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Green Garden - More Advanced Plant Care - Part I

Advanced Plant Care

Gardening takes time for success to happen. This is a discussion about further advanced plant care methods and techniques that can bring you additional success in an expedited manner. If you want to get things done fast and efficiently you need to put some serious logical effort forward in an efficient manner.

This information here will help be a guide for you to do things in the right way with proven steps that are well thought out and make sense. There are gardening fundamentals and basics needed to proceed in the proper manner from here, and keep in mind to include choosing the best plants for you to plant and grow in your garden. Using the proper soil type is a crucial elemental factor in providing the nutrition for your plants to prosper and flourish. Try to cut back more on everyday maintenance so you can focus on the most important things in the garden. Be sure to refine your trimming and pruning to the most optimized and proper methods. Conserve your time for only what needs the most attention and care in the garden.

It is the utmost importance to consider the plants to grow in your geographical area, and they need to be somewhat native to the region. For example if you reside in areas with very hot weather, do not consider plants that do not grow well in hot temperatures and climates. In very cold places do not expect growing plants that need a critical warm temperature to grow. Most mild climates can grow plants without a lot of concerns like dehydration and freezing of the plants due to various weather conditions.

The soil used needs to deliver what the plant requires for nutrition. In sandy unfertile soil do not grow plants that will starve for necessary nutrients unavailable from the local environment. In rich soil areas do not change the soil unnecessarily when the ground already has all the good nutrition the plants need. If you do choose to change the soil and replace it with something else match up the process with some soil that is exactly what you need. Do not waste time using inferior soil types that will have no effect and most probably accomplish very little results.

For most people there will be a certain amount of time you will be able to spend on proper garden maintenance. Choose a valid and realistic time schedule to keep your gardening work wisely allocated most efficiently. For example, in very hot climates do not try maintaining lush green lawn that may be almost impossible to keep up.

Geographical areas with very high temperatures might be better off with little or no lawn at all to maintain. It might be the best idea to try using some kind of attractive ground covering like ornamental rocks or gardening mulch as a better alternative. One type of mulch that may be useful as a ground covering might be wood chips. Wood chip mulch is also a nice cost effective and reasonable choice as a ground covering. The wood chip type of mulch can also be easy and efficiently maintained quite easily. Keep in mind the wood chips could become quickly moldy if the climate is often subject to heavy rain. If you must insist on implementing lawn covering in very hot and sunny places, the lawn may be burned away and turn brown no matter how much you choose to water it. Some people take a position to use an artificial lawn type. Artificial lawn of high quality looks rather nice and realistic to most people and will stay green without everyday watering being needed at all. Some “watering” or washing of artificial lawn is good to keep it looking fresh and dust free.

When using artificial lawn types in the yard and garden try to obtain one that is quality made. Low quality artificial lawn will look cheap and withered after being exposed to the elements over the seasons. Some artificial lawns also have a limited guarantee they will maintain a certain level of being attractively presentable after being installed in the yard or garden. Decide on what type of ground covering is the best choice for the job, and you will be more satisfied over the long term in your garden.

Saving time with logical garden related planning will also save you more time for doing other things more efficiently. Here are a few more good helpful hints and handy tips to keep in mind when further working on your yard and garden.

  • Do not trim and prune plants and trees if you are not sure how or do not know the proper proven methods and style. Try to avoid making a mistake when pruning. Trimming off a wrong branch or piece can shock a plant into retreat and stun its growth.
  • It is always best to completely familiarize yourself with pruning best practices and gain experience the right way over time. If you do not feel confident trimming and pruning a plant or tree the right way, then hire an expert or gardener to help you do those types of tasks.
  • Scale and match up plants and trees to naturally blend into the landscape. Full size trees and large plants will either require more frequent pruning and maintenance to keep them under control or overgrow the grounds entirely they are planted on. Set boundaries for reasonable limits garden plants and trees can occupy and use. Some vines can overgrow small areas very easy so use them in your yard wisely.
  • If you wish to save time maintaining your garden, select only plants that require low maintenance. More frequent plant attention will greatly increase your overall efforts in your yard or garden. Remember some fruit trees can attract various pests and may require frequently picking the fruits to keep away insects like common fruit flies.
  • Maintain proper plant distance and spacing between them and objects like fences. Good air circulation and new room for future growth of plants are important issues that require careful consideration. Proper spacing of plants can also help prevent diseases, pests, and fungus from spreading between plants through direct contact. Proper plant spacing also gives you more room to work in these garden areas without running into crowding concerns. It is important to group plants together by collective commonalities like plants requiring similar sun light and ground soil conditions.
  • Allow stronger plants to support other plants they grow together with. Place plants that need shade or support under trees they grow well with and complement. This can also add an effect of harmony to the yard or garden area as well as aid in easier watering of plants in small groups.
  • Scale planting areas to fit your ease of access. Do not hang plants so high in the air you have a problem reaching them easily for some reason. Have planters and flower beds no larger than you can easily reach inside them because if they are too large you will have a more difficult time reaching in and working on them during gardening tasks.
  • Do not assume more yard and garden projects than you can finish within a reasonable amount of time. Plan to finish goals and objectives in the garden promptly and on time.
  • Plan out new projects and take notes on paper. Sketching out basic formations and layouts can help you reach your target objectives faster than trying to remember every detail by committing everything to just memory only. Also keep a few garden ideas in documentation of some kind makes more sense when trying to share your ideas with others.
  • Keep paths clear between planting areas. Have nice places to walk without getting caught up in branches or muddy ground soil puddles.
  • Use the natural grounds and landscape for harmonious functionality. If you have hills and trees design the yard and garden grounds to use these to your advantage, like planting wind fragile plants closer to these places for protection and shelter.
  • Do not dismiss using a beneficial mulch to cover the grounds in the yard or garden. A small covering of wood chips, straw, black gardening plastic, lava rocks, or other natural ground soil covers are essential to successfully holding in proper moisture and preventing weeds. Mulch of an organic nature can also help nourish the soil as it decomposes into the ground.
  • Make a book containing photographs of your plants and grounds. This practice is useful for creating a history and record of your garden you may need. It is also a fun way I recommend to be able to share your gardening work with others.
  • If you have common chores done regularly or new projects from time to time use a day timer to write down a schedule for performing gardening tasks. Look at all the work in the garden as a long term and ongoing endeavor. Best to loosely plan tasks to prevent confusion or missed target goals.
  • Participate on gardening forums and local user groups. Take classes on yard maintenance and gardening on advanced subjects like pruning and hydroponics. Gathering with other friendly people of like mind can be a really great benefit to serve you when in need of some gardening advice or help.
  • Save your time wisely by working smart in the garden. Every minute you save is one less wasted bit of effort. Follow all the gardening best practices and you will have the most time to focus on what requires the most attention in the garden.

Where do I start?

Start at the beginning. Plan to work on the very most common problems you have been running across in the yard and garden. Some gardening skills might be more proficiently performed by you personally because you know your gardening area best. Begin dealing with what is most difficult to you at the beginning of the work and decrease the time you spend doing those general tasks.

For example, does weeding day after day in the garden or yard become cumbersome and time consuming for you? One might consider using a weed eater type of trimmer with a spinning line to cut down weeds fast and efficiently. This type of gardening tool will push your effort forward quickly and wipe out a great number of the weeds in an easy way. Be mindful to select a weed eater trimmer that is lightweight if you have a lot of work to do on the yard or garden. If the trimmer is too heavy, over time you will get tired more quickly so select one that is easy for you to handle well.

After the weeds and excess growth is cut down, begin to work on patches of weeds one at a time by digging out the roots on some and remove them from the ground soil. You may find it rather handy to use a very small hand shovel gardening tool to dig up the weed roots. Some small hand shovels for gardening need to be chosen carefully.

If the gardening tool is of a light duty quality it will bend or break under pressure when in use. Many metal gardening tools are made from soft materials and although they look strong enough to do the job they will not last for very long with heavy use. Choose a gardening tool of strong steel because some weeds have tough roots and will not pull out of the ground soil smoothly.

The finish of the tool is something to keep in mind also. If it is a gardening tool with a painted finish it will resist moisture better than a plated tool. The tool finish will also have a certain duration of life before the paint peels off or the plating becomes rusted. A rust treatment spray can be applied to a tool after use to help protect it from rusting too fast. Be certain the rust treatment applied to the tool has completely dried before using it on a plant. The chemicals in a rust treatment spray are often petroleum based and can harm a plant or burn it.

Eventually progress will happen in your garden and you will see many less weeds growing back the next time. What weeds can not be pulled out all at once will recede somewhat or die off by trimming them low with the weed eater trimmer. Some weeds will reseed and grow themselves back even if you remove the entire root structure. The process of removing weeds is like a never ending battle in the garden and yard so do the best you can with your time.

A weed eater trimmer is also called a “weed whacker” by some people. It is a gardening tool used for lawn care that runs on electrical power from a cord or some models use a gasoline fuel type. The electric ones are easier to use and less of a hassle to operate because you will not need to keep a supply of fuel for running them. The weed eater trimmers that run on gas power are heavier to carry but are more powerful for bigger jobs. Some of the weed eaters will also run on battery power if you prefer that.

The weed eater trimmers use a spinning cord like a fishing line on a spool that cuts down weeds and plants. There are different thickness lines that can be used on different trimmers. Lower powered weed eater trimming tools tend to generally use a lighter duty spinning cord that can be rather thin and break easy.

Check out what kind of line or cord the trimmer uses and select one that uses a line that is the thickness you need. For example when trimming around rocks and concrete the trimming line will break more often if it is too thin. The line or cord spool is adjustable so if the line breaks over time or becomes too short you can increase its length. Using a thicker line will help it from breaking too often. Adaptors are available for most weed eater trimmers to use custom line spools for certain work. Also some big jobs need a thicker trimming line to be able to cut tough weeds and growth.

If you do maintain a lawn and cut it every week on average, keep in mind the lawn will grow much slower around the winter season in some climates and areas. A good shortcut to trim a large lawn fast is to use the weed eater first to trim long grass and just mow only the lawn grass that is left over after you quickly trim the long grass. Do not trim the edge of the lawn at all if it is not necessary. Keep in mind doing a full edging job every week to a lawn will add extra time with additional clean up needed. If the yard or garden really needs a little trim on the edge of the lawn just trim it lightly and wait a week or longer before trimming the edge all the way back.

It is very important when cutting and trimming the edge of a lawn to be sure to always use safety goggles or wear safety glasses. Rocks and other materials trimmed off while edging will often fly up and can be harmful so be a safe gardener and protect your eyes when using any type of automatic trimming tools, especially edgers. Be a safe gardener and also wear eye protection when mowing the lawn just in case.

A safer and green way to edge and trim your lawn or garden is with a manual edger or trimmer instead of the powered type. These types of gardening tools are much less expensive to purchase than powered models and help save the environment. Be careful to keep clear of the trimmers cutting surfaces when they are in use.

Green lawn mowers are available and are very good and efficient for light duty work in the yard and garden. These are generally manual type push mowers and good for getting a bit of extra exercise too. Some green mowers will be a hybrid type that has a motor that is usually battery powered to assist in moving the mower forward in larger yard jobs. The green mowers with the motors can be a great help since full manual lawn mowers can be difficult for some people to keep pushing forward on the grass.

You can also sometimes leave out the use of a grass catcher when mowing the lawn when the grass is not really long. The advantage of not using a grass catcher is that the old cut grass can be used as a mulch to recycle back onto the lawn instead of throwing it away in the trash can. This can be very good for a healthy lawn and help keep our planet cleaner with less trash sent to a landfill for disposal.

On small hills or steep slopes it can get a person rather tired trimming these areas in the usual fashion with a mower. Use the weed eater and trim these areas if you can by hand instead of trying to mow them the usual way. This will save you more time and get things done quicker and easier.

You need a couple of weeks to establish a routine that has more efficiently. Try implementing new ideas to develop better gardening methods. Don’t be afraid to change your usual routine to a better way of doing things. Be creative and develop low maintenance ways of doing things. Time is valuable and best to move forward in the most efficient process.

Many models of modern lawn mowers will have an option to use a grass catcher or mulch out the lawn cuttings back onto the lawn. On manual powered mowers that do not mulch cut grass back onto the lawn it is recommended the grass be rather short in length because long grass pieces are not really that good of a mulch. Powered mowers in general may possibly be able to mulch grass cuttings back onto the lawn regardless if the grass is long or short.

Some older model mowers that are gasoline powered based need to have the gasoline mixed with an oil to protect the motor. This can be done easily by preparing a mixture in a safety gas can before the gasoline is added to the mowers gas tank. Be sure to use the recommended oil type if needed for a mixture because if it’s the wrong type of oil is used results may be unexpected and not safe.

Modern lawn equipment is best for using in the yard or garden now a days because oil mixing is often not needed for them and you are generally more shielded from grass, rocks, or other material being trimmed off while in use. Most of the time large gardening equipment like lawn tractors are not needed for mowing the lawn, and they often require expertise or training in their use.

Take some time to sweep up any extra lawn cuttings that may be scattered about on a sidewalk or walkway. In general it is not a good idea to leave lawn cuttings lying around because they can release a green stain that can discolor surfaces. Also do not just blow around the lawn cutting with an air blower because the decomposing grass will start to produce odor over time and litter the yard and garden area.

There are powered vacuums available with grass catchers that can make an area clean in a hurry if you would like to use something like this otherwise just sweep up normally. A good technique and practice to perform fast and efficient sweeping is to sweep everything towards one direction into piles or a pile, then use a dustpan to collect the lawn cuttings by sweeping into the dustpan with a broom. Some older wood handle brooms are heavy and can make you more tired while sweeping up. Consider a strong plastic handle broom or a fiberglass handle broom because they are lighter and will make the job a lot easier in time.

Dispose of lawn cuttings in a special trash can for them if your area has this service available. Cut grass will produce odor or attract pests so if you need to throw away lawn cuttings in a general disposal or trash can, think about using plastic disposal bags to contain the cut grass instead of placing it directly into the trash. After placing the lawn cuttings in disposal bags they can be neatly disposed of in the trash or thrown out at a later time.

It is a really good idea to water the lawn after it is finished being mowed. This will also help clean off the dust from surrounding areas like sidewalks or walkways by spraying them down with water. Watering the freshly cut lawn will also help it grow greener and recover faster. Use a watering ring you can attach to the water hose and leave it in place on the lawn for a while.

Do not forget to move the end of the water hose around on the lawn so you can perform the watering evenly. If you like you can water by hand and use a water sprayer attached to the end of the watering hose. Watering the yard or garden by hand is best for detailed placement of where the lawn and plants really need the water the most. Often brown dry spots will appear on the lawn where it will need more watering. When you water by hand you can concentrate spraying the water on any dry spots to help them recover and grow green again. If you have sprinklers for watering installed in the area use them to save you time and effort but be sure to hand water some to wash down side walk and walkway dust.

Hoses that use the method of watering the lawn by gradually leaking small amounts of water into the ground over a period of time are called soaker hoses. This method of soaking the ground soil gradually with water is an excellent way to water vegetables like squash that are sensitive to getting their leaves wet. Often getting the leaves wet on certain plants like squash can cause harmful mold to grow and damage the plants.

