How to look after your plants
Thursday, 30th May 2024 by Alice Holden
snail on leaf

Did you buy plants at one of our recent plant sales?

Here are Dagenham grower Alice Holden's top tips to help them flourish once you get them home.

child, baby in pushchair and carer holding plants and green vegetables

Plants, like us, need certain conditions to thrive. If they are struggling it usually comes down to one of these elements: light, warmth, water, space, protection and food. In a plant's case, food, in a nature-friendly system comes via its roots from healthy soil. 

Run through these things and, most of the time, if there's something wrong, it will become apparent. Here are some helpful things to know on each:


As long as plants are outside we are in the part of the year with the longest days so this should not be a problem as long as plants are not completely over shaded. 


From now until the first frost this should also be adequate for outdoor plants in the UK.


If you put your finger in the soil you should be able to feel at least a little moisture. You do not want it to be completely dry or water-logged.


Plants need space to grow and won't thrive if they are overcrowded. You can carefully move plants if this is the case. Some climbing types of beans, tomatoes and cucumbers need support, so will need something to climb up, such as a trellis, or string tied between bamboo or other long, strong poles. Most plants do not like to be buffeted too much by the elements, so with any climbing plant make sure what they are climbing up is solid and they are attached securely. If you are growing on a windy balcony, use a screen to protect the lower part of your plants.


Some plants are particularly delicious to pests. To give them a head start (the plants, not the pests!), you may need to cover them. I use a fine mesh netting for all brassicas (kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts and cabbages) and sometimes for other young crops to give them a chance while they are not yet strong with their roots planted firmly in the ground. 

Author name: 
Alice Holden