Having gathered everything together, and concocted a planting scheme, the next step was to systematically work my way through each box, trying not to mix everything up on the way.
Counting all the possible seedlings and plants, I had 105 plants at my disposal, six of which were shop-bought. The geraniums and marigold, which had been on the go for the longest time, were quite sturdy and matched up well to the purchased plants. Others like the verbena, brachycome and nasturium were much smaller and leggier.
This made me wonder whether I was doing the right thing in planting them now but I didn’t think they were going to improve much more being kept inside rather than being outside and having time to root properly so these five plants made up the core of my planting scheme. Overall I knew I needed about 75 plants so the remaining ones would be kept as spares and will provide a comparison in terms of development.
Next step was to make up some more soil mix which would fill up the boxes once the new plants were planted.
It started off with about 16 litres of clumpy peat-free multipurpose compost.
This was given a thorough forking to break it up, sometimes this necessitated breaking it up by hand when some bits just refused to break down.
For the top soil I just mixed in vemiculite for drainage and slow-release fertiliser which I think will keep the boxes well fed. I left out the moisture crystals here because they have a tendency to bob to the top or sit above the soil when they’ve been watered. This doesn’t look very attractive and I’m not sure it’s very helpful either so they’ve effectively been buried about two inches deep where they should still do their job.
So after a healthy mix of ingredients we were ready to get on with the planting!