Try to water the lawn and garden during cool periods of the day. The cooler temperature will help the lawn and plants to soak up water more efficiently than watering during the hottest and sunniest parts of the day. This practice will also save water.

Watering when the weather is cooler will conserve water because it will not dry up as quickly as when it is very hot. Some good times to water the lawn and garden are in the morning or in the evening. Do not over water any yard or garden areas because this will make the lawn and plants sick.

Trees can tolerate large amounts of water most of the time and if you have a fruit tree you need to periodically give the tree larger amounts of water so the fruit can grow abundantly. Often it is also very good to water the yard or garden area down to keep animals away and discourage them from going to the bathroom on the lawn. If the animals insist on messing up the lawn, place small old pieces of clove garlic into the lawn at border or problem areas and water it a little bit. Most of these animals do not like the smell of garlic cloves and will not come back when they smell the aroma.

Some animals will mark the area with their scent. Garlic will confuse the animal’s sense of smell and they will many times go elsewhere away from it. Some people like to use hot chili pepper pieces or flakes but this really doesn’t work as well as garlic to keep animals away from an area. Hot chili pepper flakes can be expensive in large amounts and less effective than garlic so it doesn’t make practical sense using it in these ways.

Most of the time cutting and edging a lawn in the yard or garden will be the first thing done. Enjoy the work and do not spend too much time on the lawn because the real fun starts later in the garden work to be performed. Garden work is rewarding and can give someone a really nice time to reflect and plan all they value as important to them.

Gardening is also great exercise for us to do. Doing lawn maintenance and garden care yourself can be a nice workout burning off all those excess calories we all seem to gather. Paying someone else to do all the work in the garden just empties your pockets so do not do it unless you want to. Try to save more money today and start doing it yourself. It is a rather nice experience too and fun. Remember doing things in the yard and garden a little at a time will be much less work you need to do later.

Compost and Mulch

When preparing and caretaking the ground soil in the garden or yard sometimes there is a bit of confusion about the differences between compost and mulch. Yes, these two things have similarities but they are not necessarily one hundred percent interchangeable or even the same thing.

Compost is loosely thought of as any organic matter that is broken down and decomposing to enrich the soil to make plants grow more fertile. The compost material can occur naturally or it can be intentionally made and mixed into the ground soil to facilitate nutritional elements not necessarily present already. Organisms occur when the compost material is exposed to moisture.

The compost organism’s breakdown and digest the organic material releasing nutrients that can be beneficial when mixed in with the existing ground soil. The main idea of compost is to use it as a type of fertilizer in the yard or garden. It is not a fast way to make your own garden fertilizer but it is a green way to contribute to recycling and keeping our planet clean.

Mulch is not usually intended to be mixed into the garden and yard ground soil. In contrast to compost, mulch is spread evenly on top of the soil to basically hold in moisture, suppress weeds, and protect the ground soil. Some mulch may be organic material purposely chosen for the task, but it is not limited to being strictly organic or natural material. Mulch might be made from materials like rocks, which are natural but do not easily decompose and enrich the ground soil. Plastic garden cover and rubber pellets can be considered mulch but if it breaks down and decomposes it will not benefit the ground soil in the garden and tends to pollute the ground when this happens. Unnatural or artificial mulching materials should be removed when the start to break down and decompose.

Compost can be easily purchased at the store or local gardening center. Some ready made yard and gardening ground soil is already enriched with a mixture of compost. There are various preferences people have on what kind of compost they like to add to the soil. It is popular for people preferring a certain type of compost to make their own instead of relying on whatever type might be premixed into purchased gardening soil.

Making compost is simple but not easy. One must have the proper organic materials available so they can prepare the mixture they want. There must be a place where the mixture can be stored and left to decompose. The compost must be cared for and prepared so it will decompose in a timely manner. Also the compost pile may have an odor or smell that needs to be considered and placed properly in the yard so it does not disturb neighbors or other people. Depending on what is in the compost pile it might also attract pests or animals that are curious. Compost bins or pens serve a dual purpose as a place to store and mature compost while keeping it conveniently stored and not easily accessible by pests and animals.

A compost pile is not really easily transportable and a garden wheel barrel is a good way to move certain amounts of it about and around. The wheel barrel is sometimes a good way to prepare a soil and compost mixture. Using a shovel the soil can be placed into the wheel barrel, and then an amount of compost can be added and mixed with a shovel before it is transported to the place it will be placed in the ground.

Another personal choice for placement of a compost pile would be to place it relatively near where you would like to use it in the ground soil. Compost can also be mixed into pots for plant feeding. The compost pile can be made from many organic materials like these.

  • Wood ashes from the fireplace can be a great compost material. The ashes should be cool and cold before they are added to a compost pile so they do not heat up the surrounding area of the pile. This is a classic method for adding nutrients to ground soil that has been used for a very long time. The wood ashes should be of good quality wood and not from pre made burning logs purchased from the store.
  • Weeds from the yard or garden can be shredded and places into the compost pile. One should take care doing this though because this material might still contain spores and seeds polluting a compost pile with more weeds.
  • Leaves, pine needles, hay, straw, and twigs from trees and shrubs are good for compost making. The can be added to the pile and mixed in till they break down into smaller pieces. Some wood twigs may take a while to break down and decompose because they are more solid by nature.
  • Dead plant trimmings, and grass clippings from mowing the lawn can be added successfully to a compost pile. Grass will usually break down rather easily but remember decomposing grass can have a strong smell or odor as it breaks down.
  • Kitchen scrapes like pieces of vegetables, fruit trimmings, used or stale coffee grounds, banana peels, orange peels, lemon peels, apple peels, potato peels, old lettuce, used eggshells, and used tea bags can be nicely broken down as compost. Be aware that these types of organic matter will have odors and strong smells.
  • Sawdust, human and animal hair, dust and floor sweepings, and old shredded newspapers are all good compost materials.

Local organic materials and household compost waste is best to use rather than transporting some materials from remote places. Compost is like a type of useful rubbish and it is not convenient sometimes to move it around or collect it for transport from a distance. Keep things clean as possible as you work with the compost and be sure to wash your hands well and consider using a disinfectant soap or spray on surfaces you want to remain clean.

A best practice for preparing compost would be to collect it in a designated area like a compost barrel or bin. With a little effort if you wish you can make a nice compost bin yourself. Some designs for compost bins range from a traditional classic style bin like you might see on a farm to more fancy type compost bins much like raised planting beds but filled with compost instead of plants.

The main idea of a compost bin is to make a ventilated container that has the storage capacity to be filled with added compost that is left to decompose and mature. Some people used fence like enclosures either round or square shaped. Welded wire fencing can be placed in a circle formation and enclosed to serve as a compost container. Wire wood snow fencing can also be placed into a circle formation and enclosed. This type of wire container has support pieces of wood placed vertically to help support the weight of the compost better.

If you anticipate a compost pile that is very heavy it is best to construct it out of pieces of solid wood without wire. Pre made small fencing material can be purchased at a garden store or home center and assembled into a box bin. Other creative options for making compost bins are also possible. When in a position that you would like to save some money, you may find used wood pallets often free from places that may be assembled into a box shape compost bin. Sometimes the wood pallets if they are in good condition are still useful for their intended purpose so they would not be free to use. Look for broken or unwanted pallets that might be easily repaired with a few extra boards or nails. This might be a great way to get you started with making a heavy duty type of compost bin for free or a low investment price.

A helpful way of accessing you compost inside your bin is to have a way to open it without a lot of effort. Wire compost enclosures can be tied together and closed with plastic coated wiring that can be reused to open and close the bin repeatedly. Strong light duty rope or string is good for fastening a way to open wood compost bins. Often a place on the wood compost bins can have a door like way to open and close them for access to the pile inside. If the wire use is strong enough it can also be used to fasten wood compost bins for assembly or opening and closing them.

There are not a lot of rules for containing compost in bins. A few tips to keep in mind are you are free to use whatever you like to construct a bin of your own. Old bricks, garbage cans, large pots, chicken wire, and cinder blocks work well also. Keep the area open to good ventilation to the open air and have a way to moisten the pile and mix it around with a shovel. The material generally used for containing the pile should fulfill the overall purpose of containing the compost pile so it does not spread out all over in a unwanted way or blow around with the wind. The materials used to construct a compost bin should also be resistant somewhat to moisture and the organic materials decomposing in the pile inside.

The plant bed type of compost pile containers are basically the same as regular flower beds in their simple design. Some creative people design the compost bed to hold compost in a pile on one side of the bed, and on the other side they plant the plants they will use the compost on. This can be very easy to use a compost pile in this way and can save time having all the materials comprising the plants and compost all together in a common area. If the compost bed is big enough it is a great idea to separate places for both mixing compost and storing finished product.

Getting the best mix of materials in compost production is important. New organic green material fairly new needs to be well mixed in with the older browning decomposing matter. In this way the older browning organic compost organisms can have time to feed on newly added organic material to help break it down for use faster.

New soil can be added to the compost pile and many people try to grow plants and vegetables strait out of the compost pile. I do not really recommend this idea because mold and invisible organisms can develop when growing in this style. Of course this option would be possibly chosen by experienced gardeners and farmers when they really know a lot about what they are exactly doing.

Other compost style options include having separated places for collecting new compost material in storage before it is added to the main compost pile. Regular compost type containers you like can be used to collect and store new organic materials. Many compost materials make more sense to be produced and collected in place where they are generated.

For example, if a large tree shades an area of ground to a large extent not much will be growing underneath the tree because of the lack of sunlight. It may make sense to some people to let the leaves gather underneath the tree and provide a mulch type of compost where it is. Grass clippings are most efficiently used as a combination mulch and compost left directly on the lawn after done mowing as long as they are deposited on the ground in a reasonable amount.

Adjustments might be necessary when experiencing bad odors and smells from compost piles. A remedy for this would be reducing the moisture in the compost pile by mixing it around with a shovel and letting it dry out more thoroughly in the sun. Reduce watering a compost pile if any foul smelling odors begin to occur. Cover the compost pile with a waterproof tarp or plastic cover if excessive rain is expected to occur so the pile does not get soggy and excessively wet. Clover and other weeds can be allowed to grow in the organic material in the compost pile just be sure to shovel it around and grind it up inside the pile to help break it down into more compost.

Commercially available tumblers and container balls are available for compost making. Expect to pay hundreds of dollars when purchasing commercial organic compost producing bins and equipment. Many advantages can be gained when using specific equipment designed for compost production and to many it can be a enhancing benefit to make compost in this fashion, especially for farmers and commercial agricultural growers.

The commercial organic compost bins might have perks like sturdy well designed mechanisms and materials they are constructed with. Latched doors and hinged end over tumblers make things a lot easier when dispensing large amounts of compost material. You can consider cardboard compost bins that can be purchased for a very low cost but the main concern about these types of bins is they will get soggy after a while and the cardboard will decompose and break down relatively quickly.

Be sure if you choose to use a trash can as a compost bin to make ventilation holes on it. Ventilation is important for the whole process to work right. If no ventilation is provided there will certainly be too much moisture in the pile and it will turn into a mushy mess.

Keep in mind it may take quite a good length of time for some organic materials used in a compost mixture to mature and decompose. It is common for some compost to take one or two years before it is in fine condition, in a shape or form to be best usable as a fertilizer in the yard and garden. Be prepared to monitor moisture content and adjust it accordingly depending on humidity and weather temperature.

Be careful when caretaking compost over a long period of time. Do not twist your torso around much as you mix the pile in place because you will pressure yourself and get tired faster. Lift with your legs and bend your knees when handling compost. Do not bend over too much as this will make you more tired out from the effort. Wear a belt if you can to help support your back when lifting compost piles. Do not overestimate the work you plan to do and ask someone to help you if you need it.

Develop a best practice routine based on your composts needs. For best results schedule regular mixing and moisture checks for the compost pile. Add water regularly in the right amount. Consider using a shovel and an aerating tool as a best practice to mix and tumble the compost pile. When not tumbling the pile or mixing it, poke and prod the pile to let it air out. Also keep pests to a minimum by locating the pile away from problem prone areas like near places where ants gather or areas where birds may gather looking for food.

Some organic compost work well when directly mixing it into the soil without storing it in bins to decompose. Grass cuttings, leaves, shredded news papers, fruit peels, wood chips, hay, straw, pine needles, and wood ashes can mix in well right away because they will wither fast and not take a long time to break down into the ground soil. Try out different organic materials when adding them directly to the soil because depending on what they are they will work to different degrees of effectiveness. Pomegranate leaves are great to use as compost because they are small, dry out fast, and disintegrate in good time without a long wait.

Apply a layer of mulch upon the ground soil that is mixed with compost. This will help keep in moisture and keep weeds from growing in the fertilized area. It will also help keep pests away from the compost in the soil that pests might find interesting. Sometimes animals will dig up some kinds of compost like fruit peels and vegetable pieces.

Rabbits like the smell of vegetable pieces and may gather where they are composing while they eat the plants or vegetables growing in the area. Rocks are good mulch when applied in a sufficient layer to ward off animals. The animals will not like gathering in rocky soil as much as if the soil was bare allowing them to dig things up easy.

It is simple and efficient to compost directly onto the lawn with leaves that dry out well. When a lot of leaves are on a lawn they can be shredded and placed back into the lawn by mowing without a grass catcher. Some leaves have tropical thick flesh and will not dry out well or fast. Tropical type leaves or leaves that do not dry out well, don’t work well as a compost when mowing the lawn and shredding them directly to the ground.

When making compost directly it can save a lot of valuable time rather than methodically making organic compost in the traditional time consuming ways. If you use a rotary tiller to mix the soil for some tasks it can be a good choice in areas where there is mostly ground soil and no lawn is growing. In this way it saves effort tilling the organic matter if it is usable directly to the ground.

The extra organic materials like leaves can be places on the ground or soil if they are not there already and composted directly. Be sure to not place too much extra organic material to compost directly to the ground because it will overwhelm things like lawns sometimes and inhibit grass growth. Do not forget to water the lawn or soil afterwards when directly making compost to the ground. The water is necessary to help break down the organic matter faster so it can benefit the lawn and plants.

Compost and mulch are a necessary part of maintaining and a beautiful yard and garden. If you take some time to work with these organic elements it can only be a benefit for you. Taking care of our environment is not just an automatic process done through nature, and sometimes contributing to an effort just makes it all even better.

Care and Placement of new plants

There is a variety of ways to place new plants into the ground and it depends on what you are planting to determine the methods you will use. In general two ways of getting new plants into the ground are available and most popular. The first method to produce new plants is by using seeds. The second way to produce new plants is by purchasing new plants at the garden or home center and planting them directly already grown.

Saving time is saving money, but there is more of a balance to consider in the gardening world. Yes, planting plants already grown will save valuable time for you. Think about what type of plants you would like to see growing in your yard or garden. Different plants will have different prices. It will save lots of time planting plants already grown, but the cost will be much higher than growing them from seeds.

For example, a small vegetable plant like a bell pepper may cost two dollars a plant. If you buy twenty plants the total cost for the plants will be forty dollars. This will save you valuable time but the costs add up quickly. If you purchase on bell pepper plant for two dollars then use some seeds from it to grow more plants then you save thirty eight dollars for twenty total plants.

