How to: Plant a plant
Here’s a basic step-by-step guide to planting something in your garden. While the steps below might need to be adjusted depending on your soil or site, or for plants with special needs, these general principles should get you started for the majority of situations.
Step 1: Clearing
If you’re looking to turn lawn into garden, one approach is to mark out the desired garden area and cut the turf out with a spade square by square. If you’re not in a rush to plant your new garden, cover the area with a tarp or cardboard and leave over winter for spring planting. If it’s an existing garden bed, try to clear as many weeds as possible so they don’t smother your new plants. See more information on preparing your soil for planting on our journal.
Step 2: Digging
Dig a hole slightly deeper than the height of your plant pot and one and a half times as wide. Make sure the sides and bottom of the hole are rough – smooth sides discourage roots from spreading out. If you have clay soil with particularly poor drainage, consider digging a thin channel going downhill and backfill it with soft soil. This will allow water to seep out in heavy rain.
Step 3: Enrich the soil
A great way to give your plant a head-start is to enrich the soil when you plant it. Sheep pellets are perfect for this as they add nutrients while conditioning the soil to encourage beneficial microbes. If you’ve dug into clay consider also adding a fine layer of gypsum AKA Clay Breaker, which helps break down the clay without changing its pH. See more information on planting into clay soil on our journal.
Step 4: Root Soak
The best way to ensure that your plant has a sufficient first drink is to root soak before planting it. Lower your plant into a bucket or wheelbarrow filled with water (you can also add liquid fertiliser) and submerge until the bubbles have ceased.
Step 5: Free up bound roots
If your plant has been in a pot for a long time it may be rootbound. This means its roots will be tightly tangled at the sides and bottom of the pot. Use your fingers to tease some of them loose – don’t worry if you lose a few smaller ones.