It’s a busy and crowded time of year in the edible garden, so it’s easy to forget to continue sowing and growing seedlings for the next season of crops. If you sow your own seeds in big pots (10cm square or bigger) or transplant boughten seedlings from punnets into larger individual pots, you’ll have more mature plants ready to fill a space in your garden. You’ll also find they’ll be less stressed on a hot day as bigger pots hold more moisture and dry out less quickly. Often plants ‘bolt’ or go to seed quickly when they’re planted out due to being stressed in their pots. Usually that stress is caused by heat, dryness or lack of space (or all three). You can keep pots in a shadier spot than your main garden but they are still likely to need watering daily. If the seedlings are there more than a week, a weekly seaweed-tea watering will give them a boost.
I bought some lovely ‘plug’ plant lettuces at the farmers’ market and potted them up for a week or so before I had space to plant them in the garden. Their roots were just getting to the bottom of the pot when I transplanted them and they’ve since done really well in the garden under shade cloth.