As we can see here growing your own plants is much lower cost than purchasing plants already grown. You pay extra for the plants to be grown already without you making an effort. This is something important to understand and there is no right or wrong way to purchase because it will be a personal preference for how fast you want to manifest your garden.

Quite often some plants purchased may be rare or not easily obtained. Some plants might be seasonal and not available year round. Plants after purchase might get sick and die rather quickly keeping you from their benefits and value. My choice would be to buy several plants at a time if not in a hurry to fill the garden, and then raise them long enough to bloom so I could get the seeds. After obtaining the seeds from the mature plants one could grow as many plants as they want with the seeds they acquire.

Using the buy some and grow method you can get some nice plants growing right away and save money with new plants coming soon after for free. Some plants are very easy to grow from seeds. Popular flower seeds can be purchased in large numbers at a very low cost. It is easy to just play Johnny Appleseed and just place hundreds of flower seeds in a plant bed and in a short while have tons of flowers all over the place.

Some plants grow better if seeds are planted individually in the ground one by one. Other seeds are best sprouted partially and then placed into the ground soil. Many plants have different life spans and growing times. If you are in a hurry to plant vegetables for a seasons planting effort you might not have time to wait till they bloom. Trees grown from seeds can take a very long time to grow. Trees also live generally a very long time so this is something to think about also.

My preference is to grow flowers most of the time by buying seeds. Then grow vegetables pre grown in small batches taking care to later plant more from seeds. For larger plants like bushes and trees my preference would be to buy them small for a good price, then wait for them to grow large.

Some plant seeds are really small like little crumbs. These are best grown in the ground and sprouted that way. A person can pre sprout seeds without much effort. When the seeds are very small it is more convenient to plant them rather than handle large amounts of small seeds and trying to plant them at a later time. Pumpkin seeds are large enough to pre sprout and place in the ground without being too small to handle easy. Seeds around the size of pumpkin seeds are a good example of seeds that can be pre sprouted without it being too much trouble.

Germinating seeds by pre sprouting them can be done in different ways. Here are some methods and tricks you can use.

  • Some like to use a wet piece of paper then fold it together with the seeds sandwiched between it.
  • Small jars or containers can have a moist piece of thick yarn or a cotton ball inside them where the seed is placed inside and sprouted that way.
  • A plastic bag can be used with a moist paper towel inside it and the seeds can be sprouted this way.
  • A glass jar can be filled with water and a large vegetable like a potato can be sprouted this way before planting.
  • Small planting pots filled with planting soil, with several small places for seeds to be sprouted at the same time are handy to start new plants.
  • Miniature size planting pots can be filled with planting soil and used for pre sprouting seeds.

If you are short on space or a good place to pre sprout seeds the best choice is to use a method that fits your situation. When pre sprouting seeds they can be protected from pest attack easier than planting them into the ground soil directly, and in this way it will give them more time to mature and grow before exposing them to nature. Some seeds are hard in their shells and need to be presoaked or kept moist with a pre sprouting method before planting.

Seeds like peas and beans need to be presoaked for best planting results because they are ridged and hard to sprout. They will germinate quickly if they are soaked for several hours before planting. The seeds should be dried off somewhat before planting when they are presoaked in water.

Some seeds like perennials need to be exposed to the weather outside to germinate the right way. The planted seeds need to be placed outside in fairly cold weather to sprout in addition to just planting them anytime. This will help insure you will use your time wisely and have a better chance for getting new perennial plants to grow.

You can also place small pots with perennials in a cold box like a refrigerator for a time but this can be messy storing food along side them using this method so use a commercial plant cooler if you choose to go this route.

The appropriate container is important for the type of plant you are starting from seed. Some seeds do not continue growing well with too much moisture. On most pre sprouting pots there is an option on the bottom of the pot to keep the container sealed or punch out holes for sufficient drainage.

Seeds need some warmth after a while to grow. If you reside in a geographical area where it is cold consider growing the seeds in a basement under a growing light or plant heat lamp. If a basement is not available try a garage for sprouting the plants. The key here is keeping the growing seeds from being saturated by direct cold weather outside. Remember that most plants also need some sunlight so be sure to take them outside in the day time or provide a good source of lighting you can rely on.

Most seeds should get at least twelve hours or more of sunlight. If you use a special plant growing light be sure to not place it too close to the place where the seeds are planted. Too much light will over saturate the seeds and inhibit them from growing well. Be careful not to plant seeds you want to sprout too deep in a pot because they will have a much harder time receiving light through the soil and sprouting.

Do not over water the young plants after they have sprouted for they will have a hard time absorbing the water and get sick or die quickly. Remember to keep them moist and warm generally. When they are larger they should be removed from the container before they get rooted into place too much.

Buy your seeds early before the peak of the growing season because they will sell out of stock sometimes. Shopping for seeds early is always the best choice for the best selection. Check the date on the seed package because if the seeds have expired or they are too old you will have a harder time trying to get them to grow or they might not grow up as healthy.

Most seeds in paper packs can be very reasonable to purchase. Do not overbuy too many of them because they will not be fresh enough possibly if you save them till later or the next year. Many times there are a lot of seeds in a paper pack so do not get more packs than you need or you may run out of time to sprout them all.

Buy the seeds from a good source that will give you a good price and also has nice seeds that are not dried out or of low quality. Discounted seeds can be a great deal cheaper than buying the premium seeds like heirloom seeds. Often they are discounted for a reason that can be anything from customers experiencing poor results or they are a bad breed.

For advanced gardeners and soon to be gardening experts, green houses are really one of the best things you can have. Whether the plants are young sprouts or more mature plants they greatly prosper in a greenhouse controlled environment. In addition to the benefits of the greenhouse providing nice warmth and sunlight for the plants you can add enhancements like overhead growing lights that can be adjustable height for optimum sunlight control any time of the day. Capillary mat watering system can save you lots of time by automatically watering the plants at certain periods in the day. Timers can be useful for both watering plants and controlling lights to turn on and off at certain times you wish them to.

Large greenhouses can store your compost, potting soils, and extra pots. Tables are useful to place plants upon for easy access and they also have convenient storage you can use under them. Tool cabinets can be a great place to keep your gardening tools organized and safe inside the greenhouse. In addition to being able to lock up the greenhouse from access you can consider gardening tool cabinets that can be locked for even more security.

Paper containers are a green way to help preserve the environment. They are made of organic material that does not hurt the environment when disposing of them after use. These paper containers are often shaped into pots and are very useful. Keep in mind that although the plant containers are organic and natural you should still remove the plant completely before planting it in the ground.

If you plant a plant in the ground without removing the paper container the root growth will not mature properly and the plant may not do well or eventually die after a while. Replace the paper container with another type after the plant matures because the plat will grow into and root through the paper it is contained in. Removing a plant that has firmly rooted itself in a paper container can be a real hassle and can hurt the plant or send it into shock when you take it out.

Paper potting containers have the benefit of being green and friendly to our planets environment but be sure to not over use them past their usefulness. Other paper containers that can be used temporarily are paper juice cartons cut in half to allow a plant to be grown inside it and paper egg cartons can be nice for starting small seedlings. Glass jars and jugs can be used but are not highly recommended because they are fragile and can break or crack. If you plant plants inside a large sturdy glass jug keep in mind the glass might be strong to a certain extent but the plants inside it might suffer from too much moisture and reduction of proper sunlight.

Be careful not to plant individual seeds too close together inside a pot or container or else they will tangle up together and be hard to remove later for planting in the ground soil. Starting seeds in a container too close together can also cause the roots to tangle up together although you can separate the seedlings they might go into shock and pass away so be careful. Remember that planting seedlings to grow new plants can be as simple as placing them on your windowsill and fancy equipment and amenities are nice but certainly not required in any way.

Planting your plants

After a while the seedlings you have pre sprouted will be ready to be placed into the ground after they are large enough. If you are not worried about plant eating pests in the garden plant them after they grow a few inches tall. Most pre grown plants you can buy will already be several inches tall and ready for planting right away. It is vital to plant pre grown plants as soon as you can before they become too accustomed to the container they are currently occupying. Planting a plant in the ground soil in the yard or garden will let the root system further develop and spread out letting the plant grow larger and prosper.

You may wish to plant the new seedlings or pre grown plants in a pattern. Patterns that are popular are straight in line, circular, or at random. It is easier to care for and water straight in line plants in contrast to plants planted at random or complex patterns. If you want to plant seeds directly into the ground without pre sprouting consider using a “pea shooter”.

A long tube like a plastic plumbing pipe can be used to drop the seeds through and direct them to the holes you are planting them in, this is the main idea of using a pea shooter for plating seeds. The pea shooter also makes things easier for you because you do not need to bend down over and over again to place seeds in the ground soil in the garden. Make sure the pea shooter pipe is long enough for you to stand comfortably without having to bend down much.

Have the soil already watered down and moistened up to an extent so you do not need to radically dispense large amounts of water into bone dry soil. Do not use heavy chemical fertilizers the first thing after planting. Throw down some extra potting soil or dry gardening manure if you like but do not over do it because any fertilizer will heat up the ground soil and can cause burning of the seeds or new plants.

Consider replacing some of the soil in the general area you are planting in to give the plants and seeds nutrients, or mix in some nice compost with the ground soil. You may wish to form a mound shape to the ground soil to keep excess water from collecting in a puddle when you water. Planting in rows is usually done in a long mound formation and this helps water to flow where each plant is placed along the line they are planted on.

Before you plant do some clearing and tilling of the ground soil before you plant so there are not a lot of weeds or old roots underground that might get in the way. Clear any obstacles and rocks out of the planting area. Do not plant anywhere chose to unmovable objects like fences or permanent rock formations. If you do plant close to obstacles keep in mind it will lend itself to possibly impeding the growth of the plants.

Plan out the steps you will take from best practice in the garden. If you need to relocate plants later it might be a real hassle so save yourself some time and think things out wisely before taking action to plant. Remember that sometimes plants do not take kindly to being relocated and your hard work and effort planting will go out the window if you don’t take care with your actions. Handle the plants carefully and respectfully because they will respond accordingly therefore if you are rough and careless as you plant you will manifest results unexpected most likely.

Be aware of planting at certain times of the year because you will need to take certain precautions and best practices depending when the planting occurs. Springtime is probably the best time to plant because nature has recovered from the dormancy of winter and everything is a go for a nice growing season to begin. There is a natural balance of rain and sunlight in the springtime that lends itself to luck when growing plants in the yard and garden.

Temperature is at a median point during the spring so it is not too hot or too cold for planting successfully. One bit of caution to bare in mind would be to get ready for wind to really pick up in some geographical area during the spring. Best to wait till it is not so windy before starting to plant because it will be inconvenient to work in the wind and the plants may not do well being new and fragile trying to withstand the force of the wind.

Summer is a good time for planting plants that do well in hot weather and prosper with lots of sunlight ample and available during long summer days. Be aware that plants will require watering more often in hot summer time weather. It is best to water in this season during the morning hours or in the evening time so the water does not dry up too fast from the heat. Try to plant rain sensitive plants like squash during this season so they do not get moldy.

Fall or autumn weather is nice for planting plants that do not require loads of sunlight. Days get shorter in the fall and this shortage of sunlight in the daytime is not favorable to some plant species. Be aware that you may encounter lots of leaves to clear away before planting during the fall because trees will drop many leaves all over the ground. If you like, till the soil and mix some of the leaves into the soil instead of picking them up or rake them up out of the way while preparing to plant.

Winter is not a time that is highly recommended for planting new plants in the yard and garden. Many geographical areas close to the planets equator may not experience any cold weather but they might have rain and storms that would not be good for the new plants to experience. In the northern hemisphere the winter season will have a more dramatic effect on newly planted plants. Snow storms and rain are not good planting conditions for seeds or young plants to endure.

When planting plants pay attention to details and give your plants a prepared planting area of some kind. The main factors to prepare are the soil, proper placement, and the best amount of watering needed to do the job under the weather conditions. Mulch and fertilize in moderation, and have everything you need ready to go to perform the work you will complete.

Always plant the right plant during the best weather and seasonal conditions it will do best in. Shy away from sandy and rocky soil types unless you are planting plants that prosper in dry conditions like cactus and certain types of bamboo. Be careful planting bamboo for there have been many people that have experienced a hard time removing it from the yard and garden area.

If you are planting large trees or bushes move them in a wheel barrel because they can be very heavy to transport around. If the trees and bushes are very large get someone to help you with the work or consider hiring a professional gardening installer or home center staff to help out. When working on large scale gardening projects like planting very large plants and trees the task will often require more than one person’s efforts to complete the job.

Barefoot plants can be easy to plant especially for gardeners planting in large volume. They are somewhat dormant and you will receive them with the roots bare without soil, possibly in moss with a burlap bag covering the entire lower part of the plant roots up to the stem. They need to be soaked in a bucket of water and placed in compost or moist potting soil for storage. The best way to handle these plants is to plant them immediately after receiving them.

Sometimes barefoot plants are acquired through mail order and they need to be thoroughly checked for moldy roots before use. Often the roots on these style plants might be in poor condition and since they are probably dormant they might continue to rot from the mold and not come back to life again. If these types of plants are in nice condition and bought for a good price they are worth a try.

Since barefoot plants are shipped out with no soil they are not as heavy, so they have lower priced shipping costs. My preference is for live plants and I like to inspect them first before I buy them. There is nothing wrong with buying barefoot plants so do not hesitate to purchase them if this is the way the plant needs to be received. Often many rare or hard to find plants need to be purchased through mail order and many of them are barefoot, especially if they are heavy to ship.

Finishing up the planting tasks

After planting what you like in the garden and yard you can apply mulch now if you wish. As mentioned before mulch is beneficial for keeping the grounds clearer from weeds and pests. Holding in moisture is also a benefit from using mulch. Sometimes potting soil purchased pre mixed will already have a small amount of mulch like wood chips mixed in, and for potted plants this may be sufficient enough for most plants to benefit from. The main mulching job is done on ground soil.

Be aware that mulching has benefits but also drawbacks. Lava rocks can be great mulch but if weeds do appear it will be more difficult to remove them because you will have to dig through the rocks to get at the weeds. Unnatural mulch like rubber pellets car make a mess and be hard to remove from the soil after they start to dry out and get old. Leaves can take a while to brake down if not shredded and can attract pests if left on the soil too long. Plastic gardening cover breaks down in dry hot weather and can be messy to separate from the ground soil. All in all, depending on what kind of mulch you use there is some upkeep to maintain the benefits.

The best type of mulch I have used for most applications is wood chips, preferably dark colored so they blend in with the darkness of the ground soil. If the wood chips break down they can be mixed in with the soil and do not need to be picked out. Wood chips also keep weeding rather easy and do not get in the way very much. The chips also hold in moisture rather well.

One drawback of using woodchip mulch is the way they might look in the yard and garden if it is low quality wood or the wrong color. I’m not a big fan of tan colored wood chips and do not like the way they look very much, so when using them I just make sure that I only get the very dark colored type. Probably some of the best looking mulch is white decorative rocks. I use them around red rose bushes and they look fantastic.

