GARDENING TIPS

BASIC GARDENING TIPS FOR BEGINNERS

You've decided to plant a garden but you need basic gardening tips for beginners, this is the place to be. Gardening has become a delightful hobby for people all over the world.

There are many rewards for the gardener, the visuals of his creation, the scent of the blooms, great fresh air and lots of exercise. Imagine a weekend spent in the yard with your feet up, drinking in the spectacular garden that you have created, enjoying the fruits of your labour and love. If you are a beginner gardener, here are some basic gardening tips. No matter how much room you have, you can create a masterpiece garden.

The basic garden tips for beginners will help you create new gardens and make it a successful and joyful experience. In the beginning go slowly, start small but use your imagination. Choose a project that will not take a long time to complete. If it takes you weeks to finish a project you will get frustrated and start to hate the project you wanted to enjoy. Even if you have 75 or 100 square feet you will be amazed at how much you can plant.
 
If you are determined to have a larger project, then work in sections and turn your attention to one area at a time. This way as each section is finished you can enjoy that completed job. This will also build up your confidence as you go along making the next section not so daunting.

But for a beginner gardener a small scale garden is optimal. You are going to have to learn the basics of gardening, all about disease, the best way to control weeds and pests, the all important watering and when and how to fertilise. After your initial project you can enlarge the garden or plant one somewhere else in your yard with your new found confidence.

To cut down on the weeding of your garden, place mulch around the plants. This serves three purposes; it cuts down on weeding, as well as aiding in temperature control and water retention. Granted there are some gardeners that love to work the soil and weed the plants but it would be more rewarding to tending to the plants or just watching them grow. To maintain really healthy plants water for longer periods of time but less frequently. Do not let the plants dry out. Always water early in the morning so the plant leaves have time to dry out during the day which helps prevent fungal disease.

After planting, try to have your garden remain pesticide free. An especially good natural deterrent is as follows:

In a jar, combine 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid and 1 cup vegetable oil. Shake vigorously. In an empty spray bottle, combine 2 teaspoons of this mixture and 1 cup water. Use at ten-day intervals (or more often if needed) to rid plants of whiteflies, mites, aphids, scales, and other pests.
 
These are the basic gardening tips for beginners. Remember, that you can create lovely gardens in containers which you can move around as you please. There are hundreds of different plant combinations and containers that you can use for a container garden. The basic tip here is that container gardens will dry out much faster than the plants in the ground so be vigilant about checking them for moisture.

Happy Gardening And Good Luck!

 

Article by Mary Hanna

 

Mary Hanna is an aspiring herbalist who lives in Central Florida. This allows her to grow gardens inside and outside year round.


7 BASIC TIPS FOR NEW GARDENERS

Gardening is a simple and gratifying hobby that is enjoyed by millions. A gardener can manage one or two containers on a balcony to a complex lot that spans several acres. Regardless of the size of the garden, the basic rules to maintain the garden are generally the same. Here are several basic tips for the new gardeners:

Right place - Make sure to plant the flowers, fruits, or vegetables in the right place to match the specific type of plant. Avoid trying to suit a plant to an empty plot, as successful growth isn't likely to be achieved if the right shady, moist, dry, or hot spot isn't provided.
 
Mature growth - The full size of a plant, shrub, or tree should be considered when planning the garden landscape. A common mistake is to plant shrubs or trees too closely, and not appreciating the mature size after several seasons of growth. Compacted plants can leave the perennial bed looking overgrown and crowded.

Start small - Start out with a small bed or patch to give the new gardener time to hone their gardening skills. An ideal size is a single 25' X 25' patch or a 4' X 8' bed. Make sure to carefully plan the garden to increase the chance of enjoying successful growth and avoid improperly sited trees. A fruit-bearing tree planted in a less than ideal position is certain to cause a lot of trouble in 5 or 10 years should it need to be relocated.

Buy the basics - A varied selection of tools and supplies is certain to make planting and maintaining the garden easier. A basic tool collection should include hand tools (trowel, weed puller, cultivator, pruners, etc), hose, fertilisers, and protective gear (gloves, hat, sun block, etc).

Feed the soil - Give the soil a regular application of nutrient-rich materials to help promote strong growth of the plant life. Preferred soil amendments include well-rotted homemade compost, grass clippings, crushed leaves, and similar organic matter.
 
Mass the plants - Try to plant the small plants or flowers so that the leaves slightly overlap or touch to help with creating a micro-climate. This offers the benefit of minimising weed growth. Also, this make sure you see a lot more plants and colour in the garden, and a lot less soil between the plants.

Varied plant life - A garden landscape that relies on only flower colour isn't the most attractive option. A well-planned garden should also consider texture, foliage, and winter interest.

 

Article by Kyle Vail 


TOP 10 TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL GARDEN

These 10 top tips for a successful garden are not in any order, except for the first.

1. SOIL PREPARATION

This is the very foundation of a successful garden. If your soil is poor or the wrong type, then your gardening efforts will always be a struggle. All plants love and thrive in a well prepared soil.

Proviso - no matter how good your soil is, if the plant is the wrong type for your region, then it will always struggle or just die.. (e.g. plants that are susceptible to fungal disease will be handicapped in a tropical area)

Rule of thumb: a $.50 plant in a $5.00 hole is far better than a $5.00 plant in a $.50 hole.

2. DON'T BOTHER DIGGING OVER THE SOIL

If you soil is well composted and mulched there is little need to break your back and dig over those veg and flower beds. The natural action of the compost will keep the soil friable (and more so if you have plenty of worms. Mulch will keep weeds down and keep the soil at a more even temperature by retaining moisture better. Digging will simply set all this back.

3. BE ORGANIC

A healthy plant will normally be disease resistant as good organic care will help boost its natural immune system. If you need some form of pest control, using a natural based control is not only safer, it is better for the environment as a whole.

4. SQUARE FOOT GARDENING

This ingenious adaptation goes a long way to improving the production in your raised beds. It is planting in raised beds of squares of four feet by four and is more efficient that doing it in rows. Then, subdividing into one foot squares. And, according to what I have read, it works. It is raised beds on steroids.

5. MIX VEG & FRUIT WITH ORNAMENTALS (FLOWERS, SHRUBS ETC)

Lack space for a food garden? Then consider planting your veg in your flower beds amongst the annuals and perennials. 

For example, use lettuce as an edging for a bed. Herbs such as rosemary and lavender give you both benefits - flowers, and herb for the kitchen.

Be careful with herbs that spread - use them in pots and place among the annuals

6. GROW IN POTS AND CONTAINERS

This is a good solution for those who lack space for a regular garden - such as apartment dwellers. However, it also a good ideas even for those with loads of yard space as it can add different aspects and texture to a garden design. Subtle placement of planted up pots (anything from annuals to dwarf fruit trees) adds interest and variation.

7. USING SOLAR POWER

Save money by connecting outdoor power usage to solar panels. For your landscaping lights and pool.

8. COMPOSTING AND MULCHING

This is the companion piece to soil preparation. A well composted and regularly mulched garden will always perform well. It adjusts soil types, alters pH as needed, saves watering, keeps plants healthy.

9. KEEP YOUR GARDEN INTERESTING

Using variation of colours, foliage, textures, shapes, sizes and layout will not only keep the garden as a place of endless interest, but it will also encourage you to persist as it gives new challenges and pleasure.

For example, stagger plants and not just in a straight line, snake annuals amongst shrubs and trees; put low growers in front of higher ones; look at the shape and colour of leaves and have a mix.

Seasons: use the different seasons to add colour - e.g. azaleas and camellias for winter flowering, roses in summer and so on.

It is entirely possible to have some flowering all year round.

Perfume and fragrance - make sure you have some plants with perfume so that the sense of smell is tickled. E.g. wisteria, stocks, gardenias, roses (natch!), jasmine.

10. BE WATER-WISE

To reduce water bills and to conserve water in drier regions, being water-wise is just plain good sense.

Mulch well.

Use drip systems for irrigation where possible.

Mix in water retaining gels and pellets - especially in pots. 

Watering on top of the plants can also encourage fungal disease, such as blackspot in roses.

Before planting a new lawn - lay out a drip system for it.

I can count! Just thought I'd add these three in!

11. THE RIGHT PLAN FOR THE RIGHT ZONE

This is really important - don't expect plants to grow well if they are not suited to the climate and predominant soil type of your area. The latter can be altered, the former not - unless you believe in sci fi.

This is especially true for fruit trees.

12. BRING THE OUTDOORS INSIDE

Snow in winter frozen yards? Can't garden? The solution - get a collection of indoor plants - for their beauty - plus they help purify the air in the home.

13. CONSULT THOSE IN THE KNOW - ABOUT PLANTING NEEDS, SUITABLE PLANTS ETC...

Check with your local nursery

Join a garden club

Look around the neighbourhood - to see what grows well

Take a walk around your parks and botanical gardens.

 

Article by Peter Damien Ryan
Better House & Garden
www.betterhouseandgarden.net

 

Peter Damien Ryan is a landscape and gardening expert and can be reached at www.betterhouseandgarden.net


USING ORGANIC GARDENING METHODS

Organic gardens offer a perfect opportunity to grow healthy herbs, fruits and vegetables using earth-friendly methods. The process of organic gardening means no artificial ingredients, such as chemical-based pesticides, are applied to the garden or lawn. Also, these gardening principles are easily applied to any garden set-up and promote the growth of virtually any plant life.

WEEDS AND PESTS

Gardeners can take full advantage of the safe and natural ways to get rid of most species of garden pests. Many natural pesticides help to eliminate the most common pests to attack plant life. A solution of vinegar and water can tackle many pest issues. Also, a variety of herbs can be used in the process of controlling the pests.

A simple natural pesticide includes spraying a diluted mixture of water and natural soap. This is very effective at eliminating the aphid infestations. Once the aphids start to clear from the leaves, the plants should be given a further spray with clean water. Another natural option includes a combination of garlic and onion mixed in water. This can act as a general insect repellent.

Also, rather than using artificial pesticides to control the population of unsightly weeds, a gardener can use a variety of natural alternatives. The use of household vinegar is also a high effective tool at killing weeds. Combine 15% household vinegar with water to create a simple spray mixture. Apply this to the plant life during periods of bright sunlight. This will kill off the weeds without causing any damage to the plants.

