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Monthly Archives: October 2017

Organic Gardening

Organic gardening is one that uses only naturally occurring materials and does not use artificial fertilizers or chemicals.

Try to work with nature rather than against it.

Advantage

Organically grown foods taste better than those grown with artificial fertilizers.

Costs: the organic material can be created by returning all waste back to the land, which is a cheap process compared to Inorganic which tend to be way more expensive in the long run.

Same with chemical sprays, If an orchard where parasites do not prove a problem is created, it saves a lot in the cost of chemicals.

Another advantage is that by adding organic material to Earth, it keeps getting better, pitching chemicals ultimately impoverishes the soil.

The size of the fruits of an organic garden are usually larger and higher quality.

Tips for planning organic garden

The first step to take when planning a garden is to make a list of what you want from it, imagine what you can achieve within the space and time available.

Once you have determined the priorities, then its time to situate or organize space available within that garden.

Some areas will be sunnier, others will have better land or soil, some spots much more humid and so on.

To cultivate a good garden you will have to look for the best position in relation to the sun and air.

If weeds grow better in one part than another, this may mean that the land is better there, Note the areas which have sun all day or only a partial day.

Caring for the Earth

Land is the most important part of your garden, the soil composition varies so keep a watch for this variance.

Sandy soils are very light and friable and easily drain.

The clay is formed consists of fine particles that stick together creating the stickiness characteristic of the clay. Clay drains very slowly, so clay soils create a wet and slippery environment in which few plants feel comfortable. Sticky and dry land is also very difficult to work.

Between these two types, clay and sandy soils can be improved simply by addition of fertile mulch.

A soil may be acidic or alkaline. The relative acidity / alkalinity of the soil pH is measured on a scale of 0 to 14 where 7 is neutral.

For the best organic garden soil it should be on the acid side of neutral point, at point 6.5, Below that the soil is too acidic and will not allow some minerals that plants need.

But clay soils, sandy, alkaline or acid can be modified.

Another consideration of soil structure is its profile. usually in a garden the topsoil contains the best land. The layer beneath it is known as groundwater. And below this is the true underground.
It is essential to keep these layers in their respective places.

Identification of layers of earth

Surface layer: is the darkest and richest part of the garden profile. It is where plants grow mainly and also where the most worms, bacteria and insects reside, many of them beneficial for plant growth.

Finally we must consider the area of hardness which can occur between the different soil layers. This is a correctable problem if it is not known early, If not correct it may compromise ones digging depth.

Soil analysis

To find out if your garden soil is clayey or sandy place a sample of it in a jar with water then shake it up, allow the different components to settle in layers and any organic material will float to the top.

For their ability to retain or lose water, dig a hole depth of a shovel and fill with water. Allow to drain and refill the hole. If that water disappears quickly that means that the soil drains well too. On the other hand if you still there after a few hours or even days it is clear that it is blocked to the opposite extreme.

If it disappears on a regular basis in half an hour or so, then its usage and capacity is correct.

There are several natural indicators of acidity or alkalinity of your soil. For example, if ferns are rowing in your garden or rhododendrons this means the soil is acidic.

Improve the land

Once the soil is analyzed only then will it be possible to see what can be done to improve it.

In light soils, such as gritty, its best to add decomposed organic material, this will help retain moisture and also provide nutrients for plants.

Clay soils are more problematic to treat, especially because they are hard and difficult to work. To improve it, you must add stones (gravel), because it improves drainage, separates the soil and makes it easier to work.

You can also add ash burnt weeds, organic material in the form of manure or poultry manure also help transform the ground into a lighter medium. Worms will constantly break it up and mix with the ground, worms will mulch most of the new layer down so that the original ground becomes fertile and usable again.

Sewer system

Drainage is an important part of improving the your soil. In the waterlogged terrain you can add gravel but if it’s a serious problem with water stagnating after each downpour, you must install a proper drainage system.

This is done by digging ditches in the form of drainage pipes.