Red lava rocks are very resistant to weeds but they are not really that attractive looking to me. Straw mulch can be nice to place around trees but it can get messy to keep in place and it has that bright tan color I’m not crazy about. Colored straw is nice, especially green colored straw. Keep in mind straw that is colored may not hold its color very long so be prepared to replace it more frequent if you would like to maintain the colored effect.

An easy mulch to use around trees is leaves that drop from the branches of the tree. Many times trees will shade the area so much there will not be very may weeds to worry about growing around them anyway. Some gardening enthusiast’s mulch around trees with straw or hay but this will be difficult to keep up in windy conditions. Hay mulch around trees looks nice in western style ranches and farms. If you choose to mulch around your trees keep the pile low around the trunk of the tree. Too much mulch anywhere will stop air and water from reaching the soil and make a mess. Try to use no more than four inches deep of mulch anywhere you are placing it on the soil. Mostly I tend to use no more than an inch of mulch in most garden and yard areas.

It is not recommended to mulch around trees piling it up upon the trunk. Keep mulch around trees spread out no farther than the branches length. A best practice is not to let any mulch touch the various parts of a plant, and that is another reason why using thick layers of mulch are not needed. If a person wants to mulch a yard area like a playground with wood chips then it is fine to use thicker layers on the grounds than in the garden. Be sure to not use very thick layers of mulch in playgrounds because the people running and playing in there can trip and fall from loose ground pieces. Do not water mulch used in playground areas.

Moist watered mulch in yard and garden areas attracts beneficial worms into the soil around the plants and enriches the soil with their presence. Since spot weed clearing can be more difficult with mulches present one can use some weed clearing granules or pellets to help kill off weeds. But one must be careful because the weed killing chemicals might end up killing the surrounding plants randomly. Soil can get some plants sick from the spores in the ground when it comes in contact with the plants leaves. Mulch helps keep plants clean and healthier because the ground soil is kept more covered up because of the layer of mulch on it. Most organic mulch types will also provide a gradual release of nutrients that the plants will like as it gradually turns into compost over time.

Here are some popular mulch types and benefits to consider when using them in your yard and garden.

- Organic Mulch Types

  • Wood chips – Nice and attractive looking in the yard and garden. It can be purchased in different colors.
  • Hay and straw - Low cost and readily available. It will contribute amounts of organic matter to the soil.
  • Shredded bark - Nice and attractive looking in the yard and garden. It can be purchased in different colors.
  • Ashes - Low cost and readily available.
  • Weeds and seaweed - Free or reasonable cost and readily available.
  • Rocks and stones - Nice and attractive looking in the yard and garden. It can be purchased in different colors.
  • Paper - Free or reasonable cost and readily available.
  • Grass clippings - Free or reasonable cost and readily available. Easy to acquire and accumulate. Can be and aid to supply more nitrogen to the ground soil.
  • Burlap - Low cost and readily available.
  • Cocoa hulls - Low cost and readily available.
  • Leaves - Free or reasonable cost and readily available. They are very rich in nutrients.
  • Natural rubber pellets - Low cost and readily available.

- Inorganic Mulch Types

  • Plastic gardening cover - Different colors are easy to find. It is simple to use. It is a low cost and readily available mulch solution.
  • Garden fabric - Low cost and readily available. It can be purchased in different colors.
  • Artificial rubber pellets - Medium cost and easy to use.
  • Aluminum and tin foil – Reflects sunlight to plant surfaces. Sturdy and moisture resistant

Heavy duty mulch types are meant to kill off anything growing on the ground soil surface by cutting off oxygen and sunlight nearly completely. These types of mulches are more like ground tarps or covers; rubber tiles, heavy plastic ground tarps, cardboard, used carpet, snow, and wool. The heavy duty mulches are sometimes covered with traditional mulches like rocks or wood chips. One use for these mulches might be as an additional aid like killing off something very hard to get rid of from the garden like bamboo plants.

Most of these types of mulches are basically meant to stop most anything from growing on the soil surface and may need to remain relatively dry and not intentionally watered. Every mulch type has different cons to be aware of and these are the most common and troublesome. Choose your mulch carefully and make sure it is of a high quality or else you might have an increased rate of problems normally associated with certain mulch types.

Here are some popular mulch types and their cons and drawbacks to be aware of.

- Organic Mulch Types

  • Wood chips - Can be highly acidic and may suppress needed nitrogen in soil.
  • Hay and straw - Might have diseases harmful to plants and contain weed seeds or spores.
  • Shredded bark - Can be highly acidic and may suppress needed nitrogen in soil. Tree bark might have diseases harmful to plants.
  • Ashes - May have contaminates not wanted to be placed into the soil.
  • Weeds and seaweed - Can contain weed seeds or spores. May have contaminates not wanted to be placed into the soil.
  • Rocks and stones - Might have diseases and mold harmful to plants.
  • Paper - Can be highly acidic. It might have diseases and mold harmful to plants. May have contaminates not wanted to be placed into the soil.
  • Grass clippings – May burn plants. Might have diseases harmful to plants and contain weed seeds or spores.
  • Burlap - May have contaminates not wanted to be placed into the soil.
  • Cocoa hulls – Might have diseases and mold harmful to plants.
  • Leaves - Can be highly acidic. May weight down and push on plants.
  • Natural rubber pellets - May have contaminates not wanted to be placed into the soil.

- Inorganic Mulch Types

  • Plastic gardening cover - Can be highly acidic.
  • Garden fabric - May have contaminates not wanted to be placed into the soil.
  • Artificial rubber pellets - May have contaminates not wanted to be placed into the soil.
  • Aluminum and tin foil – Might develop harmful oxidation. May have contaminates not wanted to be placed into the soil.

Mulching is most importantly applied in the spring time season when the ground soil is warm. Spread the mulch around the plants evenly and completely. If the weather is warm enough and there has been a mild rain this is also a good time to mulch and lock in some needed moisture for the plants. Try to spread the mulch out of the way to place new plants into the ground.

Add new mulch over time as needed because it can dissipate depending on what type is applied to the ground. Start to mulch more in the fall to help keep the ground warm and the plants alive and protected from colder weather. Keeping the ground soil warmer in colder times will help extend your growing season when growing vegetables and fruits.

Some gardening experts recommend removing some forms of mulch in the winter season, especially if it is very cold and snowing. The mulch can freeze or possibly even make the ground soil even colder. Rock mulch will get ice cold in the snow and might freeze the ground more. Snow in certain areas if it is heavy will combine with the mulch spread out in the yard already and become thick. This might cause plants a lack of oxygen available in the ground and choke them off damaging or killing the plants.

Fertilizer is important in the yard and garden to continually feed your plants. Compost and mulch play a role in fertilizing the soil but are not necessarily the final solution in them selves. Other factors need attention such as nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, potassium, and pH content of the soil. Every plant will have different needs in theses areas and more too. There is not one shot simple solution to fertilizing everything in the yard and garden. Plan and be aware what specific needs your plants may have when it comes to specific nutritional needs.

When researching plant nutritional needs and applying the proper fertilizing techniques it can be a intimidating task, especially in a complex garden with many types of plants. Trial and error is an unavoidable burden to learn exactly what each plant needs step by step. You can search for handy tips and answers from experts but depending on many factors including geography and location you might need to just try popular recommendations and go from there.

If you have already used enriched ground soil or compost you may have all the nutritional needs of the plants well done and complete. Sometimes the mulch can also contribute to over time released plant feeding. Adding additional fertilizers are like adding nutritional supplements in an ongoing manner. For some the continuing nutritional maintenance of plants is time consuming and not very fun. The important thing here is to work smart and use your time effectively and efficiently. Consider many fertilizing possibilities and pick one or two. It is not uncommon to make mistakes and that’s OK. When that happens just take it as a learning experience and document the information if you like so you will not forget it next season. Sometimes it is a good idea to save the fertilizer packaging so you will know what you have used in the past for certain results.

One thing to keep in mind when thinking about fertilizers is you do not want to use too much. Overfeeding does not produce more results and it can harm the plants you work hard to plant already. Balance the fertilizing process with the compost and mulch type you probably already have.

Make the best of your work and get the full value from your work. Start off slowly when fertilizing and wait a period of time to observe what the results will be. In the end you will build knowledge of exactly what you need to do.

Most gardening experts focus on feeding the plats in three primary areas; Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. There are also various secondary nutrients that are important and unique to each plant. Trace elements are also needed for a plants needs. Calcium, magnesium, and sulfur are common secondary nutrients. Some trace elements needed I very small amounts are chlorine, boron, iron, copper, manganese, molybdenum, and zinc. Generally most ground soil will already have good amounts of trace elements to feed the plants as they need it.

Nitrogen helps to stimulate growth in leaves and stems, Phosphorus promotes growing new fruit and flowers. Potassium is beneficial to stimulate the plants to grow strong roots. Depending on the needs of the plant and its maturity different levels of nutrients are needed for each plant. Fertilizers are supplements needed when there is a lack of nutrients the plants vitally need. In some cases the nutrients are rather depleted or absent from the ground soil the plants are in. PH balance in the ground soil is very important to make nutrients available to the plants. Fertilizers do not all contain the same levels of nutrients and come in different forms and specialties. Do not expect to gain the best results when fertilizing with just one form or type of fertilizer.

For example using a fertilizer on a lawn that has a large level of nitrogen will increase the growth in the lawn. Fruit trees tend to benefit from high levels of phosphorus to increase flowering and fruit production. Various ratios of the top most common nutrients are available in different fertilizers and choosing the best combination for what your gardening goals are is a personal choice. If you have a fruit tree and do not want to pick and use all the fruit you can slow down its production by giving it less phosphorus to use. When a lawn is growing too much and you wish to mow it down less often just use a fertilizer with less nitrogen. Methods and tips like these will help you fine tune your time spent on the yard and garden and produce the desired results better.

General fertilizers good for all plant types have a basic balance of all three of the top basic nutrients. Store purchased fertilizers will have nutrient information on the packaging you can refer to for making an educated choice for what your gardening objectives are. Organic natural types of fertilizers are basically rated and there is sometimes some information about nutrients available on the packaging if it is a major store bought brand.

If you choose to use your own fertilizers like compost mix you prepared the exact composition of nutrients will be unknown unless you are very experienced in advanced gardening techniques. Using the compost in a general way is best so do not rely on it for the exact results you are looking to achieve. Commercially available fertilizers are the best choice for supplementing plant nutrition.

There are best practices for supplemental fertilizing plants. The basic recommendations are a good baseline for addressing your plants nutritional needs. Vegetables tend to do best with a general basic type of fertilizer since they need a wide range of nutrients for them to grow and develop.

Flowers and fruit need a higher level of phosphorus for encouraging flowers to bloom. Fruit is produced from flowers blooming so on fruit trees and other plants the delivery of phosphorus is important. Crops that require healthy root growth like carrots like to have high levels of potassium. These root crops do best with double the potassium level verses the nitrogen level. Lawn and leafy crops need a regular supply of nitrogen when you wish them to grow abundantly. Foliage, shrubs, and trees can also benefit greatly from increased levels of nitrogen content in the ground soil.

As you can see by the various recommendations for beneficial nutrients, once you have a basic idea what the nutritional needs are for different plant groups you can plan a method to fertilize that makes sense for you. Consider all the major nutrient ratio levels for they will have a large influence on your plants growth. Once you have a good grasp on the basic nutritional needs that are important to you, everything will come together a lot easier.

Take time to purchase fertilizers that are exactly what you need. Cutting corners and buying products on discount is not a good idea since they will not all give the same results. Try different brands of fertilizers and you will see some work better than others even though they have the same nutritional ratios

Labels on commercially produced fertilizers will give a three number ratio displaying the nutritional content amount of NPK nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. This is vital because the three numbers give you the indication of the desired results.

Some fertilizers are chemical based and others are more organic and naturally based. It is good to have an idea what organic ingredients are sometimes used and effective for plant nutrition. Organic nitrogen sources may include cottonseed meal, fish meal, alfalfa meal, bone meal, manure, and blood meal. Organic phosphorus sources may be colloidal, rock phosphate, manure, and bone meal. Some organic potassium sources may include wood ashes, langbeinite, seaweed, kelp, and green sand. Kelp is also high in iodine and is good for growing healthy vegetables.

Not all organic fertilizers will have the complete information about nutritional content and may vary in batch quality and effectiveness. Basically compost or seaweed tends to supply many types of minor micronutrients. The most important thing to make note of in fertilizer nutritional information is the NPK macronutrients.

Certified Organic fertilizers can be an additional indicating measure of high quality. The certification boards control who and what they certify so make note of the designated certification the product has backing it. Sometimes certified products do not make anymore difference than a product uncertified. As a best practice read all the listed fertilizer ingredients yourself and do some research to make sure they are really organic.

Some categories of plants do not need fertilizing often. Perennials, shrubs, trees, and vines may not need additional nutrients that often. Potted plants tend to exhaust their soil nutrients faster than plants grown in the ground soil. You can choose to replant them in a new pot with gardening soil or refresh their soil with fertilizer.

Sometimes potted plants with limited soil can be overwhelmed by heavy commercial fertilizers. This can tend to burn or kill the plant easily so consider refreshing the soil by replacing it all or just adding a new layer of rich potting mix soil over the top soil layer. Most of the time the potted plants will grow larger over time and need to be re potted or planted in the ground and this is a great time to consider feeding them with fertilizer or new rich potting soil mix.

There are different forms of fertilizer and they will be dispensed in various manners. The different application methods may require specific gardening equipment or supplies. Dry fertilizers tend to most often come in a powder form that is mixed with water. Grain form fertilizers are common and might have a dual purpose supplying nutrients to the plants and killing the weeds. Be careful when using dual purpose fertilizers because they might kill off the plants you are trying to feed. Pellet form fertilizers are popular to fertilize lawn and grass.

Liquid fertilizers are sprayed onto plants. These liquid fertilizers are best used on lawn and grass because spraying fertilizer on leaves and plant surfaces often brings little results because the roots need feeding the most. You can use liquid fertilizers in a watering can and dispense it to the plants in that fashion. Some liquid fertilizers come ready made and others are formed when mixing a powder with water.

If your plants need feeding through the leaves you can use a follar application sprayer. These might have some sort of container for the fertilizer and may attach to a garden water hose or be a stand alone separate device. Follar application sprayers often need to be pumped up with a handle to create the pressure to spray the fertilizer mixture onto the plants.

These types of sprayers will be much more expensive that the liquid sprayer types that attach to the end of the garden water hose. If you have a sprinkling watering can this might be a less expensive way to dispense liquid type fertilizers. If the leaves you want to water are high in the air the use some kind of liquid sprayer that can project the fertilizing liquid with more force than a watering can.

Dry fertilizers like grain form can be sprinkled or tossed into the plant beds. Do not sprinkle the fertilizer granules directly onto the plants for this will result in burning them most of the time. Try to apply the granules around near the area of the plant without touching it directly. If the plants are planted in a straight row then apply a long line of the granules next to where the plants are located.

If you are applying pellet fertilizer before planting you can use a broadcasting spreader. This type of gardening tool looks like a mower without a set of lawn blades. Moving the broadcasting spreader back and forth or forward will dispense an amount of fertilizer pellets onto the ground soil. The exact amount of pellets is sometimes adjustable so take care not to dispense too much onto the ground area.