FERTILISING

Another way to use the organic materials is to create a fertiliser to promote the health of the garden and lawn. Organic fertiliser relies on the composting and mulching processes to allow a variety of materials to decompose naturally.

To retain the quality of the soil, it is recommended that the top 5 or 6 inches are tilled. This will help keep the majority of the nutrients at a level that can benefit the health of the plant life. Also, a good quality organic mulching material should be applied to any exposed soil. This should be layered at a depth of 2 or 3 inches. The addition of mulch is beneficial to prevent soil eroding, discourage weed growth, maintain moisture content, and encourage plant growth.

All in all, the organic gardening practices help to maintain the beautiful and healthy garden in the most natural, effective and safe way possible.

 

Article by Kyle Vail


TOP 10 ORGANIC GARDEN TIPS

1. Start with a good organic soil. The soil is the heart of any garden and a healthy, organic soil means a healthy organic garden. The key element in keeping soil healthy is to provide it with as many organic matters as possible. A good soil teeming with organic matters has the right consistency and allows water, air and the roots to penetrate. It can hold moisture but can also drain excess water. Once a good organic soil is achieved, everything else about an organic gardening seems easier to take care of.

2. Compost and Mulch. These two are the best organic concoctions that you can make inexpensively and you can use to effectively improve the overall condition of your garden. Compost is not just a fertiliser but a soil conditioner as well because aside from adding nutrients to the soil, it also helps to retain moisture and achieve the crumb-like structure of the soil. Mulch is also a good soil conditioner and it efficiently reduces, if not prevents, weeds from taking over your garden. The best part is, these two can be made using materials that you normally throw away.

3. Use Organic Fertilisers. The whole point of organic gardening is to use and utilise all-natural products and processes to have a lush and bountiful garden. Organic fertilisers are often slow-release type of fertilisers that mimic nature's way of giving nutrients to the soil, that is through a slow but steady process of breaking down these fertilisers into forms that can be absorbed by the plants through their roots. This doesn't result to instant growth but rather a more sturdy and healthy plant. Plants that grew quickly because of chemical fertilisers often have soft and succulent stems that are prone to pests and plant diseases.
 
4. Make earthworms your best gardening buddy. Earthworm is a gardener's best friend when it comes to keeping the soil healthy and in perfect form. Earthworms can improve the structure of the soil by crawling their way through them, making it easier for water and air to flow. They also leave their excrement on the soil, which are excellent source of organic matters.

5. Choose the right plants for the right garden. There are many factors why you choose the plants that you want to have in your garden. But the most important of these factors should be to choose plants that you know will adapt well in your area. Experimenting on plants that require adverse growing conditions than the one you have in your garden could mean constantly struggling to keep the plants healthy and alive. But if you started out with the right plants, growing and sustaining them would be a lot easier.

6. Pick better varieties. A lot of new and improved varieties are now readily available in garden centers and plant nurseries. If you can, pick plants that are disease-resistant and pest-repellent as this will save you from a lot of worries later on.

7. Make animals and other insects your allies. Birds, lizards and frogs eat most of the creatures that many consider as pests in the garden. The same goes for some insects such as hover fliers, bees, spiders and praying mantises. Having them around is like having someone takes charge of the pest control.

8. Prevention is always better than cure. Get ahead and protect your plants from pests and disease before they become actual problems. If you were able to prevent half of the pests and diseases that would have infected your garden, then you only have half of the problem to deal with.

9. Fight weeds early. Weeds start from the seeds. Be careful that you don't accidentally introduce weed seeds in your garden. A new soil, a new plant, a packet of plant seeds, your shoes, your clothes are just some of the things that can bring weed seeds in without you knowing it. Mulching early and frequently reduces the chance for these seeds to grow and become a gardener's worst enemy.
 
10. Get to know your garden. A good gardener knows his/her garden. And because everything is related to everything else in a garden, it's beneficial to know what's going on in your plants, in your soil and in your garden. When you see a pest or a disease that has inflicted your plants, don't just think of ways to eliminate them right away. Observe and study what caused them, why they are there. If your plants suddenly seem stressed, look around and check for factors that could be affecting your plant's health. Because only when you truly understand your plants, will you know what's the best way to care for them.

Have fun and don't forget the reason why you're going organic. You know what they say, love what you do and it'll never feel like work at all.

 

Article by Nova Person
The Organic Gardening Secrets
www.theorganicgardeningsecrets.com

 

Above are only the top 10 basic organic gardening tips--the foundation of most organic home gardens. For more advanced and in-depth information and to get a free copy of her organic gardening guide, please visit Nova's The Organic Home Gardening Secrets site: www.theorganicgardeningsecrets.com

Nova Person's passion for gardening extends to her love for growing things organic. She often enjoys a bountiful harvest from her organic garden and shares how she does it and many other organic garden tips on her site.


TIPS FOR MAINTAINING A CHEMICAL-FREE ORGANIC GARDEN

Many people are finding out how great it is to have an organic garden. With the advice provided here, you'll soon be learning how to create your very own organic garden. Keep reading to learn some tricks of the trade that will help you get a great garden.

A cost-efficient way to water your garden is by collecting rainwater. You can use rain barrels or buckets to collect rainwater for use in your garden during the summer months. You'll save money on your water bill because you won't waste it always turning on the water. Rain is free to use. You will learn rainwater is something that is very good for plants.

You should utilise around three inches of mulch that is organic in your flower beds. Mulching is the perfect way to lock in moisture, nourish soil, and to keep away weeds. Mulch also completes your garden, giving it a finished appearance.
 
Plant your organic garden in the shade. Shade gardens are designed to be hardy and low maintenance. They save much time and work because they require less water. This means the garden will grow slower. However, weeds will be fewer as well.

When you are organic gardening, ask your children to lend a hand. They will enjoy learning about nature and bonding with you.

You need to mulch your garden with about three inches of material that is organic. Mulch adds nutrients to your soil, prohibits water evaporation, inhibits weeds and creates a finished look to your flower or gardening beds.

Try lightly ruffling the seedlings with your hands about twice a day. While this appears strange, research shows it can help plants grow larger, versus not petting them at all.

Remain conscious of when your organic garden requires watering. A soaker hose would be the best tool to use.. These hoses will direct water to the plant's base, and this will help reduce the amount of moisture lost due to evaporation. Ideally, you should do all of your watering early in the day.

Weeds are annoying to any garden, organic or otherwise. This will allow you to kill weeds organically, and will keep both you and the environment safe.

When you water too much, then you can actually harm your plants due to the fact that the roots can't get the nutrients they need. Check the weather forecast before watering plants to see if there is rain in the near future. You may want to skip the watering during a day that will receive significant rainfall.

A good method to save water when it comes to your garden at home is by using mulch. Mulch can decrease your need to water plants because it provides and conserves the moisture available to your plants. Mulch can be either purchased from a store or you can use organic materials from your yard, including yard clippings, newspapers, or even dried leaves. The most important thing is to have an adequate supply of it.

As was mentioned earlier, perfecting your organic garden just takes some patience, and investment of time. Head out to the garden, and make use of these tips to turn it into an amazing organic masterpiece. You will find that chemical free organic gardening is an ideal approach for growing vegetables, flowers and grasses.

 

Article by Dr Bryan Schuetz  

 

Dr. Bryan Schuetz is a natural health care provider, nutritional consultant, hypnotist, and martial arts expert.


THE ESSENTIALS OF COMPOSTING

Distinct from mulch per se, compost is decayed organic material used as a fertiliser for growing plants. It is matter that is almost completely broken down or decomposed.

THE ESSENTIALS OF COMPOSTING

The benefit of compost is that it gives you an earthy, dark, crumbly soil that is excellent for all plants due to having been enriched by the decomposed materials. So, in this energy conscious world, it is an easy way to recycle your yard and kitchen wastes, and is a critical step in reducing the volume of garbage needlessly sent to landfills. The natural cycle of life always provides natural compost as leaves fall in the Autumn and throughout the year with evergreens.

Piling up, they begin to decay and when returned to the soil the living roots continue the process of reclaiming the available nutrients. Generally however, in the home garden this isn't enough - hence making your own compost heap is so beneficial. And today, in many countries, you will find this practice increasing across households - not just with avid gardeners who have been always doing it. Probably it will become as commonplace as recycling cans and paper is now. Composting is a simple process that you can make as sophisticated as you like. Basic composting requires minimal effort. You can choose a bin or a bin-less system.

COMPOSTING FUNDAMENTALS

Compost is done by billions of microbes (fungi, bacteria, etc.) that digest the yard and kitchen wastes (food).

If the pile is cool enough, worms, insects, and their relatives will help out the microbes. Like people, these living things need air, water, and food. If you maintain your pile to provide for their needs, they'll happily turn your yard and kitchen wastes into compost much more quickly.

THE BASICS

AIR

The waste will need to be aerated occasionally for the microbes to survive as they breathe air. 

This will also help break up materials that tend to mat (e.g. grass clippings, wet leaves) and take longer to decompose otherwise. Just turn the compost periodically with a pitchfork - though some compost bins nowadays have inbuilt turning mechanisms operated by an external handle that does the mixing for you - aerating the compost.

MOISTURE

Keep the pile fairly moist - like a kitchen sponge - that is wet but not soaked. Too much water mats the materials too much.

INCLUDE

The mix of compost can be classified as 'browns' and 'greens'. Greens are the wastes from the kitchen - fruit and vegetable scraps, leaves, fresh manures and so on. The browns are things like dead leaves (autumn leaves), hay, straw, sticks and woodchips, sawdust and the like. Mixing browns and greens is the best nutritional balance for the microbial activity. The browns are bulkier and help keep the pile aerated and the greens maintain needed moisture. If too wet just add more browns and vice versa.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

In winter your compost heap may go dormant - but it will revivify in the spring. While hotter piles of compost do decompose somewhat faster, a temperature of about 50F is sufficient, provided aeration and the mix is correct. Size does matter! The compost pile needs to be at least a cubic yard (3 foot high and wide) to heat up and stay hot for a long period of time. When finished the compost will be dark in colour and has an earthy smell (like the smell of soil). Although bits of hard-to-decompose materials (such as sticks) will still be evident they will finish decomposition in the garden bed.

