallen
· In the home garden make sure you have chosen a position suited to the needs of the plant, for example full sun, moist soils etc. Dig a hole a little deeper than and twice as wide as the pot, in fill slightly to allow the roots to start growing through the soil. Do not dig a hole and fill it with compost if the site has a clay soil at the plant may become water logged and die.
· Make sure the plants are well watered before planting and it is a good idea to submerge the tray of plants in water until the bubbles and then allow to drain