Top dressing style spreaders are much like a broadcasting spreader except they dispense the fertilizer pellets in a even blanket formation as you move them forward. The exact amount of pellets is also often adjustable so take care not to dispense too much onto the ground area you want to fertilize. The top dressing style spreaders are generally used for fertilizing areas like lawns and grass. They can be a real time saver and do a good job making it a lot easier to fertilize a large lawn

Dry fertilizers like grain form and pellets break down over time as you water the yard or garden area so be sure to activate it by watering right after an application if you wish to use its benefits right away. Many times these types of fertilizers since they are dry have a nice benefit of being sort of like a time release vitamin. The plant nutrition is released over a period of time and not given to the plants all at once.

Manure can come in different forms for fertilizing. It may be in a liquid form and used with a watering can or it might be in a dry form mixed with soil. Steer manure is the most common and also chicken manure is popular. When handling manure you need to be careful because it is toxic and messy to work with. Wear gardening type gloves and good washable clothing. It is important to handle the manure carefully because it has live organisms inside it and you need to be very clean in using it. Use a paper mask or air filter so you do not breathe any dust from the manure when applying it.

Spread the dry manure around the plants and use a shovel to do this. It is a good idea to keep the manure in the fertilizer bag and use only amounts that you can spread on the ground soil right away. The bag can be sealed again and that is a good way to store it in the original bag if you do not use it all at one time. Manure type fertilizers are really strong and you do not need a lot to complete the fertilizing tasks. Using too much of this kind of fertilizer will certainly burn the plants especially if you soil the plants directly.

Use a broom to brush off lightly any excess dry manure that come in contact and remains on the plant. Be aware that this type of fertilizer has a strong smell and odor so be mindful to be clean and use it carefully around other people and neighbors. When finished using any type of manure based fertilizer be sure to wash your hands and clothes after using it. Dispose of any throw away items like temporary gloves and do not use them more than one time.

Liquid manure is easier to dispense because it can be use and diluted in a watering can. The way it is used is similar to dry manure with some differences. The liquid is messy and you need to be careful when pouring it because it can splash around if you are alert. Always wear gloves to protect your hands from getting soiled. Again you must be sure to not splash it directly contacting the plants and apply it directly to the ground soil.

After using any manure fertilizer water right after to break it down and get it wet. It should turn into soil fairly quickly and blend in well. If you splashed some manure liquid onto a plant, be sure to lightly wash it off. Do not use tools like fertilizer spreaders or sprayers to dispense manure if it is not a dedicated tool for this purpose only. As with any type of manure fertilizer like this, always observe best practices like disposing of throw away items after using them and wash your hands and everything important thoroughly.

When choosing to use compost to refresh ground soil nutrients you can use a diluted for of this type of fertilizer called “compost tea”. All you need is a container like a bucket with water and a cloth or strong paper bag to hold the compost. The water does not need to be hot and just regular temperature water out of the garden hose is fine.

While using gloves the compost is placed with a small gardening shovel into the bag and then the bag is placed into the container with the water inside it. The compost is best used in this way after it has already been broken down and is ready to use. The water will over time become filled with the small matter in the compost, then after the water is somewhat saturated with the nutrients you can use a watering can to dispense it onto the ground soil for the plants.

This type of liquid compost is also toxic like regular compost so make sure you are working in a clean way and wash up thoroughly afterwards. Many local areas are beginning to have public compost ready for use by the public so consider this if it is an option for you. Some experts say you can ferment the compost in the container with water for a long time, but most agree a milder liquid prepared with compost ready to use is best.

Ground Soil pH level

PH in the soil is an important factor to monitor and be aware of. The acidity or alkaline level of the ground soil is directly related to the pH level. The plants roots are greatly influenced by the acidity and alkaline level in the ground soil. Plants need to have a favorable pH level to be able to efficiently absorb nutrients through the roots in the ground. The numeric rating level of soil pH varies between 1.0-14.0. Understanding this scale is easy.

A pH level of 1 is highly acidic, a numeric rating of 7 is neutral, and a numeric rating of 14 is alkaline. Some plants have a pH range they do best growing in, others it doe not make much of a difference. The pH level is something that does not need to be considered if you are not experiencing problems with your plants. PH is something important to keep in mind but unless the level is a dramatic level everything should be fine.

If you need to a professional gardener will have an idea or be able to refer you to another expert to test the pH of your yard or garden soil. Some home centers and nurseries have home ground soil pH testing kits. This might be something you might like to try if needed. Soil pH of between 6.0 and 7.5 is a fair level. When the ground soil pH is below 6 then some nutrients and NPK will be less efficiently absorbed by plants. A pH of over 7.5 would lend itself possibly to the plants starving for a lack of obtainable Manganese, iron, and phosphorus. Other nutrients can be in short supply for plant root absorption at alarming pH levels so is aware of that also.

A remedy for adjusting soil pH and returning it to normal level would be adding amounts of sulfur or lime. Sulfur helps in cases of high alkaline levels in ground soil and lime is used to normalize acidity. Depending on the yard size or garden this could be very expensive in a very large farm or garden, 300 square feet or larger for example. Most areas do not experience large concerns like these and in addition as an alternative instead of using sulfur or lime to normalize the ground soil one might choose to replace and remix the existing soil.

Many plants will automatically adjust to the ground soils pH condition. Cultivated ground soil is easier to adjust to a normal pH level than an area already planted and sodded. It can be easier to become familiar with the soil and ground you will use before planting, and carefully choose plants that will grow well in that soil type. This will save you time later troubleshooting unexpected ground soil pH levels.

More remedies for soil pH are simple ground soil amendment, and compost placement onto the grounds. Time is needed for soil PH levels to normalize for a dramatic state. Retest the soil when possible and be patient if you are correcting possible ground soil pH concerns.

Landscaping and more Garden Maintenance ideas

In modern day, the terms landscaping and gardening are somewhat synonymous. Landscaping has more considerations and design issues that are yard and garden related than just simple gardening. When spending your time most wisely in the yard and garden, you want to have a well planned and continually evolving landscape favorable to your goals and objectives for what is the most important to you. Watering can take up a lot of your precious time and it is best to design your landscape and watering theme to work most efficiently. If you have chosen not to mulch in the yard and garden, then you will be using much more water than you really need to pay for. Be ready to have everything garden related in place to be the greatest benefit to you monetarily and increase your overall garden well being.

Did you make sure when planning your gardens landscape to choose the right plants? If you have selected plants that will need more frequent watering, they will require lots more time and water to take care of if you have not well thought out the landscaping. You need the garden to provide some degree of self care because advanced garden care is much more than just planting plants. It is allowing yourself more free time by having the best yard and garden for you.

Having an abundant water supply is a very big part of proper landscaping. Water and moisture is vital to trees, vegetables, flowers, and fruit. Without regular watering you will find your garden plants withering swiftly and creating a large problem. The proper garden planning, infrastructure, and tools are crucial to a beautiful garden and landscape.

You need to place the water in the garden where it is needed the most. Some plants do not need to be watered frequently everyday. Flowers are especially vulnerable to getting dried out quickly and withering fast without the proper moisture being delivered to them in a timely manner. Fruit will never properly form correctly without a good water supply. Vegetables also have large needs for abundant water delivery on a regular basis.

Some plants like cactus and various trees can survive just fine without regular watering all the time. Cactus plants have evolved over thousands of years to thrive in very dry conditions, but also consider they can flower rather nicely when they have small amounts of water regularly. Large trees like white oak have strong, large root systems that allow them go for long periods of time without heavy precipitation and moisture.

You will waste large amounts of water watering the whole yard and garden without second thought. For plants that need to be watered often consider a gradual drip system to keep them fresh all the time. It is a waste to install a sprinkler system with no focused purposeful task other than drenching everything in the yard with large amounts of water everyday. Some plants might even develop harmful fungus and diseases from unusually frequent watering. Water only the important plants that require watering, not the whole yard and garden.

Be mindful of where you are watering also. Many raised flower beds are made from red bricks sealed with cement. Red bricks are usually made from clay and will absorb water rather like a sponge. If you wish to completely drench a brick flower bed, do not soak the soil all at once because most of the water will be absorbed and evaporate through the bricks. Plan to water the red brick flower beds in stages over the day. This method of watering red brick raised flower beds is a more wise way of using your time and watering budget.

If you would like to water a raised flower bed in best practice and have it retain more water without absorbing it, then build or replace the red brick flower bed with solid building rocks instead. They will not waste water the same way as red bricks do, and you will water a lot less over time because the flower bed will stay moist longer. Sometimes you have specific plants in a flower bed that need lots of reliable drainage or they will get moldy and ill. A fast draining raised flower bed can be made inexpensively out of wood. Raised wood flower beds are not usually sealed between the boards so they will release more water best. Raised brick and building rock flower beds will have cement sealing them in between the bricks and rocks so they will certainly retain more water.

If you do choose to install a slow drip watering system of some kind it would be of the most benefit to use it in a raised wood flower bed because these designs need to be watered more often. It is fine to also install slow drip watering systems in raised brick type flower beds since they loose water at a medium rate. Raised building rock type flower beds hold water so well that a regular sprinkler system would be the best choice for them.

Overhead sprinkler systems work the best in the early morning when the sun is not so hot and is fairly low in the sky above. Overhead sprinklers will tend to loose more water over time to evaporation concerns when they are used during the hottest part of the day. Also use these types of sprinkler systems when there is little or no wind, or else much of the moisture and water particles will be carried away with high winds.

In places where there are heavy rains and frequent precipitation it is a great idea to collect rain water using some type of container. If you install or already have a rain gutter system on your home just place a rain barrel underneath the water spout drain to collect the rain pouring from the roof. The water is free this way and you can use it to water the garden without having to worry about large watering costs.

Rain barrels come in many forms and types from the traditional barrel styles to closable lid types that can help protect the water from pests and keep it clean for watering later on. Some watering barrels have a built in nozzle where you can directly attach a gardening hose or release water into a watering can. You can also use a transport dolly to move a heavy rain barrel with a storage lid so you can store that barrel with water already in it, and replace it again with an empty one.

Another good practice in very rainy areas is to use rock mulch. Rock mulch will dry out much faster than some other mulch types like wood chips. Wood chips when used in rainy climate will tend to stay wet for a longer amount of time and make the ground rather soggy. Rock mulch will also get heated up more from available sunlight better and keep the ground warmer on cloudy overcast rainy days.

Red lava rock mulch tends to keep the ground warm and dries out fast. It can be purchased in other colors besides red if you wish and it is a good choice for rainy climates. For hot climates try using moister mulch types like leaves or wood chips to lock in moisture.

Hot climates are best for drought tolerant types of plants like cone flowers and cactus or other native desert plants. Day lilies and other deep rooted plants are recommended for drought prone and hot places because the deeper root systems have an easier time supplying water to the plants.

Bare soil that is uncovered in hot climates is not good for plants and will require a mulch to keep the ground moist. Bare soil used anywhere in the yard or garden will also be harder to water thoroughly because the ground on this type of soil does not absorb water as easy as mulch covered grounds. Soil that has lots of clay or sand content in it needs to be replaced for the majority of plants to use it effectively since it does not retain water well at all. Sand and clay content types of soil can be used just fine with drought resistant plants in dry climates.

Using the wrong sprinkler types or misaligned sprinklers does not work efficiently to deliver the vital water plants need. Sprinklers that are out of alignment will waste more water and not produce proper results. Installing the wrong type of spray head on a sprinkler will not deliver the water efficiently to the proper places on the ground soil. Replace all sprinkler spray heads with the proper water jet to align it properly in the right direction. Water jets come in different spraying patterns and it is important to use the right one for the job.

If you are experiencing very large water bills from watering a huge lawn in a yard or garden, seriously consider replacing all the lawn with ornamental grass. These types of grasses use much less water to maintain and they are rather drought tolerant in dry places. If a large lawn growing area is not right for you then try replacing all the lawn with a new ground cover like simple lava rocks or wood chips. With this method of just using a very simple ground covering type for your needs you will still have a nice looking yard instead of unsightly bare soil, and you do not need to worry about following through everyday with regular watering anymore.

When using a special type of gardening area like a large vegetable bed, seriously consider using a custom irrigation system for watering. This does not have to be an expensive project to install and can be quite easy for a basic setup. Begin by planting all your vegetables in rows like you would see on a large farm. Install an extra reserve water nozzle to connect to the homes main water supply. Attach a primary watering hose to the newly installed water nozzle and place the primary watering hose in front of the rows of vegetable plants.

In between each row of vegetables dig a long shallow trench so the water can flow evenly down the rows of vegetables. The primary watering hose can be of the type that will drip and dispense water along its entire length, like a soaking hose. As the water exits the primary soaking hose it will flow down the long shallow trenches between the vegetable rows watering all the plants at one time.

You can also make your own slow watering dripper if you like by finding a large plastic bucket or container and filling it with water. Large industrial type buckets are available that can hold many gallons of water at a time so you will not have to refill it as often. Then drill or punch out small holes in the bottom of the plastic bucket to gradually release the water over a period of time. If you have several of these at a time filled up inside the gardens flower beds you are then freed up more to work on other tasks in the garden while they water for you. This can reduce your effort dramatically when watering certain garden plants by hand.

A watering hose can be a great esoteric complement to a garden area. Most popular garden watering hoses are green colored but other colors are available and will look much better in the garden. At a house I was visiting the people who lived there had a large red brick area there with many raised plant beds all along the yards fence. Everything in the yard was red brick style, from the raised plant beds to all the bricks on the patio grounds. Many lush green plants were planted along the entire fenced in area inside the red brick flower beds, and a nice red hose with a shinny brass end was used to water all the plants. This was very stylish and cool to see with the yard set up this way.

Sometimes people do not like an exposed watering hose to be tangled up upon their lawn area, and this will certainly cause a large number of brown spots to appear in lines on the formerly lush green lawn. A good idea is to use a hose tamer type of spool that will roll up the hose neatly away when it is not in use. They have different designs of hose tamers available and they can be purchased for a good price at a home center or nursery.

Many models of hose tamers have the hose enclosed completely inside a storage box and the hose is collected inside the box by turning a handle to move the spool in a motion to collect it and roll it up. This type of gardening convenience can be a great way to keep a watering hose out from underfoot and free from getting all tangled up on a lawn or patio.

The hose storage box color can be matched closely to the color of the garden watering hose or you can purchase a new watering hose that more closely matches your garden area. If you would like better to store you gardens water hose away somewhere else, it can be much easier to use a quick release hose de coupler at the main place where you turn the water off. In this way you can just snap it off to remove it from the water nozzle instead of taking time unscrewing it from the hose.

Other hose attachments can be placed on the watering hoses end point to attach a power sprayer. Power sprayers are nice to use on a garden watering hose to reach difficult places. Often times flower beds and planters are rather deep and it might be several feet or more to reach some plants when you are trying to water them from a distance. Water coming out directly from the hose often does not have enough pressure to reach everywhere you want it to, so a power sprayer is a good solution to watering plants at a distance without having to step directly inside something like a flower bed and walk around inside it to complete watering it.