QUICK BOOSTING COMPOST

By making a tea out of your compost - combine equal parts of water and compost and let it sit for a while. - you can give your plants a boost by using the liquid as a foliage feeder. This also applies to worm wee which you can collect from your worm farm. Just dilute it all a bit though.

WHAT TO COMPOST

Grass and lawn clippings - layer these thinly and place drier compost in between.

Alfalfa composts very quickly. Be careful of greens that have lots of seeds which can re-sprout, e.g. hay. Moisten first. 

Food wastes - Fruit and vegetable peels/rinds, tea bags, coffee grounds, eggshells, and similar materials are great stuff to compost. Avoid composting meat scraps, fatty food wastes, milk products, and bones -- these materials are very attractive to pests. 

Leaves - like lawn clippings - layer thinly or they will mat. 

Straw - will help keep the compost aerated.

Weeds - can be used but avoid those that have begun to go to seed. 

Woodchips and sawdust - - although these can be used straight onto the soil as mulch, they can also be used in the compost pile. Don't use chemically treated wood.

WHAT NOT TO COMPOST

Chemically treated woods 

Diseased plants - composting heat may kill disease organisms - but you can't be sure all of it will die.

Meat, bones, fatty food wastes 

Pernicious weeds - unless they are completely dead and not gone to seed.

 

Article by Peter Damien Ryan
Better House & Garden
www.betterhouseandgarden.net

 

Peter Damien Ryan is a landscape and gardening expert and can be reached at www.betterhouseandgarden.net


TIPS TO MANAGE YOUR GREENHOUSE GARDEN

Because your greenhouse is either a type of plastic or glass structure, the rays from the sun heat not only the plants inside but also the dirt and any other items inside the house. The structure enclosed with a glass or plastic covering prevents the warm/hot air from escaping so this is how in warm or sunny weather, the house is heated. Three of the most important things to manage in your greenhouse garden are the quality of the soil, the temperature and ventilation in the greenhouse, and the quality of the water used for irrigation.

Managing your greenhouse includes such things as taking care of the supplemental equipment-heating, cooling, humidifying, etc.-providing the best nourishment for your plants, watering with good quality water and taking care of collecting any runoff. You must also have or acquire skills in and have the proper equipment for checking the ph, salt levels, and nutrient deficiencies in the soil. In winter or cooler months, monitoring the heating system and the humidity in your greenhouse is of the greatest importance. In summer, it is the ventilation that needs to be controlled. There are many environmental control products available to help you do this.
 
We have all seen the fertiliser ads on TV and it is true: your greenhouse plants must be adequately fed in order to grow and develop inside your greenhouse. This is even truer than it is with outside plants. You do, however, have more control over the air that surrounds your plants in this controlled environment. I prefer to keep everything as organic as possible so in addition to using organic fertiliser, the plants are protected from much of the airborne toxins when they are enclosed in your greenhouse.

Just like the quality of your soil and air, the better your water is that you irrigate your plans with, the better your plants will grow. By this we mean, how much salt is in the irrigation water? This can be controlled by a pH analyser and readily available pH control kits. The water can be affected by insecticides and the type of fertilisers used. If the water is too alkaline, then acids must be added. If groundwater is used for your watering, it may have been contaminated by all kinds of things.
 
A couple of things that can make your growing even more productive and fun are to use a compost bin to make some of your own fertiliser and rain barrel collectors to save rain water, which can also reduce your water bills and provide excellent irrigation. A compost bin does not have to be large to be very effective and simple rain barrels are also easy to manage.

 

Article by Judy Kelly  
Building Greenhouses Today
www.buildinggreenhousestoday.com

 

To learn more about the correct accessories you need to grow almost anything in your greenhouse, be sure to visit our blog and also request our free ebook to learn some important tips for growing a variety of plants in your greenhouse. Get it free today at www.buildinggreenhousestoday.com


GARDEN LABOUR-SAVING TOOLS AND TIPS

Gardening becomes an onerous burden when we neglect a few simple tasks that then accumulate until we are faced with a large list of chores.

Practising some of the following may just alleviate that issue.

  • Keep tools clean - disinfect as needed after working with infected plants or just clean in mild soapy water. 
  • Then dry off and insert them in a bucket of sand in which you have lightly mixed some vegetable oil. This will help prevent rust, keep the edges sharper and the abrasive action should remove any harder dirt accumulation.
  • Don't leave tools out in the weather - make a habit of cleaning off accumulated soil, and garden detritus, and then store in a shed or enclosed area
  • Linseed oil the handles of spades, shovels forks etc. This will preserve the wood and avoid getting splinters from deteriorating handles.
  • Prune and dig only with sharp instruments so keep cutters and spades sharpened.
  • Only buy quality tools - they will stand up to the work better and can be maintained more easily. It will also encourage you to look after them properly, whereas we get careless with cheap versions - which just don't last - a bit of a false economy really.
  • Use a garden kneeler - reduces back trouble - for young and older!
  • Square foot gardening: increases productivity - and saves, water, weeding and back pain!
  • Mulching: reduces weeding, conserves water, keeps soil temperature more even.
  • Companion planting: for pest control - let nature do the work of control.
  • Organic gardening: this does save work and costs - a healthy plant will usually become disease resistant and take care of itself without the need for chemical sprays to control pests and disease.
  • Pruning keeps plants healthy - learn when to cut off old growth. This is especially true for vigorous climbers - save yourself time by keeping them in control.
  • Irrigation: use drip systems instead of above ground sprays to save water and irrigate more effectively
  • Recycle grey water: conserves water usage and saves on water bills
  • Fix dripping taps, also tools etc as they need it - don't let these chores accumulate.
  • Don't dig over the garden beds: unnecessary if you have composted and mulched well
  • Choosing the correct tools can save both work and time and can make the difference between a chore being a joy or a pain.
  • Power tools, though expensive, can both save time and sweat. This is especially so if you have large hedges or lawn edges that need to be kept in control.
  • Fertilise only with organic fertilisers such as animal manures - if you live in a rural area offer to clean stables, chicken runs, dairies in exchange for the manure. Fish and seaweed based fertilisers are excellent for boosting growth and healing plants.
  • Plant invasive species in containers so they don't invade other parts of the garden beds, e.g. mint, some ferns
  • Make mini greenhouses for your newly planted seedlings: Cut off the bottoms of milk jugs or other plastic bottles and place them over the plant - getting both a greenhouse effect and protection from frost and windy conditions
  • Have a worm farm. Buying or creating your own worm farm is very beneficial. The solid and liquid by-products are excellent for soil improvement and for fertilisation.
  • A worm farm ideally should have three layers - the lowest is where the liquid gathers and can drip into a container or watering can. The other layers will be their home - put them in one and when that is full of castings move them into the other and use the casting in the garden.
  • Feed them with kitchen scraps (except citrus and onions) grass cuttings, weeds, damp paper. Just cut it up preferably for faster eating!
  • Perhaps add a little dolomite every few months to make sure the habitat isn't too acidic.
  • Make a liquid foliar fertiliser from the liquid they produce - one part worm wee to ten parts water - it is great as a kick starter or for suffering plants that need a boost.

 

Article by Peter Damien Ryan
Better House & Garden
www.betterhouseandgarden.net

 

Peter Ryan is a landscape and gardening expert and can be reached at www.betterhouseandgarden.net


VEGETABLE CONTAINER GARDEN TIPS AND TECHNIQUES

You can build your vegetable garden everywhere and anywhere you want whether it be in pots, boxes, barrels and baskets or in your patio, porch and windowsill. Wherever you plan to build your garden is up to you but also consider these vegetable container garden tips and techniques which can help you plan your garden properly. 
  
The first thing you will need to consider are the containers you will be using for your garden. 
  

  • Containers with wide openings are preferable. 
  • Take into consideration the plants you will be planting because you have to determine how deep and how big your containers should be before getting your pots. Remember that some plants have deep roots and need deeper containers. 
  • Your containers should have ample drainage and it should have holes in the bottom 1/2 inch in between each. The bottom of your containers should also be lined with newspaper, stones or wood chips for a proper drainage and to avoid soil loss.
  • To prevent uneven root growth and reduce heat absorption light coloured containers should be used in hot climates. 
  • Place your containers on top of blocks or bricks for more adequate drainage. 
  • You should be aware that wooden containers are prone to rot but be sure that the wood you are using has not been treated with toxic substances which can harm your plants. Wooden containers are better because you can fit its shape and size to the area or location you have chosen. 
  • Plastic pots are beautiful containers but they are susceptible to deteriorating after sometime under the sun's rays. 
  • Terracotta pots may also be beautiful to look at but they dry out easily and do not retain moisture. 
  • Glazed ceramic tiles may also be used but it should have several drainage holes. 
  • If you are going to use hanging baskets be sure to line them with sphagnum moss so that water will be retained. Basket containers should be kept away from the afternoon sun. 
  • The original clay pots can also be used for your container garden but you will need to monitor your plants often because these pots are very porous and lose water easily. 

  
Other things to consider when putting up your vegetable container garden are: 
  

  • Soil Mixture. Your soil mixture should be able to drain water easily yet should be able to keep hold of enough moisture so that the roots of you plants are evenly moist. You can use compost or a potting mixture and you should know the needs of your plants so that you will know if you need to add sand to your mixture. You can also make your own potting mixture by mixing loamy garden soil, sand and peat moss in equal parts. When putting soil into your container you should leave a 2 inch space from your soil top to the top of the container.
  • Sunlight. Your plants will need at least 5 hours of sunlight but there are also plants which needs more sunlight than the others. It is best that you check out the sunlight requirements of your plants so that you would know where to put your containers. 
  • Fertiliser. Your plants will need nutrients which can be provided by fertilisers. Your soil mixture will wash out your fertiliser every time you water your plants so it would better to dilute your fertiliser every other day. Check that your fertiliser contains enough of the nutrients that your plants need. 
  • Watering. Your plants need water and to moisture for them to grow healthy. You have to water your plants at least once a day especially during dry and hot weather.

