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Home Gardening

Every house is just a regular house until you enhance it with a colorful garden. Then, you can easily call it a home. Whether you have a huge backyard ready to be turned into a peaceful oasis or you just want to grow a couple of kitchen ingredients on your balcony, get ready and always plan ahead. A smart gardening strategy can make the smallest lawn look roomier and a favorite place for the entire family. It can be the place where you go to relax your brain and body muscles or the traditional gathering space for your barbeque parties. It’s your choice how you use your backyard and garden but a few plants will change the entire house exterior. Even if you are an indoor person, looking out the window to your pulsating floral retreat will make your day more beautiful. Home gardening is actually good for your health - it keeps you active, creative, and you reap the rewards, whether it be a beautiful garden or fresh vegetables.

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Home gardening is a skill, and just as any other skill you have to practice to make it perfect. If you are an old hand gardener, you probably already know that there is always something new you can learn about your plants. Maybe last year you’ve made a big mistake by planting your sunflower plants and tall shrubs on the south end of the garden, but this year you are a little wiser and you will know better. In this article you will find many helpful advices about your garden, plants and how to arrange them to make your neighbors jealous. Just planting them won’t make a lot of difference. There are many other specific details and since every plant needs different care, you will have to research before you make it a part of your yard.

Home gardening plans

You may be very confident in yourself and feel the need to plant your crops immediately. If you are lucky and a natural green thumb, your greens may grow fast, strong and stay healthy during the entire season. Most of the time that is not the case and it will be better to start making some drawings. Take into consideration the space you have available for implanting. Go into your yard and inspect the ground. See where the sun rises and where it sets. If you plan on cultivating tall growing plants like sunflowers, tomatoes, shrubby herbs or flowers make sure you put them on the north side of your garden. Once they are fully grown, they will have no problems gathering sun rays and they won’t disturb other plants and shadow them.

Tall plants placed on the south end of the garden will mask the rest of the flora, leaving almost no sunlight. Your tall crops will grow healthy but the rest of your garden might wilt down in the middle of the season. Not all plants need a lot of sunlight. Do your homework and research what kind of care the foliage you planned on growing requires. If you still want to place your bushes in the middle of the garden, you can plant Forget Me Nots, Jacob's Ladders or any other flowers that grow well on minimal sunlight. Once you have your garden sketch ready, you can safely start planting the seeds. Learn which plants grow faster and which ones needs a little more time to sprout. Plant the small plants and the ones that grow slower first, so that you can give them space and time to develop without difficulties. If you want to plant vegetables, be extra careful in your drawings. Lettuce, spinach and radishes are planted in the second half of March. They grow relatively fast and they can tolerate a little shadier placement. Onions and carrots are best planted during the first half of April. Corn requires full sun exposure and they tend to spoil if you plant them before the summer season. The space between the herbages is also very important.

Every crop needs space to grow healthy and strong. Depending on their roots, some flowers need bigger areas and room to expand, while others will easily develop, sowed one next to the other. Lettuce can grow strong planted next to flowers, and you can make your flower garden greener that way. Bush tomatoes need a little more space to sprout and mature, somewhere between 6 and 12 inches will be enough for them to sprawl. The ideal spacing between each row will be a minimum of 16 inches. Providing enough space for each plant will supply the crop with the right amount of sunlight, nutrients and water. If you have trees in your yard, especially walnuts, keep them at safe distance of at least 50 feet. Threes have big and bushy roots, which will cause other plants to compete with them in order to get the needed amount of nourishment from the soil. At last, there are crops and flowers that grow seasonally and vegetation that will stay in your garden throughout the entire year. Arrange them carefully, so that your garden looks attractive whenever you decide to spend some time there.

Home gardening soils and fertilization

Every good gardener knows that the soil is the most important detail of your home gardening plan. Some flowers, like cactuses can grow in sandy and dry areas, but all other vegetation needs moist, nourished and well-drained soil. The soil acts like a medium. Plants receive all the nutrients they need from the ground. If this is not your first time growing your own vegetables, the soil in your yard is already pre-treated and will require little management to remove any last year’s physical or chemical limitations. Plants, just as humans need good nutrition to yield in success. They need Zink, Copper, potassium, Molybdenum and other natural nutriments. Not all soils are ready to deliver these supplements, but that is why you have plenty of fertilizers on the market.