These types of water power sprayers are sometimes adjustable and you can then change the size of the water stream exiting the nozzle end to a fan spray or a large stream. Sometimes the power sprayer will have an extended handle that helps a lot to reach high places like plants hanging in the air from a patio. Extended handle hose sprayers are often called water wands.

For watering ease and convenience many designs of watering cans are available. Some watering cans have an extra capacity for large watering tasks, or they may have various designs for different types of watering heads. Watering heads on a watering can vary from multiple streams of water at a time that are good for small plants, to large fast streaming end types for delivering large amounts of water quickly.

If you have a large yard and garden to water regularly you may wish to purchase and use an in ground irrigation system. This is a great way to water large lawn areas without taking up a great amount of your time. The sprinkler heads are installed in a recessed fashion and only pop up when needed so it is safe to mow the lawn without damaging them. If you have relevant experience you can install this type of watering system yourself, but most people will choose to have this type of system designed and installed only by a professional.

Many newer homes already have an in ground irrigation system installed ready to use when the home is purchased. Some older model ground irrigation systems are turned on manually by turning a water main dial or handle. Sometimes the dials on the water main connections are difficult to twist on and off so a sprinkler fork is used. A sprinkler fork is a tool that looks like a forked key and is inserted into holes on the dial to rotate it on and off to release the water.

They have long sprinkler forks available, so if the dial to turn the sprinklers on is near the ground you will not have to bend down far to reach it. On newer in ground irrigation system installations timers are used to automatically turn the sprinklers on and off at certain intervals you choose. Automatic controls for these types of sprinkler systems will add to the overall cost and not everyone uses these systems because of the relatively high cost.

Pruning trees and plants when landscaping is a type of art, and a skill that you need to learn from experience to fully master. Adding to the complexity of pruning and trimming trees or plants is the fact that no two plants are exactly the same. Yes, there are often general guidelines to follow when performing pruning tasks but even on trees and plants of the same species there can be slight variations where if you accidentally begin to cut in the wrong place you can kill a branch of the plant or stun its growth. Nevertheless, pruning skills are very important when landscaping and refining your yard and garden.

When learning to prune trees and plants it is important to learn the bare bone basics first. Most regular small plants are much more forgiving where you can cut and trim them just about anywhere without a thought. It is best to practice pruning on small plants before trying to prune trees and larger plants because generally the larger the plant the more sensitive to pruning it will be, and one mistake on a large plant can leave it misshapen or handicapped.

Small plant pruning basics to keep in mind are fairly easy to remember. First thing to do, be sure to make clean and straight cuts with sharp enough tools to do the job. Root systems support whatever growth is above the ground soil, so younger small plants take time to develop adequate roots to support new growth that occurs. Often small plants will grow above ground faster than the root system can grow to support them. You can observe this some of the time when small plants grow tall and thinly. When this happens the root systems need time to grow further before the plant can expand itself.

Generally you can cut half the plant away so it has less mass for the roots to support. In this way the plant will have time to grow and develop its root system more for supporting itself. This will also stimulate the main root stem to grow thicker and better support the plant as it grows taller. Cut away dead twigs and leaves because this will help the plant feel more cared for and it will prosper. Plants do not really feel but they will appreciate the dead material on them being removed and grow larger.

Some small plants will grow multiple “water sprouts” where you prune and trim them. Many people do not like them because these are much like unwanted extra growths on the plant. When you cut them off they will often grow back even more. Do not be alarmed by this effect because it is just a normal part of pruning small and medium size plants that happens to everyone. Water sprouts can be prevented more by cutting closer to a thicker main piece of a plant rather than a twig.

Bushes can be routinely pruned successfully in the early spring time. In spring some bushes might be relatively dormant and just begging to wake up from their winter sleep. Prune off a majority of the old and unwanted branches. Some old branches can be left to remain on the plants. An overall reduction is what is most important to be preformed. Plant reduction will help the bush better support itself when it fully awakes from dormancy. Feel free to shape and form the bush at the same time you are pruning it.

A selective reduction type of pruning cut is preformed on an unwanted plant growth near a fork. Make sure the branch is large enough to discourage water sprouts from appearing. If the branch of the plant is a fair size you are pruning away from, then this type of reduction cut is a good one to make. A removal cut is similar to a reduction type cut but somewhat different because it is use to specifically remove unwanted branches from the plant stem such as growth occurring too low for your taste. Lower pieces of a plant may bloom and hang too low thereby dropping into the ground soil in an unwanted way.

After you have acquired substantial experience pruning and trimming small and medium size plants successfully you are then ready to try pruning on larger size plants. As you experience pruning on larger and larger plants you need to seek advice or have someone teach you what to do so you can try to avoid making mistakes. Some books can be fine for basic facts but you need to talk to people and seasoned gardeners who have really done some pruning work before. These types of seasoned veterans really know what they are doing and it may take several years or more till you can build sufficient experience to be really good at pruning larger size plants.

If you do not know anything about pruning trees and large plants then I recommend you do not attempt to do it. Hire an experienced gardening professional because often the larger more mature plants are too valuable to damage and can be very expensive to replace. Some fully grown trees can be hundreds of dollars to purchase and very expensive to install. Very large trees will be thousands of dollars to purchase and very difficult to try and plant new so be very careful when pruning. So as you can see here, this is serious work and certainly for only advanced gardeners.

We all must start somewhere when pruning larger size plants so after getting practice on small plants use this information here to help you build your skills, and as a guideline to knowing what to expect. Medium size plants and bushes are medium skill level to prune as they are probably in mid life and they can still re grow and restore themselves if altered in a negative way by bad pruning. Trees are the most difficult to learn how to prune, and at any age in their life cycle they are very sensitive to any alteration done by pruning and trimming of any kind. The category of medium size plants in the pruning world does not include miniature trees or dwarfs. These miniature trees called dwarfs can be mistaken for medium size plants but they are not. In fact they are just smaller scale versions of full size trees and must be treated and pruned like they are full size trees or you can really damage them.

Bushes and medium size plants are what we can mainly focus on now, but many of the tasks here also apply to trees and large plants. As long as you use good technique to make nice cuts you can usually have successful results with them. The careful selection of cuts is most important. You have two main objectives to keep in mind. These objectives are not hard requirements but they are firm requirements when using similar techniques on trees and large plants.

First you will make cuts to stimulate growth, and second you will trim and prune certain places in a style to prevent and protect against disease. On a medium to large plant there are many branches. On a few branches at the very end tip, sometimes the branch will grow a bud. This bud is called an apical bud and it inhibits growth of lateral buds. The apical bud needs to be pruned off. When the apical bud is trimmed off it will allow the very end tip to have the chance to fork out laterally in two directions and expand the branch.

When the branch is allowed to fork out at the end, it will double its width because two branches will grow where one was before. More branches allow the plant to expand and grow more leaves and blossoms. More flower blossoms result in more fruit being grown on a fruit tree or bush. On medium size plants, the plant will grow fuller with more branches.

Secondly, as you attempt to remove unwanted branches you must make a good proper cut to prevent and protect against disease. Cut a branch off just above the bud and make the cut straight and clean. Do not cut a branch off too close to a bud, or too far above a bud. That is the basic way to prune bushes and medium size plants.

A bud is like a small growth on a main branch that grows and develops into a leaf, flower, fruit, or new branch. It will look like a small nodule or bump on the main branch. This is the part you need to be careful about cutting near. If you ignore the buds on branches and just cut away at random you will get random and unpredictable results. The buds are where the plant grows and expands itself, so be careful they are not damaged.

Other various pruning type trimmings are possible but may not be present on all plants. A branch that crosses back over the trunk of the plant is a crossing branch and should be pruned off. Overly long stubs left over from pruning off branches from the trunk can be cut somewhat closer to the trunk but not flush against the trunk, because this could damage the plants trunk if the cut is too close. Odd branches can grow up through the ground from the roots, and these are called sucker branches and should be pruned off. Suckers are like unwanted growths and can possibly occur most anywhere on the plant.

Trees and large plants follow the same basic guidelines here, but these are general directions and best practices. All trees and plants are unique and different so use your best judgment. Trees and large plants can have heavy branches and need to be cut in more than one cut because if they fall unexpectedly they can be very heavy, and you need to be very cautious when doing so. Seek personal help from an expert when you need to prune large branches or hire a gardener.

Have a good idea about the preferred shape of a tree or plant before you start pruning pieces of it off. Once branches are cut off they are usually gone for good. Learn about other trees and plants of the same species and look how they tend grow and develop to create a mental reference. Visit nurseries, gardens, and orchards to take a look at various trees and plants to get more familiar with them.

Ask questions to other garden enthusiasts about when certain trees and plants are best pruned. It will make a difference to you because certain species have various rules. For example, some believe dormant pruning of apple trees makes the more resistant to frost but apricot trees will become more susceptible to frost damage when dormant pruning is done.

On trees and large plants remove branches only with a saw and then prune with pruning shears. Be sure to use sharp enough tools to make quality cuts because mushy soft cuts can become diseased. Cut all branches at a bit of a slanted angle but not too straight or overly slanted. Barefoot trees loose a lot of root matter when delivered so they need to be pruned because the root structure is smaller than usual and will not support as many branches as in the previous season.

Thinning out the fruit is very important because fruit trees need to have the fruit picked off before too long. Most of the time trees will bear more fruit then they can support so do not leave it on the trees and pick it off as soon as it can be harvested. If the fruit is not pruned off the tree, the following season it might not produce as much fruit as the previous year.

Remove dead wood branches by pruning them off. Do not prune branches too far away from the main branch or they will probably die off leaving a stub. On main branches there is a place where a smaller branch grows from and it is called a “branch collar”. Prune off branches very close to this branch collar and you will have the proper type of pruning cut. The branch collar will look like a bulge on the main branch and this is an easy way to spot it easy. Be careful not to cut into the branch collar because it will damage the main branch and possibly allow it to rot from disease.

Many experts believe the best time of year for pruning is spring and summer time. Tree branches that are high in the air can be pruned properly with a long pole pruner tool. Try to shy away from over pruning because even if it is done in the right way it might kill the tree or large plant. Using a three cut method sometimes is an advanced way to prune off large branches but it should be done only by experts because the big branches are heavy, and using more than one cut into the branch will help better seal up the wound to the tree so they heal up better. Stay clear of the branch collar on the trunk, or else a cut into the trunk will hurt the tree.

Pruning decreases overall labor in the garden because the majority of the plant material present is reduced, so less time is needed for gardening. The plants will be happier and well cared for with regular pruning. Pruning and trimming your garden plants is always a really wining situation to benefit all, and makes your landscape look great.

Gardening in Difficult landscapes

Getting rid of weeds in the yard and garden is a never ending process you must endure to successfully continue taking care of all you plants. Nothing is easy and weeding out hundreds of weeds a year is not easy either, but you can save your time for better things by taking steps to avoid more weeds from growing plentiful. If you have use the best practice hints and handy tips for better gardening results there will be less weeds already due to using a mulch that discourages a lot of weeds from presenting themselves. If you have not applied at least some mulch by now then now is the time to act upon this opportunity.

Even though mulch has probably been used already there will be still some weeds that will make themselves known and visible in the garden. Various places where weeds will keep coming back a lot are on the yards lawn, un mulched ground soil, potted plants, and random areas where weeds have appeared in your mulched garden areas. Some weeds will grow so fast that you will have to just live with them sometimes.

Weeds if they are separate from the other plants can be tolerated to an extent because they are not next to other plants, but when weeds get too close they will attempt to take control of a ground soil area and use up its nutrients for themselves. They can also entangle themselves with important plants and kill them or choke them off gradually. It is important to remove the weeds before the multiply too much and directly affect garden plants you do not want them to interfere with.

Some weeds create urgency for removal more than other weeds do. Various weeds can have large heads with seeds that blow in the wind like feather and they will go everywhere. It is good to remove them right away if the weeds are seeding. Try and perform the removal of the seeding weeds long before they have a chance to spread out in the garden and greatly multiply.

Dandelions are a good example of a weed that can spread itself around the garden quickly. It is one of the weed types that will have a large head with small feather like seeds that will blow away in the wind and seed themselves everywhere they can. Dandelions are the kind of weeds you may have played around with when you were younger. Many people find it amusing to blow on the large round seed head on the top of the weed and watch them float away on the wind. This was fun maybe at the time, but it is not fun to be pulling out hundreds of new dandelions growing around the yard.

To get rid of dandelions you will need to try and get them before they spread and dig them up out of the ground. They usually root kind of deeply se you will need a small garden hand shovel to dig the roots up. Just removing the top of a dandelion will get you nowhere because they will re grow themselves quickly so be sure you take care of them on the first try.

Weeds that are not obviously seeding like clover can be left for a while till they grow longer if you like, because if they are the type of clover that grows tall they can be pulled out easier that way. Short clover will not grow long stocks and it is not easy to remove without some minor digging them up. The patches of short clover will have a connecting stem between them if they have grown from the same patch. Be sure to find the common places they connect themselves by through the stem, and sever the stem while pulling out as much of it as you can pick out. If you remove a fair amount of the common clover patch stem in addition to the clover itself, it will begin to die off.

Clover and dandelions will be common place on many lawns so remove as many of them as you can. Some various weeds are sort of generic and look like little plants. Some of these types of weeds will go away of you cut off or pull the tops of them, and some will need more detailed picking out of the ground soil. Lawn fertilizer pellets will often have a version of them that can also kill weeds and since the lawn is normally bigger than most plants the lawn will tolerate the treatment fine without being negatively affected.

Un mulched ground soil places like some potted plants will need to be picked through and the weeds pulled by hand for best results. Also if weeds appear in potted plants they will tend to immediately grow out their roots and entangle the important plant. Try to get the weeds removed before they become entangled and disturb the important plants.

On bare ground soil without a mulch layer the method to remove weeds is similar to the way you would remove them from potted plants. You might have a little more time to remove weeds in open ground soil because the weeds will have more soil to use and if not close to important plants the weeds roots will not get as tangled up as quickly. So do not be alarmed if you see some weeds on bare ground soil but just try to remove them when you can before they cause concerns. On random soil areas you can have more flexibility when to pull weeds. If they are not in highly visible areas or places where important plants are located just get to them as time allows. You can try using some kind of commercial weed treatment and sometimes it will work great. I have found that what kills weeds can also kill important plants in the garden so be careful.

You can practice certain types of weed prevention in addition to using mulch. In larger bare ground soil areas where you are not interested in planting plants but do not want to have any weeds growing consider spreading out a layer of material over the ground. This will act as a barrier to sunlight and possibly some moisture to choke off weeds before they have any chance to grow. The layer of material will also help cut off oxygen to weeds so they will have even more of a hard time growing in the area. The material to use as a ground covering can be a gardening fabric available from a home center or nursery or sheet gardening plastic also easily available.

The best sheet plastic to use will be a dark color, like black so it will stop sunlight from passing through it. Once you are finished placing a layer of material on the ground soil you can cover it up with mulch, sand or even flagstone tiles. It is probably not a good idea to cover the material on the ground with more soil because this will just create more weeds again. Many gardeners will use cardboard as a ground cover material before covering it up but this can attract pests and get rather soggy when it rains.