 

Article by Jumneez Swensen


TIPS FOR GROWING VEGETABLES IN A VERTICAL GARDEN

Have you ever dreamed of producing your own fruits and vegetables from the comfort of your home, but gave up your dream because you live in a city apartment or only have a few square feet of space in front of your patio? Believe it or not, you can still enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables from your very own garden with vertical vegetable gardening. The key word in vertical vegetable gardening that separates it from what you may have come to associate with your average garden is "vertical." Vertical vegetable gardening allows you to utilise ever vanishing space to produce pound upon pound of fresh produce, season after season. Here are some tips to get you started on the right foot.
 
First, you need to decide what fruits and veggies you would love to grow on your own as opposed to buying from your local market. Once you have chosen a list of prospects, you need to find out what type of soil and weather conditions are favorable. For example, if you live in Alaska, growing watermelon may not be a viable option. Many times the rules for vertical gardening are a bit different than conventional gardening rules because the soil and plants may be kept inside the house, which will always be a bit warmer than outside.

Second, you need to read up on vertical vegetable gardening. Vertical vegetable gardening is not difficult as long as you have built up the necessary back knowledge. Being well informed is priceless when embarking on growing your own vegetables at home, and the fact that vertical vegetable gardening relies on many unconventional techniques means that you need to be that much more knowledgeable. Gather as much information on gardening in your area, as well as general information on seedlings and soil conditioning.

Finally, if you intend on growing your own produce at home, you need to know what equipment and supplies are available locally. Also, you may be able to order seeds online, so if you happen to want to grow something that is not available at your local garden shop you should order the seeds online ahead of time to make everything roll smoother.
 
Always remember that gardening in general is a game of patience. If you are patient and persevere, you will soon be amazed at your very own vertical garden. Vertical vegetable gardening focuses on maximizing production potential from very small and constricted spaces. If you live in a city high rise, vertical vegetable gardening may be just the innovation you need to grow your own plants at home.

 

Article by Janet Combs 


TIPS FOR PLANNING A VEGETABLE GARDEN PLOT

Planning out your vegetable garden is an important step in the process of setting up your garden in a way that provides an environment for optimal growth. Careful planning ahead of time will go a long way towards helping you reap abundant harvests of healthy home grown foods. Here are some things to consider when planning out your garden.

There's never only one style of garden that works for everyone when it comes to vegetable garden planning because every gardener and their gardening wants and needs are unique. The type of soil you'll be using, whether you'll be sowing directly in the ground or using raised beds, how much sun and shade your garden area will get in a day, what types of fertilizers and supplements you'll be using and what types of foods you're looking to grow will all play a part in how your garden plan and your garden location is set up.

Settling on the best part of your yard for a garden is the first step. You want to look for an area that gets at least 6-8 hours of sunshine a day at a minimum, and has good drainage. The majority of plants will grow just fine if they have at least 6 hours of sunshine a day, and some food plants can even do well in partly shaded areas. Once you've decided on the location of your yard where you want to place your garden, next is deciding if you will be directly sowing into the ground or using some type of raised bed system. If directly sowing into the ground, prep the soil by tilling it and have it tested to find out what type of amendments if any you would need to add to make the soil hospitable to food plants. Raised beds are a bit simpler, just purchase some good garden soil and fill the beds. Most soils that are purchased are already fertilised and amended as needed, but a simple soil test can tell you if there are any additional amendments you'd need to add to your purchased dirt.
 
Another important factor in deciding where to place your garden is how close it is to a water source. You can't always depend on the rain to provide a consistent and adequate source of water, so ensure you are close enough to a well or a water hose is long enough to reach the planted area without much hassle. Additionally if the garden is too far from a water source you may consider building a rain barrel out of a food grade 55 gallon jug for watering needs. Water is essential for your plants to grow strong and healthy and produce abundant crops for harvesting. If you're interested in learning how to build a rain barrel, here is a good tutorial that shows you how.

So now you know where you want your garden, you've taken the steps to prep the soil or add the raised beds. Now that you're done with that you need to decide what type of plants you want to grow. Always grow something you will actually eat, or that you can give away to someone who's in need. Sometimes people are surprised by the amount of food that can be generated from a small amount of plants that do well. Unfortunately sometimes this food goes to waste because there is too much food, all of it couldn't be given away or the growers don't know how to can (put up) what they harvested. Start small on your first garden and get a feel for what you're growing and how much time/effort it takes to not only grow but maintain, treat, debug, harvest and prepare the foods you'll be growing.

Once you've decided what you'll be growing it's time to dive into your garden planning and get things placed in the best locations. Plants that grow tall are best kept in a part of the garden where they won't shade other vegetables you're growing. This can best be accomplished by keeping most of the bigger and taller plants toward the back which will most likely be the northern most part of your garden. Plants such as tomatoes are good candidate for this type of location.

Also consider companion planting, which is planting beneficial plants next to each other. Some examples are planting tomato next to basil, or green beans at the base of the corn stalk. Tomatoes benefit from basil by the basil repelling the tomato hornworm and basil can also enhance the flavour of tomatoes. Planting green beans that vine right next to a corn stalk provides the beans with a natural trellis and the beans affix nitrogen into the soil that benefits your corn, you can even add squash plants to the same bed as the corn and beans. These are just two examples of how companion planting can work for your garden. There are other examples of companion planting such as onions, garlic and leeks planted with nightshades such as tomatoes, peppers and potatoes, as well as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower being planted with carrots.

Once your first year of planting is over, setting up your garden plan for the following year is a good autumn/winter activity. Keep a schematic of what you planted where during your first gardening season. This will help you remember where you planted specific plants so you can ensure you don't plant the same plant in the same location to following year. This is called crop rotation and it can benefit your garden by preventing the soil from harbouring fungal spores, diseases and/or bacteria that can gain strength and become a problem if the same plants are planted in the same spots year after year. Crop rotation will also keep nutrients balanced in the soil and keep the soil healthier. Crop rotation is not a 100% fix all, but it can go a long way in helping reduce the chances of these problems happening.

Growing a garden and harvesting your own food can be an extremely rewarding experience. Following the above tips can help you avoid some problems and provide you with some ideas and topics to research further while you prepare your garden plan and decide what you want to grow. We hope you enjoy a bountiful harvest in your new garden, happy planting and plentiful harvest wishes to you!

 

Article by Leigh Ramsey  


TIPS FOR GROWING A GREAT VEGETABLE GARDEN

Nothing beats fresh vegetables from the garden and with the cost of living increasing all the time there are more reasons to grow your own produce. Not only does home grown produce taste better, it is more cost efficient than buy produce from the supermarket. It doesn't take a lot of space or a vast amount of gardening knowledge to grow a great vegetable garden. Just a few simple tips and you will be on your way.

PLANNING IS IMPORTANT

You just can't go out into the yard and toss a few seeds and expect great results. A good garden takes some planning. Decide what you want to grow and where you want to plant your garden. Keep in mind that vegetables require a lot of sun, so your location should be the sunniest area of your yard. At the very least, your garden should get six to eight hours of full sun each day.

In addition to planning the location, you need to decide what you want to plant and how you will plant it. Ask other gardeners or your local garden centre what vegetables do best in your area. You usually can't go wrong with tomatoes, corn, melons, and peppers. Plan your garden so the large plants don't shade or crowd the smaller ones. Keep corn and other tall plants from shading small plants, and give plenty of room to spreading plants like melons.

DIRT ISN'T ALWAYS EQUAL

Face it, dirt isn't just dirt! You need good quality soil to grow great vegetables. Your soil should have good drainage and organic matter. Pick up a clump of moist soil in your hand and form it into a ball. If it crumbles quickly, your soil is sandy and may need to be watered more often because it will not hold water for a long time. If the soil ball stays together firmly, your soil is a clay type. This soil will not drain well and your plants may rot. You will want to add peat moss and a little sand to this type of soil so it will drain properly. If your soil ball keeps its shape for a moment then crumbles, lucky you! You have a nice sandy loam that is perfect for gardens.

Don't worry if your soil isn't a good sandy loam. You can improve almost any soil so it will have the right balance for good drainage. You can mix compost or aged manure into your garden soil to improve it. In fact, mixing organic material into your garden every year is a good idea because it restores nutrients and keeps the soil healthy.

WATER IS KEY

When it comes to watering your garden, a soaker hose or flood irrigation is best. You can lay soaker hoses along the base of the plants and allow the water to soak in around the roots. Soaker hoses are a great choice for efficient watering because they conserve water. For flood irrigation, make sure you have furrows about four to six inches deep between the rows of vegetables. Then simple set a garden hose at the top of the furrow and allow the water to flow down the furrow. This will water the plants at the roots and help prevent fungus and plant rot. The only drawback to flood irrigation is you will have greater weed growth along the furrows. To help prevent this, put a weed barrier fabric along the furrow that will allow for the water to flow along it and into the dirt, but prevents weeds from coming up.
 
Anyone can grow a great vegetable garden and reap the delicious harvest. It just takes a little planning and preparation. You will be a master gardener in no time!

 

Article by Piper Cox  

 

Piper is a freelance writer who enjoys fitness, good nutrition, and the outdoors. 


TIPS FOR A YEAR ROUND VEGETABLE GARDEN

Whether you're planning a garden or you already have a year round vegetable garden, there's a lot of advice that will help you maximize the benefits of your investment. A vegetable garden is supposed to be fun. It's supposed to be rewarding, and it is definitely suppose to provide fresh, organic vegetables. And it certainly can. Embrace as much knowledge as can about it, and you'll reap the benefits of your creation.

BENEFITS OF A YEAR ROUND VEGETABLE GARDEN

  • No more worrying about the possible existence of toxic pesticides used on many store brand vegetables. 
  • Significant savings even over farmer markets' prices 
  • The possibility of growing many more kinds of vegetables than you'd find elsewhere 
  • An amateur vegetable garden is a lot of fun and is quite rewarding in more than one way

VALUABLE TIPS ON PERENNIAL VEGETABLE GARDENS

A year round vegetable garden will obviously take more effort for those living in harsher climates. However, even those gardeners can grow vegetables in greenhouses. Nonetheless, popular homemade vegetables include: beets, zucchini squash, tomatoes, peas and beans.

