Archive for the 'General Gardening' Category

No Dig Gardening

Friday, May 8th, 2009

 

The idea of no-dig gardening was developed by an Australian named Esther Deans. It was originally both developed both as a labor saving idea, and a method to rejuvenate badly depleted soil in a vegetable garden.The process involves starting with layers of newspaper, and by adding lucerne hay, straw and compost in succeeding layers, you can create a growing medium without resorting to heavy digging, and one that is rich in nutrients and which will simplify weeding and encourage your much desired plants to grow. The layers compost together, and greatly encourage earthworms. The gardens are maintained by adding manure, compost, etc., and should not be dug up, as this will undo the good work. I have used this approach to creating vegetable gardens, and it certainly does work.

The principle of not digging has sound foundations. Excessive cultivation of the soil, especially when very wet or very dry, will damage the structure of the soil, and lead to compaction. Such excessive cultivation can also discourage the earthworms, and they are the best free labor a gardener has.

Some followers of permaculture and organic gardening have translated no-dig into never-dig, which I believe is sadly mistaken. If you start with a base soil that is badly compacted, then your no-dig garden will initially work well, but you may find your garden does not continue to perform well. The fertile layer you have built up will encourage the earthworms, but we do know that the worms need to shelter from excessively hot, dry, cold or wet conditions. They have been found to seek shelter from extreme conditions by burrowing more deeply into the soil, sometime many feet down. If they cannot shelter in this way, it is my contention that they will die out or move out.

My belief is that an initial cultivation of the soil before you apply the no-dig system will guarantee a better environment for the worms, and thus a better garden for growing your plants, over the longer term.

By all means give the no-dig approach a try – you will be pleased with the result.

A GARDEN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

You can have the most elaborated back yard from the entire neighborhood, but if it isn’t functional you have built it in vain. We all want to have beautiful and flourishing gardens, but when we have a family, we must also take into consideration the needs of the other members of it. Divide the space of your yard in two or three visual spaces, one for play and relaxation, one for gardening and maybe one for pets.An open space, covered by lawn is ideal for your children. Here you can install a table for open air lunches or for a romantic summer evening dinner.

Do you have a fireplace? Keep a portion of your garden especially for depositing fire woods, but make sure it is at a considerable distance from the house or animals that can cause damage.

How about pets? You can build for these little members of your family special spaces, in which they can play and exercise. Before you plant bushes and ornamental plants, surround the pet space. Cats and dogs tend to be attracted exactly by the things we try to keep them away from.

Keep the by-passers’ eyes away from your personal life. Before planning the scenery, you must have in sight a place for the garbage cans. It wouldn’t be very nice to have a wonderful garden right next to the garbage cans. These can be efficiently hidden in some kind of surrounded space, decorated on the sides with life fence.

Functionality is an important factor in your garden, so you have to think about children, little pets and family assets before you plant anything. Save a portion of the yard especially for you, in which you can plant whatever you want and leave for the others some space to breathe freely.

You will find it more satisfying this way, once the whole family is happy with your garden and they might even bring their personal ideas for it. It is important that personal space is respected and that is why the garden must not be very wide, taking up all available space. Build from time to time a pathway or some benches where you can just relax and admire your work.

Which Type Of Plants Should Be In Your Garden?

Saturday, September 6th, 2008

Gardening Plants

When it comes to gardening plants, there are too many to name. Gardening plants can refer to flowers, shrubs, herbs, vegetables, fruits, and many more. There are also gardening plants that are in season at different times of the year, some in fall and winter, others in spring and summer. Whatever type of gardening you decide is your forte; there are plenty of gardening plants available to suit your preferences.

If you want gardening plants that you can actually use instead of just look at, vegetables, herbs, and fruits are all very satisfying. Edible plants add an excitement to gardening because of the produce available at harvest time. The main vegetables grown in smaller, home gardens as well as larger ones include corn, peas, cucumbers, potatoes, squash, peppers, onions, carrots, spinach, lettuce, and beets. Popular fruits are pears, plums, tomatoes, blueberries, apricots, cherries, and strawberries. Herbs are used for their wonderful fragrances, to spice up a salad, and in cooking. Herbs that are often home grown include thyme, sage, dill, mint, lavender, and chives.

It is fairly easy to have a colorful garden in the spring and summer months, but it is a whole different ball-game during the cold, winter months. Even though it is difficult, with planning and a little more care you can have a colorful garden year round. One gardening plant that thrives in the fall and winter months is the Rudbeckia, a beautiful yellow perennial. Others include the Christmas rose, the Japanese Anemone, and Cosmos.