Cover with small stones or simply fill trenches with gravel covered rubble.

An alternative is to use water to create a pond then install water drainage pipes.

Gardening is not just about planting seeds and then sit back and wait for the harvest. In between these two events weeds try to colonize the bare soil and crop eating bugs seek these succulent plants.

Gardener job is to prevent this from happening.

For some, hoeing and weeding can be a very relaxing and not to mention therapeutic. When control of weeds or soil balance is lost, the gardening becomes a battle.

The secret is “little and often”. If time permits devote an hour a day.

Another obstacle will be nature, it tends to get in the way of the gardener with occasional bad weather.

You can take steps to minimize their effect:

Wind

Creates several problems. First the wind can easily bring down the whole garden bed.

Windbreaks is something to consider in setting up any garden, although it may not be essential if you live in an urban area where the buildings protect it from the wind, but in rural areas it can be vital.

The best windbreaks are those that allow air to seep through. Although a wall or a fence will have a solid look and seem the best against strong winds, actually they cause much turbulence that can be as devastating as the wind itself.

A row of trees allows the wind to seep through naturally.

A much quicker solution is to build a fence to allow the wind to pass through it, It can be built of wood or bamboo.

A modern alternative is to use screens, sold especially for this. this type of wind shield must be firmly anchored in the ground and need to be renewed or replaced from time to time.

A hedge creates a perfect barrier slowing the wind causing it to seep through at a moderate stream.

All about Garden Flags

Safety from sunlight

Irrespective of the theme of flags you choose, you should remember that overexposure to sunlight can make them look faded and damaged in no time. These flags are essential outdoor d├ęcor items; therefore, you cannot avoid them from being exposed to sunlight. So how do you ensure that the fabric of your flag remains fresh for a long time even time, even though it is under the sun for long hours? You can make use of some UV fabric protector sprays on your flag so that damage due to sunlight is reduced considerably. This spray prevents dust from accumulating on your flag’s material. Hence you can keep your flags fresh and bright for a long time.

Be aware of climatic changes

Garden flags are not very sturdy. Their flag posts are also quite slender. So, they get easily damaged in harsh climates. Whenever you expect a windy day, it is better to remove your flags, fold them nicely and put them away in a cool & dry place. This way, you can avoid flags from getting torn due to the force of the winds. Keep your flags lowered during times of heavy rain and winds if you want to increase their life.

Installation place

If you want your garden flags to last for a long time, you should install them in grounds that have been soaked with enough quantity of water. There shouldn’t be any sharp objects like trees, buildings, lamp posts or any other relevant item along the path or nearby the flags. This way, you can be sure that your flags will not get torn easily.

Regular cleaning

Garden flags are placed outdoor always. Hence, they are exposed to a lot of dust, even if you apply fabric protector sprays on them. You should clean your flags with a mild detergent twice a month at least so that the fabric remains fresh and pollution-free. Allow the fabric to dry nicely before folding them and storing them in a dry place until you take them out to replace the next set of flags.

How to Grow Strawberries

Preparation – before you plant strawberries, make sure you dig over the soil and remove any perennial weeds. Add manure for improved organic results. Place every strawberry plant 35cm apart in rows. The rows themselves should be at least 75cm apart. Water well and consider some protection for your plants, as birds and other pests can quickly eat the fruit.

Hoe regularly – it is a good idea to maintain a regular hoe routine between individual plants and rows.

Consider mulch – as May approaches, you can place straw mulch under fruit trusses. It serves a dual purpose: on one hand it prevents invading weeds from taking hold near the strawberries; on the other hand, straw prevents fruit rotting when lying on the ground. Barley straw is likely the best type of mulch you can use, because of its softness and because it is more pliable.

Grow in baskets – you can grow strawberries in baskets, which is a nice way to protect them from slugs. Five or six plants can easily survive in a single basket, as long as you water every single day during the growing season. In the period between flowering and harvest, you can feed the strawberries with a potassium-enriched product, for example, tomato feed. You can expect the same plants to produce for the next year, although you are better off renewing the crops.