Is the soil where you're planning to establish your year round vegetable garden (or already working garden) the best for growing good crops? It's really essential that it is. Soil that contains too much sand or clay won't work very well. Soil which has too many underlying roots (perhaps from nearby trees or shrubs) may also make for a formidable place to grow crops. Sandy loam is generally the best type of soil to grow crops with; it's the type that crumbles like cake when you fist up a sample (about the size of a baseball) in your hand.

MAKE SURE THAT YOUR GARDEN IS PROTECTED AND GETS WHAT IT NEEDS TO SUSTAIN ITSELF

Don't forget about other variables that can adversely affect your year round vegetable garden. Make sure it has at least some protection against various vulnerabilities. Wildlife-like insects, mice, etc-are notorious for helping themselves to vegetable gardens. The weather can also affect it; make you implement at least some protection against things like excess rain, drought, too much wind and so forth. You can easily mitigate excess water by digging a few small canals to channel it away (if the land is so low that pools of water build up on it).

Many gardeners fall into the trap of buying cheap, bargain-basement seeds. This isn't to say that good seeds are expensive-no, not by far. Spending say-1.99 per seed instead of 1.20-increases the chances that you're getting a better quality seed. Vegetable seeds are sold practically everywhere: online, from a gardening shop, a hardware store and so forth.

Furthermore, learn how to adjust your plants and eliminate liabilities so that you have a successful year round vegetable garden. Give your plants "room to breathe"; don't plant different types of crops too close together. Also, try to use organic fertiliser but if you can't, use one of the higher-quality fertilisers sold in many stores. If you're just getting started on your garden, it's very wise to (in addition to having a good quality soil) give the plot a good aerating.

 

 Article by Zack Wilson


HOW TO STAKE YOUR PLANTS - AN INSIDER VEGETABLE GARDENING TIP

Staking is a simple technique but an important one for vegetable and flower growers alike. For large-flowered plants such as dahlias, asters, and peonies, staking allows the blooms to show to best advantage and keeps them from getting top-heavy after a rain. Tall, fragile-stemmed plants like delphiniums often need help weathering storms. In the vegetable garden, supporting plants with stakes or other supports will mean the difference between a good harvest and a poor one. If you've ever tried to grow tomatoes without staking the plants or growing them in cages, you know how hard it is to salvage a decent crop. Whatever tomatoes you are able to find under the heavy weight of the plants often succumb to attacks from insects and larger animals or rot.

Staking doesn't have to be unattractive, an important consideration in the flower garden. In fact, if done correctly, it's not in the least bit an intrusion. Properly staked plants have no visible means of support the foliage grows up to hide the stakes, strings, and wires.
 
There are several different ways to stake plants. As a general rule, it's best to start early in the season, so the leaves have a chance to cover the supports and you can train the plant as it grows. It's not easy to stake a plant that has sprawled on the ground or has flopped over after a heavy rain. You can easily break or crush stems. Furthermore, leaves and flowers won't look quite as graceful as they would if properly trained from the start.

Bamboo Canes: Bamboo canes are lightweight, sturdy, and available in several thicknesses from pencil-thin to several-inch canes suitable for staking tomatoes or large flowered dahlias. Use the thinner ones for supporting stems of delphiniums or other top-heavy beauties. Select a bamboo cane about two-thirds as tall as the plant will be at maturity and insert it into the ground close to the base of the plant. Then use yarn, strips of soft fabric, or strips of old pantyhose to tie the flower stem to the stake. Add more ties as the plant grows taller. For multi-stemmed flowers such as chrysanthemums, use a single stake to support more than one stem. Tie twine or yarn to the stake, gather the stems, and loop the twine loosely around them.

You can also use bamboo canes to make a sort of cat's-cradle around clumps of flowers such as peonies. Insert four or five canes around the plant. Again, they should be two-thirds as tall as the plant at maturity Then tie twine to one and wrap it around the others in turn. Tie it off on the first cane. Add rings of twine every 6 to 12 inches as the plant grows. You can also weave the twine through the plant foliage from one stake to its opposing one to create an extra network of support.

Pea Staking: When you prune your trees in early spring, don't burn those trimmings. Instead, save them and use them to stake such weak-stemmed perennials as coreopsis or gypsophila and such annual climbers as sweet peas. When the plants are still small, simply stick twiggy brush into the ground near them. As they grow, the plants will climb over the network of twigs and their foliage will soon hide the twigs from view. Pea staking is most successful for plants that don't grow taller than about 2 feet. The twigs should be about 6 inches shorter than the plant at maturity.
 
Wire Cages: Round or square wire cages similar to but smaller than the ones used to grow tomatoes are available for perennials such as peonies. Ready-made cages have wire legs that you simply push into the ground. You don't need to tie plants to wire frames; they simply grow up and through the wire and get all the support they need from the enclosure. Cages need to be put in place in early spring, while the plants are still small. You can buy cages ready-made or make your own using galvanized large-mesh.

 

Article by Marc Warren  
Gardening Mania
www.gardeningmania.blogspot.com

 

Marc Warren offers a vegetable gardening tip of the day - such as how to grow beans and peas - on the Gardening Mania blog. For more helpful advice, visit www.gardeningmania.blogspot.com


GARDENING TIPS - HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU WATER PLANTS?

Sometimes this question may raised eye brows by some skeptics, since they pretty well know that all plants always need water, right? But, to make things clear and to give you the real thought why this questions is raised, so that you'll realise why water is needed by plant and how often plants need them.

This is where the knowledge of water management comes into play. Without getting the right amount of water, plants growth would be affected, likewise, too much water also makes the plant growth in jeopardy.

Although water is the life of all living things, its use if not put into in its proper order may affect plant growth and would end up a failure. Your efforts, time, and money invested would just be useless.

Therefore, it's vital and a must that you should know how water should be applied to your plants, considering the importance it contributes to your success in your home gardening endeavour.

SOME FACTORS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER WHEN YOUR PLANTS NEED WATER

  • Soil condition. When the soil is dry, you should water your plants.
  • Wilted plants. Looking at the physical appearance of plants with wilted leaves and drooping attributes to lack of water.
  • Stunted growth. Slow plant growth is also a sign of water scarcity.
  • Plant growth. If the plant is in distress with soft and weak stem and leaves turns gray, it shows that the plant lacks water and needs your rescue.
  • Stop producing. All too often the result for poor production is caused by limited supply of water or none at all. This would even end up for plant death.
  • Climate. During cold climate plants needs less water, so you don't bother to water them often. But, during summer, water is more than needed to sustain plant's growth. 
  • Plant resistance. There are some plants that are drought resistant, while others are not. Consider this factor when you water your plants.
  • Frequency of water needs. Timing is important in the frequency of water you apply to your plants. If you live in areas with hot days, but becomes cold in night, you can water them early in the morning or vice versa.
  • Water supply. No matter how hard you try to tend your plant if the water supply is a problem, you'll literally fail. Make the supply of water your priority before you start gardening. 

Happy gardening!

 

Article by Crisologo Ramasasa  

 

Cris Ramasasa, Freelance writer, writes about home gardening and Internet marketing tips.


TIPS FOR GROWING ONIONS IN CONTAINER GARDENING

Onions are some of the easiest vegetables to grow because they don't require much aside from the basic need for sunlight, water, drainage and healthy, moist soil. They can be grown all-year round, making them a top choice for either land or container gardening. However, planting onions can be a hit or miss, but there are some ways to make it a sure success. Here are tips to help beginners who wish to raise this well-loved vegetable in the comfort of your own home:

  • Choose short-day onion varieties. Onions are divided into two types, long-day and short-day. Short day onions only require 6-7 hours of sunlight per day, an amount ideal for container gardening. Examples of short day onions are Texas supersweet, yellow granex and white bermuda.
  • Duplicate lights for long day onions. Long-day onions need roughly about 12-14 hours of sun per day.If you wish to cultivate long day onions but lack the amount of sunlight it needs, you can supplement light with fluorescent bulbs placed close to the plant. The wallawalla, first edition and Spanish onions are types of the long-day variety.
  • Mix compost before planting the seeds or bulbs. A balanced fertiliser balances and prepares the soil for planting or transplanting.
  • Choose a deep container. Onions are planted deep into the soil, and a container that's 10-12 inches deep is what it needs to grow well.
  • Keep the soil moist. Because onion plants are exposed to heavy amounts of sunlight each day, the soil could end up dry, killing the roots and the rest of the plant. 2 to 3 inches of water each week will prevent this from happening, especially if the weather is hot and humid.
  • Keep out pests. When not exposed to the sun, cover your onion plant with a protective layer to keep out maggots, pests and diseases from developing inside your pot.

With the right growing techniques and patience, these tips can turn any beginner to a container gardening pro when trying to raise onions. Combine these tips with the right kind of attitude towards gardening, and it won't be long until you're ready to pick fresh onions for your cooking and consumption.

 

Article by Nick Beasly 


TIPS FOR GROWING LETTUCE IN THE GARDEN

There's nothing better than a salad made with fresh lettuce from the garden. Adding lettuce to your garden can be a welcome addition. Not only is healthy and tasty to eat but it needs very little space to grow. But there are some guidelines you should know before planting lettuce.

To grow lettuce or any other vegetable, you need to have good soil. For lettuce, keep the nitrogen level high by using 30-10-10 NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) fertiliser. This will provide the lettuce with the nutrition it needs to produce healthy leaves.

When planting lettuce seeds make sure they are planted 1/8-3/8 inch deep, separated by 6-12 inches (2-3.5 m) from the next plant. Romaine lettuce can be planted closer together but other crisp lettuce need more space. If you plant in rows, keep the rows separated by about 20 inches (6m).
 
The roots of lettuce do not grow very deep so it is important to weed often. Many other grasses and plants with deeper root growth can invade the lettuce.

Since lettuce lacks deep root growth it has to find moisture near the surface. Therefore it is important to keep the soil moist but not saturated. Try to keep the water off of the leaves and into the soil except for the occasional washing. Wet leaves especially during nighttime temperatures can lead to disease.