When you think of flowers you automatically think of a spring garden full of many different, beautiful colors. Spring and summer gardening plants are some of the prettiest things on earth and give inspiration to all who grow them. Some of the most grown spring plants are tulips, daffodils, and violets. Favorites of the warmer months of summer are lilies, dahlias, and roses.

When gardening, many people will opt for decorative grasses or shrubs. Monkey grass is an all time favorite, especially for a sidewalk. These will gardening plants can be for looks, can act as a border or fence, and can be used for privacy. Shrubs are easy to take care of and add a defining look to any yard or garden.

There are so many different kinds of gardening plants available. Many gardening plants actually have a purpose and can be used, whereas many of them are just for looks. The kind of gardening plant you choose to have in your garden is completely up to you, but remember, no matter what kind it is, it will require some maintenance and without proper care you will end up with a garden full of just dirt.

Shaping Trees for Different Situations

Monday, August 25th, 2008

Through the use of pruning techniques, it is possible to shape your tree to a certain style. There are seven main tree shapes that all have their own benefits for certain situations. During the growth of the tree, simply cut off the unneeded branches, tie the wanted branches into the proper shape, and you will be able to shape it however you want. However, for some of the more advanced shapes, equally advanced pruning techniques are required. There are many books written on this subject.

Usually, if you’re trying to get your tree to a certain shape, all the tying and pruning should occur in the fall. This will encourage the shape to stick, since no fruits will be produced at that point in time. Each of the different shapes is very useful in certain situations. So, here are some different types of shapes you are able to choose from.

Standard trees hardly need any explanation. These are the varieties that are most common, and probably what you picture when you think of any tree. No specific shaping is required to get the shape to take this form. Just let it go and prune it as you would normally, and unless you have a strangely deformed tree then it should end up being a standard tree.

It is possible to turn a standard tree into a bush tree through pruning. The branches take the same shape, but the stem or trunk of the tree is noticeably shorter. This can be beneficial if you want to grow trees, but don’t want to block the view. For example, my house has a great view of the Rocky Mountains. I didn’t want to sacrifice this gorgeous view, so I grew my trees up as bush trees.

Cordons are a type of tree that you might not be familiar with. It consists of one stem with no branches. It is planted at an angle so that it arches up over the ground. Through the course of its growth, all branches are removed. These are beneficial because they take up very small amounts of space and more can be fit in a certain square footage. The only negative aspect is that they produce smaller amounts of fruit per tree.

Espalier trees grow with a single vertical stem in the center, and several horizontal branches on each side. These allow for long rows of trees, while still producing large amounts of fruit. If you operate an orchard, you probably use this shape to fit as many trees as possible into the area you have.

Fan trees use the same theory as espalier trees. However, the shape is slightly different. The same central vertical stem is used, but the connected branches are not horizontal; they grow in the same pattern as a standard tree, only they are two dimensional rather than three dimensional. They are also used to save space, and are used instead of espalier trees for certain types of trees that do better with sloped branches.

Another type of espalier is the step-over espalier. They are like a normal espalier, but with just one horizontal branch very close to the ground. They are particularly interesting because they still produce delicious fruit while providing a border for whatever you want. I have used step-over trees to fence of my garden. They are definitely my favorite shape of tree, mainly because they are like a fence that bears fruit. What’s not to love?

As you can see, each of these shapes has its own benefits and negative aspects as well. If any of these sounds like they would be a good fit for your garden, you can ask your local nursery employees for advice on reading material that will help you achieve your goals. Most of the time, getting the tree into the desired shape is a very easy process and just requires some guidance at the beginning.

Types of Lawnmowers

Saturday, August 9th, 2008

Lawnmowers began as human-driven machines which are used to cut grass. While they still perform the same basic function, many varieties of lawnmowers have been developed throughout the decades in order to cater to clients with different needs as well as to take advantage of new advances in technology.

Below is a list of some of the most common types of lawnmowers.

1. Reel/cylinder

- this is one of the most basic and common types of mowers around. This maybe powered several ways such as human-power and others by using an internal combustion engine. It basically works by having a roller with blades which then cuts the grass.

2. Rotary

- unlike the reel mower, rotary mowers have rotary blades to cut the grass. Most mowers of this type are powered by internal combustion engines although some operate using electric power. Typical residential-type rotary mowers cut the grass and either discharge it on the lawn or keep it in a bag.

3. Ride-on

- this type of mower has a size that is fit for the job that it can do. Ride-on mowers are typically used on larger lawns such as school grounds. Because of this kind of demand, they are usually fitted with several blades to cut a wider area.

4. Hover mower

- as its name suggests, this type of mower hovers over the ground to cut the grass. While they may look like novelty items, hover mowers do a good job at cutting tall grass and even shrubs because of their unique ability to float.