If you are a newbie in agriculture, contact your local extension office. If you need a special access to ask them information about your crops growing preparations, you can order a soil testing kit. With the help of this kit it will be easy to determine what kind of fertilizer the soil needs and the right amount to apply. There are several levels in fertilizing your plants. Some soils might even obligate you to pre-treat them with healthy supplements before you start planting anything. In most cases, the first part of fertilizing takes place before and during placing the seeds or sprouts. Half of the recommended fertilizer material is mixed with the soil by spading and plowing. Once both textures are mixed well together in the upper 10 to 20 inches, you can mix the rest of the bag ingredients in the upper 7 inches. This will give a nice, healthy and rich neighboring to the plant's roots, so they can get all the nutrients they need to grow in their best shape. Sometimes the test might show that your soil is already rich in some mineral, in which case you can exclude fertilizing your garden with that particular nutrient. Other times the test might suggest that you don’t need to spread the basic application of stimulants.

Digging a little deeper the next year and planting green manure harvests will help the soil balance itself in minerals. If the garden soil already has a well-adjusted ration of nutrients, you can use balanced fertilizers. They contain the same amount of the three main nutrients: potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus. When you buy your first bag of fertilizer you will notice the label 10-10-10 on it. That means that the bag contains 10% of each of the above mentioned minerals. However, if the soil testing showed that the soil has excess amounts of any of these three minerals, there are bags that contain only one of these growth promoting additives. Different plants, flowers and veggies need separate timing of fertilizer application, so make sure you know which time is the best to add these essential nutrients.

Watering, weed control and danger of freezing

By now you must’ve realized that gardening is more of an art than culture. Watering your plants too much might actually cause more damage than success. Too strong squirt of water may cause the roots to emerge above the ground, so be gentle when you water them. Crops with thick leaves may grow more lively if you sprinkle them with the hose nozzle, but in most cases vegetables need mild and gentle water flow. Arrange the rows, so that every planted veggie has its own water tide and try to make them even. Visualize where the crop roots might be and how deep they go and go with your instinct. Make every plant feel comfortable in its own setting and your garden is bound to grow beautifully. Once you sow your garden, don’t leave it unattended. Go there at least once a day and check for weeds and insects. Weed is best to be uprooted while it’s still germinating, so make sure you pluck it out as soon as you see it between your crops. Read everything you can find about the vegetables you want to sow. Study their finest atmosphere and see how each behaves under different temperatures. Some vegetables will do fine during the cooler nights in May and maybe June, but most of them are very gentle while they are young. Peppers, tomatoes and eggplants are especially tender when they are sprouting, so do your best to protect them. If you don’t have a greenhouse and you cultivate them under the open sky, you can use newspapers or cardboard boxes to make them a tent and keep them warm for the night. Harvesting is another detail you need to place your attention to. Wait until every vegetable matures and yields with juice. Leaving crops on the shrub will only make the plant waste energy and nutrients on already matured products, when it can develop new ones.

Home gardening tools and accessories

Some enthusiastic green thumbs still use wooden sticks to plant their seeds. Gardening tools have advanced throughout the years however, so that every gardener can find his own special gadget. A shovel is a must in every gardener’s life. There are several types of shovels, all different in size, shape, weight and materials used. Basic types are shovels with rounded and squared points. The round point shovel will be your best friend in the backyard, because it’s the best device for digging holes. When it comes to rearranging the soil from one place to another, the squared ones will come in quite helpful because they can load up more soil at once. They differentiate in size as well. The size you pick obviously depends on the size of your garden and plants. Another type of shovel is called- spade. There are several different subtypes as well and they are used for scooping, edging and transplanting the plants more easily.

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In the old days, gardeners were scooping dry leafs off the ground with tree branches or bare hands, but today there is a tool for that too. It’s called the rake and there are several different types as well. Flats, bows or thatch are among the most popular and you can choose among them, depending on your needs and gardening style. There are many other gardening gizmos like mattocks, hand cultivators, warren, weeding and mortar hoes. You can do every task in your yard with only one or two tools of course, but why making everything difficult when landscapers before you paved your way to an easier gardening. Just remember to sharpen, clean and repair your tools because you will want to use them again in the following season.

References

1. Garden Ideas http://www.lifestyle.com.au/garden-ideas/

2. National Gardening Association http://www.garden.org/

3. Gardening for Health http://www.gardeningforhealth.com/contents1a/

4. Why Gardening is Good for your Health http://edition.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/07/08/why.gardening.good/

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