Like any other vegetable, lettuce plants have problems with diseases and pests. Many insects enjoy the lettuce leaves and the folds of the leaves also offer many places for fungi to grow.

Aphids, flea beetles, leafhoppers, slugs and cutworms are common insects that feast on lettuce. Washing the leaves with a high-pressure hose can temporally help get rid of the insects. Insecticide lightly applied to the lettuce will provide better long-term control.

One common fungal disease is anthracnose (Microdochium panattonianum). This fungus can stay alive in soil for many years. Bottom rot (Rhizoctonia solani) is another common fungus. This type of fungus usually occurs in soil that drains poorly. To combat these fungi, keep foliage dry and plant in good soil.
 
Another common problem with lettuce is bolting. Bolting is not a disease or pest but occurs when the plant goes to seed and the leaves stop growing. Bolting happens when the temperatures are consistently too high. To prevent this from happening, plant lettuce in shaded area or plant next to a shading crop such as corn.

Lettuce is a wonderful vegetable to have in your garden. With proper preparation and care, you can enjoy salads with fresh lettuce throughout the growing season.

 

Article by Dave Truman  
The Vegetable Garden
www.vegetablegardeners.com

 

Looking for creative ideas for your vegetable garden layout? You can stop searching - visit the Vegetable Gardeners website at www.vegetablegardeners.com for lots of helpful tips and advice. Plus get your own copy of our free reports for growing better vegetables.


PLANTING PEAS - FIVE TIPS TO PLANT PEAS IN YOUR GARDEN

One of the great pleasures of the summer vegetable garden is picking fresh peas and eating them sweet from the pod. Here are five tips for planting peas in your garden.

First of all plant early for a good crop. Peas seeds and young plants can stand a hard frost although the mature plants will not. So you can plant peas as soon as the soil can be worked. One test is to take a handful of soil and make it into a ball in the same way as a snow ball. If it crumbles when poked, the soil is ready for the peas. If it stays in a ball it is still too wet. In the case where the soil was prepared in the fall the pea seed is so tough it can be laid on the ground and covered with peat moss to a depth of about an inch but frankly, the gains in time will likely only be a day or two instead of waiting for the crumble test to work.
 
Second make sure that the soil is ready for the peas. It should be ready to work as the crumble test has shown. Dig it over to get rid of rocks and to work in some compost or peat. Peas do not need much nitrogen as they will collect it for you like the rest of the legume family so chemical fertilizers are usually not a good idea. They do like cool roots and wet soil can cause rot so a good organic soil will work wonders.

Third is need to plant heavy. Peas yield poorly per plant so a lot of them are needed. They will take a lot of crowding so rows should be at least six inches wide and planted about an inch apart each way. It is a good idea to put such a row on either side of a fence for them to climb on. Some people plant in rows up to twenty feet wide and just sit in the middle to pick.

Fourth is to let them climb. There has been a lot of work done in recent years to develop early peas that grow on small vines. These are often let grow as they spread instead of letting them climb on something other than themselves. If you have very wide rows this can work but otherwise the yield drops per plant. Peas are made to climb and put out tendrils to do so. Once a fence or other area to climb on has been put up for them they will climb on their own. Tall plants climbing high will have lots of leaf nodes where the pods appear and the peas develop.
 
Fifth is to plant a selection of varieties to spread out the harvest. There are peas that come early, middle and late in the season to spread out the taste sensations. Most of the later peas have the best taste. Keep them well watered and they will stay cool and productive.

Remembering that they are nitrogen fixers, the soil in which they grow this year will be rich for the next and the vines will make the compost pile a rich place indeed.

 

 Article by Darrell Feltmate
www.aroundthewoods.com/compostcentral

 

Darrell Feltmate is an avid gardener who has been composting and gardening for over 25 years with gardens up to 1/2 acre and compost piles for each. His composting site may be found at Compost Central. You can become a master composter in no time at all. Composting bins are not necessary but are certainly nice in setting up a home garden compost system. For details on the very simple but effective homemade compost bins of the author see:

www.aroundthewoods.com/compostcentral/compostbins/homemadegardencompostbin.html


TIPS FOR GROWING BASIL IN CONTAINERS

If you have limited garden space, then growing basil in containers will be the best way to have your own basil. You will have the best tasting harvest ever in comparison to those bought in your local grocery store when growing basil in containers.

CONTAINER SPECIFICATIONS 

Before you jump start to growing this herb in containers, make sure you have all the requirements needed for proper growth and germination. Choose an area that will have at least 6 hours of sunlight. This herb loves the sun, and will do better when grown in a place that has a lot of sun and no shade. A container of at least 8 inches will do for your herb. You have the option of choosing between multitudes of containers, with the exception of ceramic pots. Your container must have drainage holes at the bottom, for it is easy to drown crops when growing basil in containers. The bottom of your container must be lined with broken pieces of terracotta pots, or pea pebbles to aid drainage.

POTTING MIX FOR GROWING BASIL IN CONTAINERS

Choose a soil that is made especially for container gardening. Never use ordinary garden soil for growing basil in containers for it is mostly made up of clay, does not drain well, and also hosts millions of dormant bacteria, virus, and fungus that can cause disease in your plants. Your potting mix is already pre-mixed with organic material, peat, perlite or vermiculite, as well as compost for proper growth. Adjust the pH of the soil to 6.0 to 7.5, although this step is just optional.

STARTING YOUR CULTIVATION

You can start growing basil in containers from seeds. Seeds can easily be bought online or from local gardening stores. The seeds are placed on the soil and covered with 1/4 inch compost. If you water the seeds well, keep the soil warm to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, your seeds will germinate from 7-10 days. Once the seedlings have 2-4 pairs of true leaves, thin the seedlings out when growing basil in containers so that you have at least 6 inches between each seedling. If you cannot wait long for growing basil in containers, you can start from cuttings or transplants. Be careful when taking the transplant out of its container for it does not want to have its roots disturbed. Dig a hole twice as big as the container that your herb came in and place a good amount of compost at the bottom. Place in your transplant carefully and make sure that the level of the soil is 2 inches below the lip of the container. This will give you room to water your plants. Afterwards, give them water until it flows out of the drainage holes.

Mulch the top soil for proper care of growing basil in containers. This will protect the shallow roots as well as prevent weeds from invading your pot. Fertilise your herb with 15-15-15 organic fertiliser or spray them with compost tea to keep away pests and disease. Harvest the leaves as you are growing basil in containers once they have grown to a size that is appropriate for you. When growing basil in containers, make sure to pinch off the top new shoots to promote lateral growth and to prevent your plant from being too leggy. You must also pinch off flowers as they can result to drab tasting herb. Keep the soil moist but not wet by giving them deep watering when the soil is dry. A moist soil should be left alone, but a soil that is dry up to 2 knuckles down need to be watered.
 
Growing basil in containers can be easy and rewarding. All you need would be plenty of sun, good amount of water, and adequate drainage for proper, healthy growth.

 

Article by Donna Marie Fajardo 


TIPS FOR PLANTING AN OUTDOOR HERB GARDEN

With the planting season upon us, now is the perfect time to start your outdoor herb garden. Herbs come in different colours, flora, scents, textures and heights making them pleasing to all five of our senses. Before starting your outdoor herb garden, there are some things that you need to consider and keep in mind.

First of all, you have to consider how much space you have to plant. If you have just a small 3 ft x 3 ft plot, then you are going to have to narrow your herb choices considerably in comparison to someone who has a much larger plot. If you have a small plot or just want to add visual interest to a larger plot, consider planting some herbs in the ground and others in pots.
 
With hundreds of varieties of herbs available, it is best to think about how you want to use your herb garden. If your garden is more for show and to be pleasing to your sense of smell, then you can choose plants just by their scents. Some people like to combine different scents such as rosemary, basil and thyme whereas others choose to have a garden full of lavender. If you are going to use your plants for cooking, then you need to think about which plants would be most useful for you. For instance, Italian herb gardens typically contain basil, oregano and parsley.

Depending on the plant, you may be able to plant a lot of one herb close together or you might need to leave 6" to 12" between plants. The size of your plot greatly dictates how many plants you can have in your plot. There are some herbs that spread like crazy as they grow. Mint is an example of an herb with a mind of its own when it comes to growing. It is best to plant these kinds of herbs in their own pot to avoid having them take over your garden.

Make sure that your herb garden gets plenty of sun. Most herbs require sun for at least 6 hours a day. Your herbs will do best in soil that drains well as many herbs do best if they are not sitting in soaked soil all the time. In between days that it rains, it is best to just to sprinkle them lightly with the hose. If you go 4-5 days with no rain then it is a good idea to give them a good watering.
 
Many herbs are easy to grow and require little care other than weeding and a little water. Before starting your herb garden it is always best to do research to learn about different herbs and to make sure that their soil, watering and sun requirements will be met. You can find other good herb growing tips online. Although you can start herbs from seeds, it is much easier and less time consuming to go to a nursery and buy an herb plant. Whichever way you choose to start your herb garden, have fun and let your senses enjoy all of the colours, smells, textures and scents that come with them.

 

 Article by Steve Miers  


TIPS TO MAXIMISE THE HARVESTING OF YOUR HERB GARDEN

A number of home-garden owners harvest their herbs abiding to the phases of the moon. It has been said that that more nutrients and flavour is retained when following the moon's calendar. Of course, you will harvesting your herb garden in the morning but check the best phase of the moon for best results.

Among the great advantage of growing your own garden is that no pesticides are needed so the herbs that you have picked can be eaten without having been washed. When planning to store herbs for a few days, you should avoid washing them before doing so.

If, however, you prefer washing them and you have a large quantity, add 2 tablespoons of salt to the water. Use a salad spinner to dry them off after having washed the herbs. Parsley is the exception and should be placed in cool water as soon as you have picked them.
 
When harvesting large quantities of herbs and getting them ready for much later use, like supplies for the winter, you will need to dry the harvested herbs and flowers. To do so, you will dry them in a dry, well ventilated area. Tie small groups of unwashed herbs with tie-wraps elastics and hang them heads down so that the air dries them gently. The should be hanged a least 12 inches from the wall and leave 6 inches between groups.