Harvesting – strawberries are prone to rot, so it is vital to pick up any fruit as soon as you think it is ready. This will also reduce the chance of attracting various pests and diseases. During the ripening period, you should check strawberry plants every day to look for red fruits. Different strawberry varieties have different shades of red, but you will know when it is ready. As you pick strawberries, make sure the green stalk remains on the fruit.

After harvesting care – remove the straw mulch when you are done harvesting. You can compost it and use it in other gardening projects. Cut off the leaves and remove them, leaving new leaves. The goal is to let sunlight reach the centre part of the plant, which guarantees better crops next year.

Starting Garden Seeds

Let’s break starting seeds down and take a look at the following sections: container type, soil composition, soil temperature, time for development, and what makes a healthy plant.

Container

We don’t all have 140 milk cartons sitting around to start our seeds in, but finding a better (and re-useable!) replacement is really easy and affordable. I found mine at the local gardening center for under $5. It has 64 slots within a plastic tray. There are also options to use trays or pots made of peat, which can then be placed directly into the ground upon transplanting.

But really, you can plant in whatever your heart fancies. Shoes, soup cans, children’s hands that agree to stand still for 6-8 weeks… As long as it can retain soil and allow moisture to escape, you should be golden.

The individual slots allow me to put anywhere from 1-3 seeds per square, totaling nearly 200 seeds per tray. I start my onions in a 4-6″ pot, rather than the squares. Onions are hardy seedlings and can handle growing in big bunches like that, plus they are one onion per plant, and the more the merrier in my opinion. I don’t weed those out to choose the strongest. Those who survive, survive.

Soil Composition

You want your soil to be able to drain, retain the nutrients for the plant, and contain enough organic matter to develop a healthy plant. Soil is composed of 3 main parts: clay, sand, and silt. Clay are the smallest particles with sand being largest. The most desirable combination of these results in what is called loam, which is made up of around 25% clay, 50% silt, and the rest sand and organic matter.

For seedlings, you’ll want to get a specialized type of soil. Look for one composed of high-grade sphagnum peat moss and vermiculite, or horticultural vermiculite. Regular gardening soil is prone to getting more plant diseases, which wipe out the tender new seedlings.

    Vermiculite

– a naturally occurring mineral that helps exfoliate the soil and create air channels

    Sphagnum peat moss

– holds an incredible amount of water for its weight and enables the soil to hold more water and nutrients

Soil Temperature

The temperature for when seeds begin to sprout varies based on type of plant. The range goes anywhere from 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit to 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit. Check your seed packet and some resources online to see whether your type of seed does better in complete darkness (which will be colder) or with 14-16 hours of light.

Once the plant has grown its first two true leaves, it’s time to lower the temperature. Try to keep it 10-15 degrees lower than it has been, as this helps the plant become more sturdy.

Time for Development

Your seed packets usually tell you how long to let the seeds mature indoors before transplanting outside. This requires you to know when the last frost is expected for your area, and there are so many maps of this I could probably print them out and turn it into floor rugs to cover my whole house.

Even if you are in a specific area for your frost dates, consider different things which may affect the temperature. Being on ridges, or down in valleys, can alter when you experience the last frost. If you have doubts, ask local and experienced gardeners for their advice, or use the ever expanding world wide web.

How to Tell a Healthy Plant

I mentioned earlier that you must wait for the first two true leaves to arrive before dropping the temperature. What are those, you may wonder? When a seed comes up, the first leaves are not how they will appear for the rest of the plant’s life. They are slim and long. Most plants have very different leaf types and you will be able to tell once they have come in.

A healthy plant will be a vibrant green and not have yellow blotches or withering leaves. It will be sturdily built, not tall and spindly. Think a healthy wrestler. You want to be ready for the wind, the rain, insects, disease, a misplaced foot, and eager rodents. This takes brawn, folks.