See also Buying A Lawnmower? Consider this first…

Buying A Lawnmower? Consider this first…

Saturday, August 9th, 2008

Lawnmower Buying Guide

If you’re looking out to buy a lawnmower to take care of your lawn or would simply want to buy one to replace your old workhorse, there are several things that you have to consider.

We have listed them down below for your quick reference.

1. Consider the size of your lawn

- this is one thing you have to keep in mind when buying a mower. The size of your lawn will pretty much decide what kind of mower you’ll get for yourself. And while there are honest salesmen out there, knowing what your specific needs are keep you from getting scammed by unscrupulous ones.

2. Human power, electricity or fuel?

- it is also important to be familiar with the different types of lawnmowers according to their power needs. Human-powered ones are earth-friendly (they produce no emissions) but they are more labor-intensive. Meanwhile, electric-powered ones also don’t produce any harmful emissions but may be more expensive. Finally, fuel-powered mowers are more common although they produce emissions that would otherwise be harmful to humans and the environment.

3. Money matters

- whether you like it or not, your budget will always be a deciding factor when buying a lawnmower, or anything for that matter. So keep in mind how much you will be willing
to spend before even hitting the store. This prevents you from overspending because of impulse buying. But then again, no matter how much money you have, you are always sure to get the value out of your lawnmower. With a typical lifespan of over a decade, a mower is always a good investment.

Related Post “Types of Lawnmowers”

Must Have Gardening Tools No Gardener Should Be Without

Saturday, August 2nd, 2008

What good would a green thumb do you if you do not have some of the very essential gardening tools to make your job go a lot smoother? Here are some basics that every good gardener should have beginning with the novice all the way up to the “professional” gardener.

Gloves – You should have a good pair of waterproof gloves that fit well. You should also find some that have long cuffs. Gardening gloves seem to be best suited to fit men so women will probably have to hunt to find a good pair.

Sun hat – You should have a hat with a wide brim equipped with a drawstring cord. This should provide adequate protection from the sun. You have to make sure that your hat will not be lifted aloft when those spring winds come.

Canvas apron – A good apron to have is one that has pockets to fit some of your tools in as well as your phone. This is good when you don’t always have a chance to put on your grubbiest clothes.

Five-gallon bucket – This comes in handy to tote your tools around with you as you make your way through the flower beds. You can always toss weeds in as you are working!

Spade – This is an important tool to have but one that can easily get misplaced or thrown out by accident. It would be a good idea to get some brightly-colored tape to wrap around the handle so it will show up against the grass.

Pruners – These are great to clip back woody stems. You will get a nice, clean cut that will minimize any injury to plant tissue.

Hand rake – This is just a little bit larger than a spade and does a great job in fluffing up mulch or in turning up very young weeds.

Wild Flower Gardening Part One

Saturday, July 19th, 2008

A wild-flower garden has a most attractive sound. One thinks of long tramps in the woods, collecting material, and then of the fun in fixing up a real for sure wild garden.

Many people say they have no luck at all with wild flowers. It is not a question of luck, but a question of understanding, for wild flowers are like people and each has its personality. What a plant has been accustomed to in Nature it desires always. In fact, when removed from its own sort of living conditions, it sickens and dies. That is enough to tell us that we should copy Nature herself. Suppose you are hunting wild flowers. As you choose certain flowers from the woods, notice the soil they are in, the place, conditions, the surroundings, and the neighbours.

Suppose you find dog-tooth violets and wind-flowers growing near together. Then place them so in your own new garden. Suppose you find a certain violet enjoying an open situation; then it should always have the same. You see the point, do you not? If you wish wild flowers to grow in a tame garden make them feel at home. Cheat them into almost believing that they are still in their native haunts.

Wild flowers ought to be transplanted after blossoming time is over. Take a trowel and a basket into the woods with you. As you take up a few, a columbine, or a hepatica, be sure to take with the roots some of the plant’s own soil, which must be packed about it when replanted.

The bed into which these plants are to go should be prepared carefully before this trip of yours. Surely you do not wish to bring those plants back to wait over a day or night before planting. They should go into new quarters at once. The bed needs soil from the woods, deep and rich and full of leaf mold. The under drainage system should be excellent. Then plants are not to go into water-logged ground. Some people think that all wood plants should have a soil saturated with water. But the woods themselves are not water-logged. It may be that you will need to dig your garden up very deeply and put some stone in the bottom. Over this the top soil should go. And on top, where the top soil once was, put a new layer of the rich soil you brought from the woods.

Before planting water the soil well. Then as you make places for the plants put into each hole some of the soil which belongs to the plant which is to be put there.

