GARDENING

Gardening with James Vaughan: Re-potting plants and strawberry season

James Vaughan

Reporter:

James Vaughan

Email:

news@tipperarylive.ie

Gardening with James Vaughan: Re-potting plants and strawberry season

Strawberry flower and fruit

The Sunflower seeds that we sowed two weeks ago have germinated and are ready to transplant. These will be potted on into individual three-inch (9 CM) pots. As they outgrow these pots they will be potted on into larger pots. They will then be finally potted on into five litre pots.
The reason for re-potting the plants several times is to get the growth rate right. You do not want the plants to grow too much at the early stage of growth. This will produce ‘soft’ growth which will make the plant more susceptible to disease and damage.
This same rule about re-potting applies to all pot grown plants - not just Sunflowers. If you have any potted plants, especially house plants, then a basic potting rule applies. When re-potting, choose a pot that is only slightly bigger than the one it is presently in.
A good rule of thumb is that you should only barely be able to fit your fingers between the existing pot size and the new one. This ensures the plant grows at a steady pace.

Strawberry plants/flowers
Our Strawberry plants have produced lots of flowers at this point in time. The flowers are insignificant and white in colour. We would hope to be harvesting our first strawberries before the end of next month. The plants produce a primary crop of large fruit but also later, subsequent, crop - usually consisting of smaller fruit.
We have only two types of strawberry planted in our garden- Cambridge Favourite and Elsanta. Elsanta is the variety of strwberry most found for sale in supermarkets. Supermarkets stock it not because of its great flavour but because of its long shelf life. In fact, in the trade it is known as the ‘bouncing strawberry’, so robust are its fruits. While providing great looking fruit it is lacking in flavour.
The other variety, Cambridge Favourite, has much better flavour - the drawback is the fruit bruise easily and are short-lived. These are two of the main reasons you will not see this for sale in the supermarkets. Still, it is worth growing if only for the superior flavour. There are many, many other varieties of strawberry available - it’s always interesting to try something new.

Plant and Flower Shows
We are heading into the garden show season now with several shows upcoming- Mallow home and garden show is happening from May 24-26. Bloom in the Phoenix Park is being held from May 30 until June 3. I would recommend attending at least one show each year. It gives gardeners great ideas and inspiration to take back to their own gardens. We attended the rare and special plant fair 2019 in Glin Castle on Sunday, May 12. It was great to see exhibitors from all parts of Ireland at the show. We also got a chance to wander through the garden - it really was something special.
Contact James by email: james.vaughan1020@gmail.com