SIMPLE TASK: Gardening columnist Chelsea Van Rijn gets busy in the garden.
SIMPLE TASK: Gardening columnist Chelsea Van Rijn gets busy in the garden. Contributed

Enjoy getting your hands dirty

FOR many of us playing in the garden usually involves at some stage planting new plants.

There are a few people out there who have never planted a plant - poor souls. Luckily, many of these lost souls are trying to remedy the situation and are turning their clean-fingernailed hands into dirty green thumbs.

A question I am quite often asked by these lost souls is how to plant a plant in a garden. It got me thinking "how do I plant a plant?" As per usual my answer is very simple. I'm a simple kind of girl!

  • Step 1 - Gather what you need - shovel, plant, garden soil, mulch, fertiliser, hose or watering can, drink and a chair.
  • Step 2 - Dig hole in ground twice as big as pot that the plant is in
  • Step 3 - Backfill hole with excellent quality garden soil, leaving enough space to still plant your plant.

The best quality garden soil usually contains composts, fertilisers and soil wetters. This gives your plants the best possible start to life. The better the soil the less time and money in the future you will need to spend on your plants.

Healthy soil is important to a plant's well-being as it provides essential nutrients, increases the soil's nutrient and water-holding capacity, while also creating an ideal environment for the many micro organisms that are essential to keeping the soil healthy.

  • Step 4 - Take plant out of pot. I find plants thrive better if they can spread their roots.

Plus, if a plant can spread its roots it has the ability to capture more water and nutrients enabling it to grow better.

  • Step 5 - Place plant, greenery side up, in hole. Fill around plant with excellent quality garden soil until entire hole and rootball is covered with soil.
  • Step 6 - Fertilise plant with Organic Link, a complete organic granular slow-release fertiliser. Your excellent quality garden soil will provide the nutrients needed for optimum plant growth. Nevertheless, to give plants that added boost an application of Organic Link will help. I use this fertiliser on all my plants new and old.
  • Step 7 - Spread mulch. Mulches preserve the moisture within the soil and suppress weeds. Organic mulches that break down and decompose are best.

The process of decomposition releases nutrients and organic matter which helps improve the soil. With most plants I put the mulch right up to the plant so all the new soil is covered.

  • Step 8 - Water well. Make sure you put your hose on low pressure and water well. Make sure ground is wet. I count to 50, then rest for 50 (to let water soak in), then count to 50 again. I do this at least four times for small plants and with bigger ones I will do this process at least 10 to 20 times, depending on size.
  • Step 9 - Get drink and chair - sit back and enjoy your handiwork.

New plants can take up to three months to get established, depending on size.

You will need to water well every two to three days if the weather is extremely hot every day. I also liquid-fertilise new plants with Triple Boost liquid fertiliser once a week.

Get dirty this weekend and go plant a plant.

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