I think it would be a rather nice plan to have a wild-flower garden giving a succession of bloom from early spring to late fall; so let us start off with March, the hepatica, spring beauty and saxifrage. Then comes April bearing in its arms the beautiful columbine, the tiny bluets and wild geranium. For May there are the dog-tooth violet and the wood anemone, false Solomon’s seal, Jack-in-the-pulpit, wake robin, bloodroot and violets. June will give the bellflower, mullein, bee balm and foxglove. I would choose the gay butterfly weed for July. Let turtle head, aster, Joe Pye weed, and Queen Anne’s lace make the rest of the season brilliant until frost.

Let us have a bit about the likes and dislikes of these plants. After you are once started you’ll keep on adding to this wild-flower list.

There is no one who doesn’t love the hepatica. Before the spring has really decided to come, this little flower pokes its head up and puts all else to shame. Tucked under a covering of dry leaves the blossoms wait for a ray of warm sunshine to bring them out. These embryo flowers are further protected by a fuzzy covering. This reminds one of a similar protective covering which new fern leaves have. In the spring a hepatica plant wastes no time on getting a new suit of leaves. It makes its old ones do until the blossom has had its day. Then the new leaves, started to be sure before this, have a chance. These delayed, are ready to help out next season. You will find hepaticas growing in clusters, sort of family groups. They are likely to be found in rather open places in the woods. The soil is found to be rich and loose. So these should go only in partly shaded places and under good soil conditions. If planted with other woods specimens give them the benefit of a rather exposed position, that they may catch the early spring sunshine. I should cover hepaticas over with a light litter of leaves in the fall. During the last days of February, unless the weather is extreme take this leaf covering away. You’ll find the hepatica blossoms all ready to poke up their heads.

The spring beauty hardly allows the hepatica to get ahead of her. With a white flower which has dainty tracings of pink, a thin, wiry stem, and narrow, grass-like leaves, this spring flower cannot be mistaken. You will find spring beauties growing in great patches in rather open places. Plant a number of the roots and allow the sun good opportunity to get at them. For this plant loves the sun.

Planting Flower Bulbs? Do It Right

Sunday, July 13th, 2008

When it comes to planting flower bulbs, there is a right way and a wrong way of doing it. Make sure that you pay attention to the care instructions that came with the bulbs when you bought them.

Planting tools

You can either use a trowel or shovel to dig the holes for the bulbs. Your job would be made a great deal easier if you used a bulb planter.

It may be a good idea to mulch the newly planted bed of bulbs. This is recommended by most experts. The mulch will help to prevent weeds, cool the soil, retain moisture and it will provide more organic material that is necessary for the growing plants.

Watering Newly Planted Bulbs

After you have planted the bulbs, they should be given a good drink of water. It may also be helpful to water the bulbs occasionally if the fall and winter seasons were very dry.

You should plan on giving the bulbs at least an inch of water each week when the growing season becomes active. This can either be from natural rainfall or from supplemental watering.

Fertilizing the Growing Bulbs

When you begin to see the bulbs pop their tiny little heads out of the soil, it is very important that you begin to fertilize them every few weeks. It is best to use a good water soluble fertilizer. This will help to promote additional flowering and better bulb growth.

All of the above will make sure that you have beautiful flowers from the bulbs you have planted. It may take a little work, but it will be worth it in the end!

The Perfect Mum

Sunday, July 13th, 2008

The Perfect Mum

Chrysanthemums are very popular perennials. You can get mums in a variety of colors as well as in various growths all the way from the smaller dwarf plants all the way up to the Maxi-Mums.

These plants are very easy to grow so they would be good for a beginner gardener to try. If taken care of correctly, they will give you years of enjoyment.

Make sure you choose an appropriate variety, plant your mums in a sunny, well-drained location and protect them during the winter.

Planting Time

The best time to plant your chrysanthemums is after the danger of frost has passed. You are able to use small plants that you have obtained from rooted cuttings or divisions or you may even use the larger container plants that you have bought from nurseries.

The chrysanthemums may be put in the ground at anytime in the spring, summer or even during the early fall.

Soil, Site, and Fertilizer

Garden mums will grow very well in a variety of soils but they must all have excellent drainage conditions. Mums also enjoy sunny locations. Try to mix in two to four inches of peat moss or compost into the soil. If you only use peat moss, then try to add a fertilizer in the spring.

Pinching

If your mums are pruned or pinched on a regular basis, then they will have a bushy and compact plant form. The traditional method includes pinching out the tip in order to induce branching so that stockier plants will be produced.

All pinching must be completed by the 4th of July to assure that your plant flowers before the frost.