Sunday, 10 May 2009

Planting out the collection

Part of the collection growing in a polytunnel
We are at the most traumatic time for anyone growing Cannas in a large volume in the northern hemisphere. The 10 day-ahead weather forecast, the 'longest reach' that we dare go to in the variable climate of the UK, tells us that there will be no frosts up to the 18th May, when the overnight temperature will be a Canna friendly 8C. However, I cannot recall a May when we did not have frost, is this the first one?

The Canna beds waiting to be dug and fertilized
The collection is growing away inside the polytunnels quite happily, and so do we steal a march on the growing season and plant the 230 stock plants outside now, or do we wait until nearer to the end of the month? Do we risk the collection for a few weeks of extra growth? That growth could be the difference between another disappointing year and a great success.

In the meantime, as the result of failure is not so high, we have planted out our vegetables, potatoes, runner beans and our sweet corn, all will be destroyed by a late frost. But all we have to do then is buy another packet of seeds, but with the Canna collection we have responsibility for dozens of plants that are not readily available elsewhere, or at all.

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