Ornamental organic ground covers can many times looks fantastic and suppress weeds. Since it is a plant it will still have a good chance of having its ground soil disrupted by weeds, so be aware of that. Snow can be a nice way of stopping weeds. If it snows heavy the various weeds can get choked off by the snow itself. If the snow is a medium fall then use the time in the winter snow to get out in the garden and pull the weeds out before they become more abundant in the springtime.

A large numbers of gardeners believe wet weather is a good time to pull weeds because the ground will be soft and they should pull right up. I have found the weeds when they get a good amount of rainfall to be even stronger well watered. A good time to weed can be when the day is hotter and the ground is rather dry. The weeds will be starving for water and wilting so they will pull out of the ground easier because they will be in their weakest condition.

Gardeners may have a strategy to know all the fine details about weeds so they can form an organized and planned approach to pull them out. Try to keep things simple and basic because there are hundreds of thousands of weeds seeds mixed into all the soil already. It does not matter if they are biennial weeds, perennial weeds, or annual weeds. They are all weeds and they will try to grow themselves at their first opportunity which is usually any chance they get. Just try to keep on top of the weeds and pull them out as soon as you can to keep the numbers very low in the yard and garden. In this way you will keep them from multiplying more if they are not around to re seed themselves. After some time if you keep up this method of weeding they will not come back as quickly.

One of the best remedies for weeds is shade. If you have several trees in the garden they will shade much of the area. As the day goes by the trees shadow will move across different parts of the lawn and garden, this will provide shade for you and weeds will not have as much sunlight to grow in. Be careful when using trees for shade because if too much shade is cast onto the ground everything will have a difficult time growing because too little sun will be able to reach the ground soil.

Using a watering can more is nice for helping fewer weeds to grow. Directing water right onto the ground soil where the roots of the plant are buried will put water down only where you want it. Watering with a sprinkler that tends to drench the whole yard will water many places where there are no important plants. This extra water will be used by dormant weeds and seeds and encourage them to come up growing out from various places like cracks in the sidewalk or patio cement.

Some weed spray can be very toxic and dangerous to use. Try not to use any kind of weed spray or weed killer. Any chemical weed killer can pollute the soil and air and it does not really seem to be safe to use. Plants like vegetables can feed on the ground soil where weed killer has been used and take it up into the veggies. Nobody wants to eat food with chemicals in it, so only give your garden and soil a healthy clean environment. Organic weed killers are not as toxic as commercial weed killers but let us be realistic and practical. Organic or commercial, any weed killer is poison and it is not healthy for weeds, plants, or people.

A best practice is to pull out the weeds as you have time and live with whatever you do not get pulled out till another time. At a minimum, use no weed killers and if you must use pesticides to get rid of pests never use it anywhere near your garden plants. If you use no pesticides or weed killers in your garden your food will be so much healthier to eat than any commercially grown store purchased fruit and vegetables. Your personal health and our environment on this planet is most important, so lets all try our best to keep our planet clean and beautiful.

Certain garden tools can be used for helping you to weed by hand easier. These helpful gardening tools include an asparagus or dandelion fork good for picking and digging out weeds in narrow cracks in the ground or deeply rooted weeds like dandelions. A long handled weed popper is like a asparagus fork with a long handle and it is used in a similar way.

The advantage of using a weed popper is you do not have to bend down close to the ground to pull the weeds out of the ground soil. The ball weeder gardening tool is used to pull out weeds by inserting the two prongs into the ground soil and then either twisting it around or prying the weed up to the surface. A weed wrench is like a weed popper with a wrench like end that can grasp large weeds tightly and pull them out all at once. It works best on strong bodied weeds, but if you pull out a thin weed with this tool it will most likely break it off and leave the roots in the ground.

There are a large variety of innovative and strange weeding tools to choose from. The traditional style weeding tools are the best choice including the old reliable shovel and small gardening hand shovel. Many weeds can be pulled out by hand and only the roots are what might need to be picked out with a gardening tool.

Pest can be prevented without dangerous insecticides and chemicals quite easily. Try some of these methods if you are having problems with various pests and only use a local exterminator if a pest problem is seemingly hopeless or overwhelming. Aphids are small bugs that like to gather on plants, most of the time they are just unsightly and a nuisance. Sometimes the aphids will attract ants for some reason. They can be scared off and dealt with by using a mixture of water and soap suds. Mix up some water and soap and pour it into a clean generic spray bottle you can buy at many stores. Do not use an old spray bottle that was used before because it must be clean to keep the plant pure. Spray the mixture directly on the aphids on the plants. It will not harm the plants and it will scare the aphids away. Do not spray a water and soap mixture on plants that do not like getting their leaves wet, since there is soap in the water these types of plants will not necessarily grow fungus but they still will not appreciate the moisture on the leaves.

You can deal with fruit flies by making sure you pick your fruit on a regular basis during harvest and do not let it rot on the vine, trees, or bushes. If fruit gets old it might also attract gnats and flies. Pick all the fruit off the plant before it gets infected by pests and throw away any fruit that has pests. If you continue to leave the infected fruit on a plant the problems will increase and possibly spread to other plants.

Ants can be mysterious and clandestine coming out when they like to bother us or keeping to themselves to a point where you never see them much. Different geographical areas have different kind of ants. Most of the ants I have seen are small and unpredictable. Sometimes they are running around after it rains or on hot days, and other times they are out of sight. If they do take an interest in you plants and it is a dry time with good weather consider a scented cardboard pest paper. For some reason the ants will smell it and get stuck walking across it because it is like flypaper. The unscented pest paper will not attract them much. Also it must be the cardboard type because the flypaper type will blow away too easy in the wind although you can attach either type to a piece of heavy cardboard or similar to help weigh it down.

Birds can be a great way to keep pest away or under control. Use a birdbath or bird feeder and the birds will come to your garden to use it. As the birds hang around for the nice bath, clean water, and food, they will eat some kinds of bugs and worms where the plants grow. Cats in the garden will keep birds away so if you own a cat and keep it in the garden then birds probably will not gather there.

If you have problems with large worms on your plants they will diminish quickly in numbers when more birds are welcomed into the yard. If no birds care for gathering in the yard and garden you may need to pick off the worms individually from the plants they are crawling on. You may find one or two here of there but they are not like ants in very large numbers. An obvious sign to know they are there is when you see leaves that are eaten away.

They will like tasty leaves like ones from sunflower plants. Many times they will be able to match their color to blend in to the plants look and be mistaken for a twig or part of the plant. Look carefully if the plant is damaged because they are probably hiding. When you find the worm pick it off with a gardening tool and throw it in the disposal can. Another pest that likes eating leaves is a slug or snail. Pour some table salt around the base of a plant where the slug or snail will approach to feed. The slug or snail body will begin to dissolve when it touches the salt.

Apply the salt after you water and give the soil area time to dry up a bit. Other things to try which keeps away slugs and snails are ashes and dust. Good sources for ashes and dust can be chimneys, BBQ, and fire pits. The ashes or dust can be placed around the problem plants the slugs and snails are eating. I heard that lime is also fine for scaring away slugs and snails. One exotic ingredient some gardeners talk about for scaring slugs and snails away is supposed to be copper. Although I have yet to see anyone try this as a effective solution it would be very interesting to see if it really does work.

Some other nice allies to have working in the garden for you are small lizards. The small lizards will eat many bugs and you will not have many problems with them. Just be aware that the lizards may get too comfortable around you, and try entering your house. Keep the lizards respect by shooing them away lightly when they walk by.

Many small sized spiders are helpful for pest control and mostly keep to themselves. They only bother with flies, mosquito's, and gnats. As long as the spiders are not aggressive, poisonous, or do not normally bite they are basically welcome in the garden. Containers of stagnant old water are not any good at all in the yard and garden. It will just attract and breed more mosquito's’ so dump out any old water you are not using, or keep it covered up well.

The worst months for mosquito’s are in the summer months and times during hot weather. Mosquito’s are hard to get rid of sometimes, and can hang around any time of the year in many places around the world. A florescent lamp bug zapper seems to work very well at night. The flies, mosquitos, and gnats are very attracted to the bug zappers florescent light at night and they will touch it and die. Place the florescent lamp bug zapper conveniently near a handy electrical plug inside an open air patio or near the house. Use a heavy duty extension cord designed for the outdoors if needed, and it is ready to go.

No pest sticky strips that can be hung in the open air patio area are also very effective. No pest sticky strips are very cheap to use. They can be purchased at many general stores, home centers, and nurseries. When they get full of flying bugs throw them away and hang up a new one. A no pest strip is similar except it is not usually sticky but will kill flying bugs when they nibble on it. Like the no pest sticky strips, the no pest strip is hung up in the air from a place like a patio roof board.

Venus fly traps are types of plants that attract flying insects then trap them inside their leaves when closed. A scent from the plant attracts the flying insect, and the plant digests the prey it traps. These plants do rather well as potted plants and are usually only a few dollars each to purchase.

White flies are just basic pests. They are seen often on or near shrubs and daisy bushes then flying high in the air above the shrubs as they begin to swarm at dusk. During the daytime you can try spraying water and soap mix on them while they gather under the plant leaves resting till night. Applying the spray will keep them from hanging around and coming back onto your daisies. Earthworms are useful in the yard and garden to enrich the soil and keep it full of nutrients. Do not be alarmed when you see large amounts of earthworms on the ground during times of heavy rain and precipitation. The earthworms are trying to get out of the soil till some of the moisture dissipates, then they will go back into the ground soil again.

In places where residential areas have no yard fences in place there is the possibility of large animals wandering into the garden in a search, and looking for food. They might be hungry enough to eat all your vegetables and fruits. The only possible way to keep them out completely is to build a fence around the yard and garden.

Fences can be made from four popular materials most of the time. There are wire fences, wood fences, plastic vinyl fences, and rock or brick fences. Each one has its own cost range, advantages, and disadvantages.

Wire fences can be strong but they are not solid so privacy is an issue unless you use inserts to block seeing directly through it. Wood fences are medium strength, solid and have good privacy. Animals have broken wood fences before so consider this a possibility. Plastic vinyl fences can look great and have good privacy but plastic can be broken so find out how strong it is before you consider a purchase. Rock and brick type fences are very strong and privacy is excellent, the main thing to consider about these types of fences is they might be the most expensive.

Be sure to check out what the local building codes and exact rules are for the place you might wish to consider building a new yard fence. Everywhere has different local rules you must follow to be compliant. This is important to know.

Small barriers can be made with simple materials like chicken wire. Chicken wire is like flexible and portable fencing material that can be used to enclose areas. Materials like chicken wire can be wrapped around tree trunks to keep larger animals from trying to climb into the trees and taking fruits. Caging small trees with chicken wire is a common practice. The chicken wire methods are effective against deer from getting interested and into the smaller trees.

You can build smaller type strong chicken wire enclosures by supporting them with wooden boards and two by fours. Chicken wire is available for purchase at garden centers and nurseries for a fair price. Since it is not too expensive it is a good material to use when constructing animal barriers. Box simple woods frames around the small trees and then cover the wood with chicken wire, this can effectively enclose the plant. Using wood as a chicken wire support frame will make then less susceptible to collapsing onto them when animals push against them trying to reach what is inside.

When certain areas on the garden landscape tend to flood often after rain storms, it might be a prime time to think about types of drainage control. Some solutions are readily available depending on your budget and what your landscape is like. Then you can fine tune the right procedure best for you after gathering all the relative information.

Typical case examples can assist you in building a procedure and plan based on situations that may be similar to your concerns. Here are three basic case examples illustrating common drainage concerns and steps taken to remedy them.

  • Case example - 1

If the plot of land that your house and yard are on is firmly located upon a steep slope then you may have no existing drainage problems to consider at all right now because the water coming from a rainstorm flows downhill away from where you are. It is true that when a house is on a sloping plot of land it can drain very well, except in this case there is a crucial concern. What if a house like this one is situated on a hill and there are other hills that down slope closely behind the house. Then this house will have inherited drainage issues from flowing water coming from the hills above it.

Now that the main drainage issue has been identified, in this case we would need to have a rain gutter or a drainage trench added to the base of the hill behind the house to catch the water flowing down the hill. Since the hill is right in back of the house, a possible solution might be installing drainage pipes that attach to the drainage trench at the base of the hill in back of the house. The drainage pipes then deliver the water from the drainage trench to the gutter in front of the house. If the water is collected in back of the house and drained to the gutter in front of the house there is much more significant drainage now available for this home.

  • Case example - 2

If you have a relatively level plot of land that your house and yard are on, then you are probably considering some drainage work on your landscape. Since the drainage on this home is fair, it might only need a few medium cost improvements to upgrade its drainage capability. Now that the main drainage concerns have been identified, in this case we would need to have the medium cost improvements added and observed for more drainage efficiency delivered to the home.

Since this home is on a level plot of land, a possible solution might be installing improvements such as plant moisture areas in the garden, adding a sloping landscape to the homes plot of land, and planting new plants that will use up water in large amounts aiding overall drainage. First the landscape will be altered, sloping down at a significant angle from back to front. In the garden where puddles still occur during regular heavy rain, plant moisture areas will be established by new plants that can tolerate mild puddles like species that grow in shallow ponds.

Plants that will use up water in large amounts like mint plants are now planted in areas around the garden that often have very shallow puddles. Since a very large amount of water is drained to the front of the house now due to the new sloping landscape, there is more efficient drainage for this home. In addition, any significant puddle areas in the garden are now occupied by plants that are more prosperous in very moist conditions when necessary.

  • Case example - 3

When a home has a plot of land tilted down inward like a valley where the house and yard are, then certainly begin some vitally important drainage work on the landscape rather soon. The drainage on this home sounds very poor and it might need several improvements over a few years to upgrade its drainage capability. The main drainage concerns have been identified, in this case we would need to have the most efficient improvements added as soon as possible and then monitor improvements regarding drainage efficiency delivered to the home over time.

A possible solution might be adding a formal drain into the landscape, and partially adding more soil to the lowest point in the lot over time to help level it out with the rest of the property more. This home is on a very difficult plot of land tilted down inward. Large and significant puddle areas in the garden can be better occupied by plants that are more prosperous in very moist and wet conditions. Additional drainage improvements can be considered and performed over a period of several years. Observe for more drainage efficiency delivered to the home. This is all a very good start, and more improvements can still be made.

First and foremost, this homes landscape needs the work to start by adding more soil to the lowest point in the lot as soon as possible. This will begin leveling it out with the rest of the property more evenly. A high efficiency industrial drain and filter is then added into the garden landscape and connected to the homes drainage system. Large puddle areas in the yard and garden will now be occupied by many plants that will use up water in big amounts, in very moist and wet conditions when necessary. Observe and monitor for more drainage efficiency delivered to the home over time.

As you can see this last case example has many drainage concerns, and not all of them will be solved at one time. If some of the water flooding the garden in the lot’s valley area is collected and drained back to the house’s drain system there will be some drainage improvement, but adding more soil incrementally to the lowest point in the lot will possible take years to refine the landscape. In all these case examples we can see how some landscapes will be ideal for gardens and others will be very difficult to care for when dealing with various types of landscape drainage issues.