The drying cycle is usually within 2 weeks. Once they are ready, the herbs will feel crackly when touched. The drying process renders these herbs more concentrated then fresh herbs. Store and identify the herbs in air-tight jars or plastic bags that seals tightly and place them in a dark place until needed.

Another effective method to keep herbs, and capture its full flavour, for later use is by freezing them. Cut the leaves in 1/4 inches pieces and place them on a baking sheet lined with wax paper for freezing, Once ready place them in individual bags and store. You can also use ice trays and make cubes filled with herbs. Identify the resulting cubes stored in plastic bags. When needed, the cubes will be great to add to a simmering pot of soup or a sauce.
 
You can also conserve herbs by using a medium such as vinegar or oil. An example would be to use chopped mint, tarragon or basil with vinegar. This will keep your herbs well preserved for months. Making flavoured salt is quite simple too. Prepare layers of salt and alternate with herbs in a container. Once completely dried, separate the brown herbs from the now flavored salt and store the salt in an airtight container.

Properly harvesting your herb garden will permit you to enjoy the various array of services provided by them all year long even if you only grow them during the warm months. Always store them in air tight containers so that they don't lose any freshness and flavour and identify the containers for easy identification.

 

Article by Eustache Davenport
Herb Gardening Online Guide
www.herbgardeningonlineguide.com

 

Eustache Davenport is a gardening enthusiast and author. He lives in Montreal and enjoy teaching his gardening secrets to work groups on how to setup, optimise and maintain an amazing herb garden all year long. For more great tips and information about harvesting herb garden, visit www.herbgardeningonlineguide.com


TIPS ON HARVESTING HERBS FROM YOUR HOME HERB GARDEN

Harvesting herbs from a home herb garden requires a little bit of work -- but there are several ways to go about it. 

Most herbs are ready to harvest just as the buds are opening into full blossom because this is when they contain the most volatile oils and the greatest fragrance and flavour. The best time to pick is in the early morning on a warm sunny day when the dew has evaporated, and before it gets hot. And it's important to harvest as early as possible in the season so that your plants will come up again before the season is over.

Regarding perennials, don't wait to harvest them late in the season as you will lose a lot of their flavor, and you may lose the plant itself. Cut perennials to leave one third of the stalks and side branches, and a bit less if the stalks are stiff and woody.

Do NOT cut annuals close to the ground, and leave enough foliage so that the plants will continue to grow. If you live in warm climate, you just may get two harvests in one season.

If the herbs you harvest are to be dried, it's important for most of them to be picked when the oils are at their peak. However, basil, marjoram and sage can be picked at any time. In preparation for drying, bring your herb crop indoors, rinse off the dirt, shake off the excess moisture, and remove any yellowed, decayed and coarse leaves. To dry them, hang your plants upside down, letting the oils run down into the leaves, and put them into paper bags. The bags will catch any leaves and seeds which may fall and keep the plants out of the sunlight.

Alternatively, lay the plants on trays or screens. After the leaves are dry, and you can crumple them in your hand, strip them off the plant and put them in air-tight containers.
 
Another way to preserve your herbs is to freeze them. Try freezing the following: chives, fennel, burnet, lovage, sorrel, chervil, mint, chives, parsley, tarragon, dill leaves, thyme, sage, and sweet marjoram. First, pick them in the early morning on a sunny day before it gets too hot, cut the tops with stems that are long enough to tie into small bunches, and dip the herbs into boiling water. Then quickly plunge them into ice water until the herbs are thoroughly chilled. Pat them dry with absorbent paper, place them in freezer bags, label them, and pop in the freezer.

Try any of these methods and enjoy the results!

 

Article by John Schepper & Maggie Guscott


BEGINNER FLOWER GARDEN - TIPS FOR A BEAUTIFUL GARDEN

Planting a flower garden may be an overwhelming experience for anybody let alone a beginner gardener. The good news is there are easy ways to get around it by following these simple steps. Read on to find out what these simple tips are for planning your garden landscape and what lawn decor to choose to get what you want from the sweet escape in your backyard.

Before you head to a nursery or garden centre, make sure you have a plan. Think about where you want to put your flowers and garden accessories, what colours you want where, how many and so forth. This will make your shopping experience much easier and faster and probably less expensive. You'll want to enjoy a garden that's in bloom from early spring to late autumn by choosing annuals (plants that do not come back every year) and perennials (plants that do come back every year) based on when they flower. Refer to plant tags for specific information that pertains to your garden. When picking plants at the nursery pay attention to the height and width before assigning them a permanent home. When it's time to divide your perennials, offer to share your extras with your garden-savvy neighbours in return for plants you don't have yet. Make sure to observe your yard's sun and shade areas. Look for wet or dry spots. Watch for sandy soil and dense clay. By knowing your garden's conditions, you can plant flowers where they'll thrive. For soils that do not produce thriving plants consider putting garden accessories such as garden statues, gnomes, wind spinners, wind chimes, stepping stones, mulch, rock, and other lawn and garden decor. When choosing garden accessories for additional lawn decor around your garden, consider potting perennials and/or annuals in containers and placing them around your yard. Garden planters are an easy way to create colourful accents. Many plants benefit from deadheading, when faded blooms are removed to encourage new growth. To deadhead, cut off the spent slower close to a bud that's lower on the stem or above a leaf node. To enjoy perennials or annuals indoors, cut the flowers in early morning or late afternoon, submerge them in lukewarm water and add a floral preservative.
 
Garden accessories are a great way to add a little extra something to any outdoor space. The nice thing about garden accessories is that they come in all forms, shapes and sizes. Choosing the right lawn decor for your garden or backyard is always a fun experience because there is so much you can do with it. Garden stepping stones make transitioning from one place in your backyard to another very easy and it is also very decorative. Stepping stones can be anything from limestone rock, cement blocks or slates to flat plaques. Don't forget about your avian friends. Putting bird houses, bird baths and bird feeders in a flower garden invites even more colour and entertainment to enjoy. There are tons of different kinds of bird feeders out there; some are decorative, some are for specific kinds of birds and some are very plain Jane bird feeders. Which ever strikes your fancy your avian friends will be sure to re-visit your flower garden. Other garden accessories you can consider putting up in your flower garden are wind chimes and wind spinners. You can find many different kinds of hook stands out there for hanging these types of garden accessories as well as brackets for the side of a post or wall.
 
Your flower garden will look amazing after following these simple steps in planning for a garden. The nice thing about garden accessories is that they are versatile. You can put them almost anywhere and plant flowers around them or accent some already planted flowers and plants with the garden accessories. Whatever you choose to do you will be happy with the result it produces.

 

Article by Angie Loomis
www.outdoormama1.blogspot.com

 

My name is Angie and I love the outdoors. I sell lawn & garden decor from my online store and strive to provide the best quality, low-maintenance, largest variety of lawn ornaments I can. My online store provides a lot of cute ideas for people to decorate their outdoor space and make it their own. Personalise your lawn & garden today with adorable bird feeders, bird houses, wind chimes, wind spinners and much more.


BASIC TIPS FOR A BEAUTIFUL FLOWER GARDEN

Knowing the proper way to care for your flower garden can be the difference between a beautiful swath of flowers that everyone makes glowing comments on or a so-so garden that seems on the verge of dying all the time. As with all things learning the how to care for your garden can take time, but if you follow some of these basic tips you will be well on your way to having beautiful blooms all summer long.

1. Do you have the essentials covered? Just like any other plant, flowers are living growing organisms and without the proper necessities they will wither and die. They need a consistent water supply, varying amounts of sunlight depending on the plant, and rich fertile soil. The more pampered and cared for they are the better they will respond. During times of intense heat and little rain be sure to water more often.
 
When planting you new flowers it is important to follow the directions on the packaging they came in. Bulbs need to be planted at the correct depth. Shrubs, perennials, and annuals can't be planted to deep or to shallow. Try to keep mulch and soil from around the stems to allow for proper water drainage.

2. Mix perennials and annuals. Perennials will return year after year, at least for a few years after planting. Annuals will usually only last for one growing season. By mixing annuals in with the perennials you will be assured of always having flowers in bloom.

3. Deadhead your flowers. Deadheading is just what it sounds like. By clipping wilting or dead flower heads from the main plant you will encourage the growth of more flowers. Be sure to pick up any deadheads and put them in your compost pile. Leaving them in the garden can attract bugs or cause plant diseases to attack your healthy plants.

4. Learn about bugs. Most garden insects do more good than harm. Butterflies, beetles and bees are known pollinators. They fertilise plants through unintentional transfer of pollen from one plant to another. 80% of flowering plants rely on insects for survival.

Insects together with fungi, bacteria and other microorganisms are necessary to help in the decomposition of dead plant material, thus enriching the soil and making more nutrients available to growing plants.

Some insects like lacewings and dragonflies are also natural predators of those insects that do the real damage, like aphids.

Be sure to give your flower garden a shot of fertiliser every few weeks to keep the flowers blooming longer. It is important to not over fertilise because this can cause the plants to burn.

Following these few simple tips will get anyone novice started on their way to becoming a well rounded gardener. Building on these tips will keep you garden blooming and bringing great satisfaction all growing season long.

 

Article by Andrew Bicknell  
Garden-Choices-Net
www.garden-choices-net.com

 

To learn more about planting and maintaining a flower garden please visit the website.


ORGANIC FLOWER GARDEN TIPS AND TRICKS

We know that organic vegetable gardening has become a trend in vegetable production because it is healthier to eat vegetables produced naturally and that chemicals can have a long-term negative effect on people. Many diseases are said to be caused by being exposed or ingesting too much chemicals in the body. It is no wonder many gardeners have started to grow vegetables naturally.

But do you know that you can also go organic with your flower gardening? Even though you do not eat the flowers that bloom in your garden, organic flower gardening is still an excellent way to protect your family from harmful chemicals and safeguarding the welfare of the environment.

