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Planting out

Planting out is a job most of us take on some time in the year. Most plants grown in pots can be planted year-round, but if you plant out in dry weather, make sure you water regularly to avoid drying out.

There is information on planting out: sitting down and from a wheelchair; with sight loss; with a weak grip; with one hand; if you can't bend easily

Top tips to make planting out easier

  • Modilar seed trays
    Grow your seedlings in modular seed trays or small individual pots, so there is no need for pricking out and the plants can be transferred outside, after the danger of frost has passed.
  • You might find it easier to plant out into raised beds, or containers that are permanently in place. Find out more about raised beds
  • When planting out at ground level, it will help if your garden beds are narrow enough to be reached without stepping on the bed. Prepare the soil well before planting and consider laying down a weed-suppressing membrane first. Cut crosses in the membrane for each plant and after planting, lay gravel, bark or other mulch to cover the membrane. A mulch laid directly on the soil will also cut down weeds and help to save moisture.
  • Pots used as spacers in compost
    If you are planting a new bed, lay your plants in their pots in the space first. Leave enough space for the plants to grow to their final size. Only plant small sections at a time, don’t rush to do everything at once.
  • Prepare the planting hole to the right depth by placing the pot in the hole and checking the soil will come up to the same height on the plant as the soil in the pot.

Taking care

  • Planting involves digging, bending and lifting and so can put a strain on the back, arms and hands. Make sure you take breaks when you feel tired.
  • Take care when lifting and carrying heavy pots - a lightweight barrow might be a good solution, or use a trolley, or pot wheels.

Equipment and tools

In this section, there is general information on equipment and tools for planting out, and a few examples of things that you might find helpful.

You can see the full range of equipment for planting out, and search for equipment and tools which are easier for people with a specific disability to use, in Equipment and tools to help you

  • Planting out
    Dig the planting hole with a tool that suits you. A long handled trowel with a fist-grip style handle and arm support might be best, or if you are level with the soil, try a trowel with a wide, comfortable grip.
  • A stainless steel border spade is lighter than a standard spade. Look for models with wide spongy handles.
  • For smaller plants, you could try a bulb planter to extract the soil and drop in the plant. This is an easy method, but make sure that you can manage the actions involved.
  • Take everything you need with you – watering can, trowel, dibber, kneeler, labels and so on, but don’t overload your barrow – you might need to do it in relays.
  • A tool belt or an apron with a pocket might be helpful to carry smaller tools.

Bulb planter  

Bulb planter

Simply push the tapered body of this tool into the soil and squeeze the handle to remove a plug of soil. Suitable for planting bulbs and small plants.

Find out more about bulb planter

Peta long reach Easi-Grip hand tools  

Peta long reach Easi-Grip hand tools

These long but light steel tools have soft grip handles that are at right angles to the tool head. This allows the wrist and hand to be held in a neutral position which reduces strain.

Find out more about Peta long reach Easi-Grip hand tools

Folding kneeler stool  

Folding kneeler stool

Lightweight kneeler and stool can be folded flat for easy storage.

Find out more about Folding kneeler stool

Lightweight gardening gloves  

Lightweight gardening gloves

Thin and light to wear these gloves are tough and will protect your hands but leave you with the dexterity to weed, sow seeds, pot on or plant out.

Find out more about Lightweight gardening gloves