Hints and Handy Tips

A simple solution to test check ground soil drainage in most yards and gardens is the dig and fill method. To check the soil drainage begin by digging a round hole about half a foot radius in size and approximately one foot deep. Pour water into the hole filling it with a large industrial bucket or garden hose. When the water contained in the hole has drained away, fill it again once more. If the water in the hole takes more than several hours to drain the second time it is filled, this indicates a probable drainage concern.

To check the ground soil for rate of drainage begin by heavily watering a small area in the yard or garden completely. A couple of days later you will need to dig a small hole approximately half a foot deep into the area of the ground that was watered previously. When you are done, notice if the soil at the bottom of the hole is dry. If it’s dry, the ground indicates that it is not really retaining water well enough for plants to grow best.

Soil types and amount of annual precipitation in your geographical area will also be crucial factors to consider when understanding important landscape drainage problems. When you understand your yard and garden situation, you can form a plan and approach to implement improvements that will make the most difference to solving concerns. Working wisely will save you time and money because you will make the best choices for your needs.

More Garden and Yard care Methods

Heading off gardening concerns before they happen is better than chasing them down as they happen, especially when there is more than one concern at a time you are dealing with. A clean and healthy yard and garden is a puzzle you put together one piece at a time. To keep things interesting you must continually be finding new pieces to be added to the bigger picture that will open your eyes to fully view the complete garden masterpiece.

Gardening is also much like collecting postage stamps. As you collect each new stamp you will build your collection, at the same time you are building your experience too. There is no way that you can assimilate all the gardening knowledge you will need at one time and be ready for any situation. It’s all about gaining experience as you go and picking up hints and handy tips as you progress. Here we will fill in more gardening information you can use now or save for later.

Valuable care methods in the garden world are like a vast universes of countless knowledge you can learn to greatly improve any gardening situation. Make note of as many gardening care methods you can. You may not need the information right away but you will be glad someday you listened.

In a garden battle, weeds will win the fight with important plants you highly value. You must continually protect them and the primary way of doing so is by keeping a very clean yard and garden. Even if you remove weeds by pulling them regularly be sure to throw them all in the disposal can if you have not any plans for their material. Same thing with leaves, be sure to get rid of extra leaves if they serve no purpose or you have no plans for them.

As extra garden debris accumulates in the yard and garden area you will increase the chances of pests and diseases attacking your valuable plants. Attacks on plants will also destroy your fruits and vegetables. Less weeds and debris material will also bring less overall pests and diseases.

When caring for plants during times like pruning and harvesting take the extra materials left behind and work them back into the soil with a strong rake or hoe. Leaving behind extra plant material you didn’t use like leaves and pieces of fruits and vegetables, will start the negative cycle all over again by attracting more pests and disease. The pests will eat the excess plant material left behind undisposed of, and the fungus will attack whatever the pests do not eat. Pests and disease are entering you yard and garden for a purpose, they are hungry for food. They will forage and eat all they can unless you take it away from them. Take away the food from pests and diseases and they will go away or look elsewhere.

Three basic approaches are recommended here. Work the extra plant material back into the soil, throw away extra plant material, or collect the extra plant material for other use. You might have other uses for the extra plant material not mentioned here, and that’s fine. Just makes sure something is purposefully done with it or else pests and disease will use it. Once you get the rhythm for what tasks you need to do regularly and why, you are well on your way to making great progress and fantastic results.

Keep in mind when using these tips and handy hints to a better garden that hard fleshed plants with tough structures will be very difficult to grind up with a sharp rake or hoe compared to softer bodied plants. When you use gardening tools like a tiller to deal with hard fleshed plants it will grind them up into the soil in a jiffy. Plants will have less moisture in the evening time and instead of being soft and stretchy to cut up they will be dry and snap apart while breaking up easier as you till them.

Evening time is nice for tilling the soil before it gets dark because the cool evening air will feel better while you are working hard then early day tilling as the day is getting hotter every hour. Gradually hotter temperatures will make you tired faster. If you do not have a tool like a tiller to grind up hard fleshed plants with tough structures and put the back into the soil, it is easier to have a trash disposal can near where you are working to just easily throw them away, This saves you the time and effort of working more than you need to.

If you remove small weeds before they get anchored into the ground soil you can make life much easier then trying to clear them out after they are set in and deep rooted. Weeds are weak and easier to work with when they are small or very small. When large numbers of small weeds are growing all together in a patch save time instead of pulling them and just grind the up with a sharp rake or hoe to save time.

Avoid tilling or grinding up flowering weeds into the soil like dandelions. Weeds are cheap and common so do not worry about throwing some away. Grinding up a flowering weed with fresh seeds like a dandelion will just grow more unwanted weeds.

Dandelions are a real difficult bear to have in the garden because they are very hard to uproot without digging them out of the ground soil. They reseed themselves all over the yard and garden with light weight seeds that float away on the wind. One of your worst weed foes of all time is the dandelion.

Some weeds or unwanted grasses are perennials, and these plants have deep root systems so when you think you have gotten rid of them all once before they may keep coming back. If you keep cutting them all down several times or more they shall eventually exhaust their resources trying to grow themselves back, and the roots will die off. This is a gradual removal process done over a period of time so be patient and keep cutting them down till they go away.

The more you pack down the ground soil firmly the easier some weeds will take root. It is much more difficult for weeds to solidify their roots into tilled or loose soil. Walking around in flowerbeds to weed them out can pack down the ground soil and promote more weeds. In certain gardening situations like planting large plants or trees or providing for their care, it is not a wise practice to leave the ground soil loosely tilled. Large plants and trees are heavy and need soil to be firmly packed down so they can have their roots firmly established strongly in the ground. Soil improperly packed down can also have unwanted pockets of air causing the ground to have sink holes.

It all depends on the situation regarding whether or not you choose to leave garden ground soil loosely tilled or firmly packed down. Both ways of preparing the soil have advantages and disadvantages so pick one that best fits the situation and application. Basically loosely tilled soil is preferable for small to medium sized plants and firmly packed soil is best for larger heavy plants and trees.

Pale yellow plants can grow often in the garden for several reasons such as watering too often, and letting the plants endure drenched soil over long time periods. Another reason for yellowing plants might be that the ground soil is too hard and compact for them to expand their root systems. In this case plow down deeper into the ground to break the soil up more, or water additionally to help soften up the ground if you can not get directly at all the ground soil.

Sometimes trees can be planted into open areas in the middle of large concrete landscapes. Watering might be the best option in this situation to soften up the soil for the tree because the concrete will be covering up too much of the surrounding soil to use a plow effectively. The location of the tree in this example can be drenched with large amounts of water to soften up the soil further, and then the tree will have an easier time growing out and expanding its root system.

Unusually low soil fertility can also cause yellowing plants. This can happen when you over water, and exhaust or wash out many of the soils nutrients. Important ground soil nutrients are mandatory for proper plant health. The nutrients will need to be replaced and replenished. Just give the plants some more fertilizer to restore the lost nutrients like NPK, and they will all get green again soon enough.

Intense sunlight is bad for plants in drought like conditions. They will get fried like an egg by the direct sunlight and not have much water to help them remain firm and hydrated. Plants suffering from intense sunlight issues will dramatically wilt, and have problems supporting themselves upright without support sticks and gardening stakes. If the plants overly exposed to hot sunlight are potted you should temporarily move them into the shade and water them right away to help them recover. It can be a very nice idea to use slow drip watering systems in times like these where the plants will need regular watering and moist ground urgently.

Keep an eye out for mold, fungus, and various types of disease on plants overexposed to the sunlight in drought like conditions. Plants in bad drought conditions can loose their immune systems a bit and get sick easier. When plants are watered more often and exposed to hot weather they might develop some types of mold and fungus that may damage or kill pieces of it. If they fare poorly enough while enduring the drought like conditions plants can turn brown and wither away entirely. After a plant greatly withers it is not easy to bring them back to a healthy condition again. This is especially true when the plants body turns all brown in color. If the plants body becomes yellowed they still have a chance to recover from their ailment. It is when plants become a brown color that they are certainly in dire condition for any recovery to occur.

It is important to never neglect watering plants in the yard and garden in any weather situation. When a plant is in the direct sunlight you can make sure to water them more often during the day so they will not get sunstroke or die. You can provide plants easy direct sunlight protection by setting up a beach style stake umbrella near the plants then directing the umbrella’s shadow over them for shade. In this effective way of shading plants during a crucial time you can still provide a large amount of shade to unmovable plants with a portable umbrella.

Watering plants in drought like conditions calls for thoroughly soaking the ground with water. In this method you drench the roots completely and keep the plant happy longer with abundant water when it is very hot. Let the ground soil dry out rather well before attempting to re water plants that need deep water drenching. Be sure not to over water more than the plant can use before all the moisture dries up again. Water is more effectively absorbed after the ground is broken up and cultivated. Very hard ground soil will resist drenching much more than a cultivated soil,

Unreliable water supplies and drastic heat can crack the skin on fruits and vegetables, but they should be fine and good to eat still. Just inspect the new fruits and vegetables thoroughly for fresh wholesomeness and consistency before preparing to consider eating them. Remember plants will need watering the most right after they bloom and fruit and vegetables are beginning to form.

Almost all plants need a regular supply of one or two inches of water a week. If you rely on water from rainy weather where you live for watering your plants, use a reliable rain gauge outside to measure rainfall. If the rain gauge reads a measurement of at least one inch or more you will know for sure the plants exposed to the outdoors that receive water from rainfall are receiving the right amount of watering. Some humidity conditions will affect this assumption like geographic locations where conditions have very low humidity every time after rain falls. If this happens waterfall can dry up quickly after rainfall.

You can also monitor ground soil moisture levels with an auger tool for the yard and garden. It looks kind of similar to a T shaped stick, like a long tube with a handle on the very top of it. An auger tool will check the soils moisture when it is inserted down into the ground several inches or more. You pull it out of the ground after inserting, and it will retrieve a soil sample. There will be an indicator of some sort on the auger tool you can read to measure a reading of the ground moisture estimated from where you took a sample. You can get a good reading of the ground moisture at the root level. An auger is a simple tool and works reliably well.

Speed and wind direction can have a bearing on how the ground soil will behave after watering. Fast wind will have a tendency to quickly dry out top soil and remove moisture more quickly than in times of calm wind. Slow wind will also have a small effect removing vital moisture in the ground soil. Mulch like wood chips can help insulate moisture in the ground from winds but it might be blown off the soil in some places in higher degrees of wind. Heavier mulch types like rocks will stay in place better than light mulches like wood chips, hay, straw, and leaves.

Wind direction will have considerations because some wind blowing from different places will be drier than others. Certain times of year will bring seasonal winds that are hot and dry. Other seasons will bring winds that are cold and moist. If wind is very cold after watering it may freeze the ground or create frost. Plants do not grow well in frost and clod conditions. They might also be killed of and re grow later when frost occurs. Frost will affect lawn when it happens so avoid watering during times of low temperatures and cold winds.

Natural wind barriers can be a significant aid for keeping wind away from plants in the yard and garden. Natural wind barriers protect areas from the negative things that might happen when wind occurs. Winds will bring cause more debris to scatter around the garden area and some needs to be removed before it piles up too much. When strong wind occurs it will blow vegetables and fruits off their vines. Remember to harvest vegetables and fruits that are ripe before high winds blow them around. Other plants unsheltered from high winds can break and be damaged. Natural wind barriers that can save your plants will be things like nearby hills and mountains.

Strong large trees will direct wind away from weaker garden plants if they are placed favorably. Bushes will filter winds and diminish them. Plant your new plants keeping natural wind barriers in place to guard against damage. Knowing wind direction and types of conditions they create in your local area will prevent less new concerns when they happen.

Artificial wind barriers can be helpful like fences, barns, and homes to redirect wind. Dissipation of wind is possible but the winds will not disappear completely. Be ready for redirected winds to flow to other places in the yard and garden area. Make sure to secure and store gardening tools, pots, extra soil, and other important things from being taken away by the wind. Prepare for possible frosty patches to appear where cold winds move to different places when they are blocked.

Seasonal high and low temperatures are factors to be aware of so you can prepare for them. If you have no idea about seasonal temperatures when they bring highs and lows this may leave you surprised when they happen. It is best to be ready and not let factors like these take you off guard. Ice will give some protection from frost damage but it will also deliver more cold to the plants it covers. Sometimes when late season frost occurs veteran gardeners and farmers will spray water to cover tress and plants where buds are sprouting. This will aid them to resist frost damage.

Using a tagging system can be an effective way to document ideal conditions and notes regarding plant information. Plastic and paper tags can be attached to the plants to help keep identifying documentation more easily referred to. A system of documentation can be made by labeling the plant tags with names and numbers. Some type of notebook can be used to make written details relating to the names and numbers on the garden plants. Botanical notes like species, genus, variety, and cultivar can be listed in the notebook for reference. For example, common families of vegetables will be identified in the documentation specifying seasonal conditions and fertilizer types important for proper caretaking year round.

Cultivated plant varieties are referred to as cultivars. Unique plant variations that are important to document are vital for knowing exact care conditions to keep the plants healthy. If details like these are not made note of they can be hard to memorize and keep track of.

It is best to accurately select and choose the best containers when planting different plants. Semi porous containers are nice to allow additional water to leach out and dry the plants easier when watering. Many plants will need to retain large amounts of water and in these cases it is good to use more solid containers like plastic or metal. Plastic is fine for moisture retention but low quality plastics will probably need routine replacement, as the roots and plant gain additional weight in the container they will create pressure that will crack and break it.

Some heavy duty plastics are nice to use for containers. You can expect fiberglass or composite plastic type containers to be very strong and last a great deal of time. The plastic type container types when purchased generally will not have any rating or indications for how strong they are. Make note where you purchase plastic type containers and do not repurchase product lines that have a tendency to be poor quality. This especially important for large plastic containers of poor quality that will certainly fracture and break when filled with heavy soil and plants. Fiberglass and composite containers are best for use when you wish to plant large plants and heavy soils. These will also be best for applied uses like larger trees and bushes.

If you break clay containers be sure to save the pieces for later use. They are helpful when placed at the bottom of plant containers to help them retain moisture. Clay when it breaks can be sharp so do not reuse sharp broken pieces again to be safe. Wood containers will allow moisture to escape more than most because they will allow moisture to escape through the wood and cracks. Wood containers can be a good choice for bushes or small trees that do not need large amounts of water. Drought resistant plants also do well in wood containers.

Some plants will outgrow the container they are planted in rather fast. These types of quickly growing plants will exceed the capacity of the container and break it or grow poorly. A prime time to replace planting containers is every New Year. It will generally take about one year for a plant to grow to a considerable size to then begin moving it to a larger container. Select a reasonably sized container that the plant will not outgrow before the year ends.

Frequently replacing containers and replanting will tend to shock plants as they will become sensitive. It is a fine time to replace the soil when you transplant them to a different container or place. Choose only planting soil rich in nutrients and do not replace it with ground soil of poor quality to save money. Plants replanted in poor soil they are not use to growing in will react negatively to the change.

Further success in the garden can be gained when you use further advanced plant care. In the next installment, more advances plant care methods will be discussed to extend more beneficial categorization of plant care that will aid in the most prosperity for you when working in the yard and garden. More Advanced Plant Care – Part II will expand and explain a larger number of these effective gardening techniques.

Gardening | do_it_yourself


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