If you are thinking of putting up an organic flower garden here are the top tips to help you:

  • Choose a site in your garden that receives full sun and has an efficient drainage system.
  • Clear the area off shrubs and weeds, which may compete with your plants for sunlight and nutrients.
  • Test if the soil has the right pH by using a soil testing kit. A neutral pH level of 7 is ideal soil. If your soil is too acidic, add lime to improve the soil's pH.
  • To know if the soil is neither too sandy nor too clayish, roll a handful of soil on your palm. If it sticks, it has too much clay; if it is loose, it is too sandy. Add pine bark humus to resolve this.
  • Use compost to improve the structure, texture and aeration of the soil.
  • Use organic fertilisers instead of chemicals because the latter incorporate toxic substances into the soil that eventually seeps into our drinking water.
  • Use organic fertilisers to encourage growth of earthworms, which are highly efficient in enriching the soil.
  • If you are planting perennials, add organic fertiliser and compost only at the start of the growing season while apply one or two organic fertiliser during the growing season if you are raising annual flowers.
  • Read directions in the label of the fertiliser carefully. This will ensure that you apply only the right amount that will not burn the plants nor cause them to weaken.
  • Allow for manure sources to compost well to avoid odors and prevent disease carryover.
  • Do not apply fertiliser during winter or autumn.
  • Use natural mulch like bark chips, hulls, dried leaves to retain moisture as well as moderate soil temperature. Organic mulch is also excellent in preventing weed growth and spread.
  • Control pest naturally by encouraging the growth of beneficial insects such as wasps, spiders, beetles, ladybugs and many others. These beneficial insects fight off the pests that destroy the plants.
  • Including onions, garlic, and chives in your garden is also a great way to fight pests naturally because they attract beneficial insects as well as repel harmful ones. The best tip in organic gardening is of course to observe and understand how nature works. Once you do, putting up an organic flower garden can be a cinch.

 

Article by Jeff M Dahlberg


STARTING YOUR OWN ROSE GARDEN - TIPS AND TRICKS TO GET YOU GOING

If you are about to start with a rose garden, you might think that it's too daunting for you at first. One thing you could do is go to your local garden centre and be inspired. You will see what seeing so many colours, sizes, different types of roses will do to your creativity.

Each of these roses have a special characteristic not found in another type, and each of them is best used in a particular landscape. However, all roses love sunlight, no matter of their differences. So when you are choosing a place for your rose garden, make sure that it has plenty of sunlight per day, preferably 5-6 hours at a time.
 
Then you need to really think about your rose garden. For example spend some time envisioning the different types and colour combinations that go together. If you have a nice variety of colours, it is much more pleasing to the eyes than a boring one type / one colour mix. So you need to be aware of the colour schemes available. For example you can check in various catalogues, magazines, online magazines, whatever inspires you. You need to plan your garden carefully before you actually start designing it.

When you're really there, when you've started your rose garden, you need to pay attention to a few things. For example, you need to clean your garden on a regular basis. What this means is simply keeping the fallen leaves, including various other debris away from the roots of the rose, because this way you can not only water the plants directly at the roots, but you will also get the additional benefit of keeping problems such as fungus in check.
 
Feed your rose bushes throughout their flowering season because this will keep your plant healthy when the dormant time comes. You can use various fertilisers, they are all good, but you need to remember that following directions on the bottle will yield you the best results.

 

 Article by Marcia Gallik  


THE BASIC TECHNIQUES OF PRUNING

Pruning is not something that occurs to plants naturally. It is perhaps worth remembering that as gardeners we prune for our benefit rather than the plants. There is a certain amount of pruning which is done to benefit the health of a plant such as removing dead or diseased stems, but as a rule it is a way of controlling plants when they get too big or clipping a plant into a particular shape. You certainly won't kill your plants if you don't prune them, at worst your garden may just become a bit wild and unruly. Here are a few basic tips on how and when to prune.

The most important thing to consider when pruning a plant is how it grows. For instance, with those plants that flower on new wood such as buddleia and certain varieties of clematis, you would prune in order to encourage lots of new growth which in turn will mean plenty of flowers. For plants that are naturally slow growing and therefore keep themselves quite tidy, such as camellia, you may need to do very little pruning or even no pruning at all.

HOW TO PRUNE

Firstly, you need the right tool for the job - a good sharp pair of secateurs. The correct way to prune is to cut each stem back to just above a healthy outward facing bud or shoot. Make sure the cut is clean and slopes slightly away from the bud. This means that any water will fall away from the bud.

WHEN TO PRUNE

There are a few simple rules to help you remember when to prune. Plants that flower in winter, spring or early summer such as roses, shrubs, and certain varieties of clematis, generally flower on stems that grew last year. This group of plants will require pruning after they have flowered in order to encourage them to put on lots of new growth ready to flower on the next year.

Shrubs, roses, clematis and other climbers that flower in summer or autumn almost always flower on new growth, therefore you want to keep as much new growth as possible. Prune this group of plants in late winter, just before the new growing season begins. This will stimulate growth for flowers later in the year. A good tip is to leave winter pruning until as late in the season as possible in order to avoid the risk of new shoots becoming damaged by frost. Trees and larger shrubs are best pruned in this way as it is much easier to gauge the shape of a tree and spot diseased or dead branches to be removed when the tree is dormant and devoid of leaves.

PRUNING CONTAINER PLANTS

Pruning becomes more of an art form when applied to those plants grown in garden planters. Many gardeners like to decorate their patios and other areas of the garden with box shapes grown in containers or with shrubs like roses that will need to be kept under control. The same rules apply, but with these plants the gardener can exercise more of an artistic flare to create something decorative and personal.

 

Article by Jo Poultney
Garden Planters
www.gardenplantersshop.co.uk
www.facebook.com/Gardenplantersshop
www.twitter.com/Plantersshop

 

Garden Planters source unusual outdoor and indoor planters, and other garden related gifts - whatever your taste, be it traditional, modern or just a bit quirky, we will have something for you. Run by two qualified and creative gardeners, Garden Planters will also plant up your chosen planter with an arrangement of your choice. We believe garden planters are an integral part of any garden - they enhance the overall design and say a little something about the person to whom the garden belongs.


5 TIPS FOR PLANTING GARDEN BULBS

Smart bulb planting brings vibrant colour and life to the garden landscape throughout the spring, summer, and autumn season. Planting different bulbs helps to introduce the maximum amount of flowers in a small area. Here are several tips to help with planting the bulbs:

QUALITY BULBS

Start the bulb planting process by carefully selecting the high-quality bulbs at the garden centre. A ready to plant bulb is firm and plump. Avoid any bulbs that appear slightly mushy and soft and appear to have the mould developing. Also, search for the decent size bulbs. A large bulb will produce better flowers compared to the smaller edition of the same species of bulb.

RIGHT SPOT

Stop healthy bulbs failing by planting them in the most appropriate spot in the garden. Ideally, you want to plant the bulbs in a garden area that has well-drained soil and receives full sun during the day, which is in the region of six to eight hours. Most local or mail-order nurseries give guidelines on the preferred conditions to encourage healthy growth in the garden.

RIGHT TIMING

Make sure the particular bulbs are planted at the right time of the year to encourage strong and healthy growth. Spring-blooming beauties, such as daffodils and tulips, are best planted in autumn. This time-frame gives the preferred cool and moist temperature conditions. A summer-blooming bulb like the gladiolus and dahlia is certain to thrive if planted in the spring when the spells of frost have completely finished.

DEEP PLANTING

Bulbs need planting at the right depth to achieve successful growth. Most bulbs benefit from being planted at a depth that is two or three times greater than the actual bulb. For instance, a bulb at 2.5-inches tall can benefit from a hole at 5 to 7.5 inches in-depth. But, certain bulbs can have specific requirements, so it benefits to check with the individual plant guidelines to increase the chance of being successful.

UNSIGHTLY WEEDS

Maintain nutrient-rich soil by eliminated all signs of weed growth as soon as noticed. Besides stealing the nutrients from the earth, they can also attract disease and insects. A quick method to prevent the growth of weeds is to cover the soil with 2 or 3 inches of a mulch material (bark, grass clippings, manure, etc). Most planted bulbs can easily push past this layer of mulch, but will still suppress most types of weeds.

 

Article by Kyle Vail


TIPS ON TRANSPLANTING FLOWERS

If you want to have a high success rate when transplanting flowers in your garden patch, then the following are tips that can help you achieve this.

Before transplanting flowers, the following have to be observed.

  • Prepare the flower bed properly before transplanting the flower seedlings. Dig up the soil to break hard pan if you want to grow your flowers in the soil.
  • Add some organic matter in the soil before transplanting flowers onto the bed. This improves the soil fertility and creates a better growing environment once the flowers are transplanted.
  • If your are transplanting flowers into growing pots, ensure that you observe the right media preparation before doing so. The media should allow for good drainage and this achieved by incorporating the right ingredients before transplanting flower seedlings
  • Always remember to add base dressing in soil before transplanting flowers. This will be I the form of phosphate fertilisers and a Ph buffer such as dolomite.
  • Before the actual act of transplanting flowers, water the beds sufficiently. Avoid over-watering this makes it easy for soil to come into contact with the roots of the flowers once transplanted.
  • When transplanting flowers, the depth to which the flowers are transplanted depend on the type of flower but the general rule is to cover the seedling with media up to just above where the roots start.
  • The roots when transplanting flowers should be straightened and fit well in the transplanting hole. Ensure that the roots do not bend upwards and are not bound in a ball as this will delay establishment.
  • During the process of transplanting flowers, hold the seedlings as close to the stem base as possible. Then insert them in the soil taking care that the roots are free to grow once in the soil. Holding the seedlings in position higher up the shoot may cause breakages which slow down establishment.
  • After transplanting flowers, give them a thorough watering. This settles down the media and brings it into contact with the soil. This ensure a better success rate of the transplanted flowers.
  • Water regularly until the flowers are sufficiently established. Avoid over-watering as this slow root activity on all plants and will affect your transplanted flowers negatively.

 If you manage to do the activity of transplanting flowers properly, the transplanted flowers will grow without a lot of problems because they will start off healthy.

 

Article by William Karl  
Professional Gardening Tips
www.pro-gardener.blogspot.com.au

 

The author is an accomplished and practicing gardener. My key competencies are agronomy and cutflower production. I like sharing knowledge on gardening and how to make the environment beautiful. For more information about gardening, visit www.pro-gardener.blogspot.com