The story so far… having agonised about when and what to plant in my six window boxes, I’d finally taken the plunge and removed all the old plants, cleaned the boxes and refilled them with some good drainage material and soil.
As nice as these look on a window ledge it seemed a better idea to actually fill them with something!
Some general principles first from my own experiences:
- Clear a good sized space (a kitchen table is ideal) and cover it with newspaper or some other throw-away material. You’ll be so glad at the end of a messy planting session if you can largely just fold the mess up and place it in a handy bin.
- No matter how well you cover everything you will still make a mess in an area about 50% bigger than you’ve covered. A broom, brush and dustpan are always handy.
- Gather together the tools you’ll need for the job before you start. In my case this meant getting the box for mixing soil, the soil itself, fertiliser and vermiculite all handily arranged closely enough that I could trip over them and spill them with an errant elbow. A plastic trowel and hand fork thing (I have no idea about the right names for things) are required as is a couple of spare pots the same size as this you will be taking the plants from.
- Plants can be lined up on bunkers nearby – edges of tables are an accident waiting to happen and no-one wants to see plants that have been raised from seed, with months of tender loving care, ending up in a splash of soil on the floor. Putting them on the floor isn’t such a bad idea either so long as you remember where your feet are.
- You will definitely forget something – just hope that it isn’t something that needs to be bought. An inventory is a good idea but even this will likely fail you. Try months of thinking about it, which surprisingly, is quite effective. This might lead to the alternative problem though which is to have about 30 litres extra soil lying around the house after finishing.
- If at all possible I would recommend spending weeks of idle time inventing new and different ways to work out your planting scheme. At the last minute you should throw all these plans away and go “with gut instinct” – despite having no idea of what you are doing. For once I actually resisted this temptation and if I have the courage I’ll post a picture of my method of planting.
- Do an inventory of everything you are going to plant. This was a serious help to me and stopped me trying to plant 15 geraniums when I only had 10. Apparently that’s not possible.
- Give yourself some time to do it all, there’s no joy in rushing it. As I was taking pictures of every step it took a lot longer but in all the six boxes took a four or five hours to plant. There might have been some cups of tea and biscuits in there but then that’s important ‘reflection time’ isn’t it?
- Finally, a good pair of gloves are really worthwhile. No one wants to finish up by spending another hour trying to remove dirt from fingernails and between toes – don’t ask. Shoes might be good too.