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Coronavirus update Last updated 9th July 16:00

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In line with guidance from the Government and to help look after our colleagues, most of our team are now working from home and are taking calls. However, waiting times are longer than normal and the quality of the call may not be as clear as if we were talking to you from our call centre. We're committed to supporting you in the best way we can and will be here throughout to keep you updated so make sure to check back regularly.

At this time, please help us to prioritise essential calls by using our online services.

  • If you're a car customer you can use MyAccount or the app to make policy changes or payments, including changing your payment date, checking your documents or to report or track a claim (MyAccount only).
  • If you're a home, bike or van customer, you can make policy changes or requests using our online forms.

If you do phone, we may only be able to deal with your query if:

  • Your policy is due to renew and you're concerned it's no longer suitable for you or you're thinking of cancelling your insurance, or
  • You are worried about making future payments, or
  • You're in a vulnerable situation or an NHS or frontline health care worker who can't easily access our online services, or
  • You need to make a claim and your vehicle is un-driveable or if you need urgent roadside assistance.

For all other queries, including buying a new policy, please first read our Coronavirus FAQs for the latest advice and help to use our online services.

Our opening hours have changed to: Monday to Friday 9am-6pm and Saturday 10am-2pm.

Read our Coronavirus FAQs

Hastings Direct.
i

Coronavirus update Last updated 9th July 16:00

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  • We hope you and those close to you are keeping safe. Our teams are now working from home so we're very sorry if you notice the sound quality isn't as good as usual or you experience periods of silence. We're working hard on improving this so please bear with us.
  • Please help us prioritise urgent calls by only phoning us if you want to discuss your renewal or you're thinking of cancelling your insurance, or you're in financial difficulties and you're worried about payments, or you're an NHS or frontline healthcare worker.
  • For anything else, you can now manage your policy online. For latest advice and help to use our online tools, read our Coronavirus FAQs.

In line with guidance from the Government and to help look after our colleagues, most of our team are now working from home and are taking calls. However, waiting times are longer than normal and the quality of the call may not be as clear as if we were talking to you from our call centre. We're committed to supporting you in the best way we can and will be here throughout to keep you updated so make sure to check back regularly.

At this time, please help us to prioritise essential calls by using our online services.

  • If you're a car customer you can use MyAccount or the app to make policy changes or payments, including changing your payment date, checking your documents or to report or track a claim (MyAccount only).
  • If you're a home, bike or van customer, you can make policy changes or requests using our online forms.

If you do phone, we may only be able to deal with your query if:

  • Your policy is due to renew and you're concerned it's no longer suitable for you or you're thinking of cancelling your insurance, or
  • You are worried about making future payments, or
  • You're in a vulnerable situation or an NHS or frontline health care worker who can't easily access our online services, or
  • You need to make a claim and your vehicle is un-driveable or if you need urgent roadside assistance.

For all other queries, including buying a new policy, please first read our Coronavirus FAQs for the latest advice and help to use our online services.

Our opening hours have changed to: Monday to Friday 9am-6pm and Saturday 10am-2pm.

Read our Coronavirus FAQs

A beginner's guide to propagation

Person adding soil to a pot.

The warmer months motivate many of us to step outside and get gardening. This year, rather than buying plants, why not have a go at growing your own? It's much more rewarding and can save you some cash, too.

We've put together this handy guide for green-fingered beginners, explaining all you need to know about plant propagation.

What exactly is propagation?

Propagation is the term used to describe the process of growing new plants from seeds, cuttings and other parts such as roots. There are a number of ways you can propagate plants, but sowing seeds is a good place to start.

Sowing seeds

Sowing seeds is something the whole family can get involved in. Opt for seeds like cress or peas if you've got kids – they'll love watching them grow, not to mention eating them at the end!

Depending on the seed, you can sow directly outside into prepared soil, or you may need to start them off in a propagator to allow them to germinate. Then they can be transferred to your chosen space.

Gardeners' World has some handy tutorials on sowing small seeds and large seeds, and has shared some tips for germinating success, which include:

  • Choose fresh seeds for the best and quickest results.
  • Follow the instructions on the packet for timing, temperature, light levels and sowing depth.
  • Label pots and seed trays so you don't forget what you've sown!
  • Water-in newly sown seeds.
  • Protect seeds from squirrels, mice and cats with mesh or wire netting.

Propagators

Propagators are essentially incubators for seeds, made up of a plastic cover, tray and growing pockets where you place the compost and seeds. It stays indoors, meaning you can kick-off the germination process when it's still too cold to plant outdoors.

As a beginner, you may want to start off with tomatoes, runner beans, chillies or sweet peas. You'll need to fill the tray with seed and cutting compost, before sowing the seeds as per the instructions. Once sown, you should sieve compost over the seeds so they're at the correct depth, then use a watering can with a rose head to gently water them.

Propagators should be placed somewhere warm, but not in direct sunlight. A sunny window sill is perfect – but make sure you turn the tray regularly to encourage even growth.

Using cuttings

You can also propagate using plant cuttings. The process is different, but it means you grow identical replicas of your favourite plants in your garden. You can use the stem, side shoots, leaves or roots – either taking softwood cuttings (the young growth tips on the plant) or hardwood (the less flexible branch material).

All you need to propagate using cuttings is a sharp knife, some rooting gel and a designated planting spot in your garden.

Transferring your plants

The general rule is, when your plants have grown three or four true leaves, they're ready to plant in the garden, explains Gardening Know How. The plants will need to be hardened off, which means acclimatising them to the cooler temperatures.

As the RHS notes, hardening off takes place in gradual stages, which includes moving them to a cold glasshouse and a well-ventilated cold frame before transferring them to their new home.

When they're ready to plant out, Grow Veg advises to firm the soil around the plant and water well to ensure the roots stay moist. When you transfer plants, growth is usually set back by one or two weeks as the roots establish themselves.

Do you have any tried-and-tested tips for growing your own plants?

Home insurance

At Hastings Direct, we know how important your home and its contents are to you. That's why we offer home insurance that covers you for the unexpected expense that theft, loss and damage can bring. Plus you can choose from a great range of optional extras.

Join us...