I like to think of myself as an organic gardener, but you won’t find me quoting organic standards or fighting against Monsanto. I am a “common sense gardener” which means I align with most organic practices: composting, integrated pest control methods, and non-GMO crops as a few examples. What I’ve found during my six years of gardening is that the organic methods are often the simplest and cheapest. However, I am not opposed to the occasional non-organic method to save a crop for the year.
And if there is anything that defines me as a gardener, it is cheap. If I can save money somehow, I’m going to do it. Compost and compost tea are cheap, garden magic. Piles of used wood from the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore is the source for all my raised beds and fencing. Gardening is work, but it is fun work. It is also therapeutic. Out of anything I’ve done in my life, there is nothing more relaxing than looking over my garden and literally seeing the fruits of my labor. Hopefully, through this blog, I can impart this feeling.
Being a fan of gardening and a member of numerous gardening websites, there are a few things I think will help differentiate this article from the masses.
Gardening is visual. There are so many gardening websites that describe things, but rarely do they actually have detailed graphical representations of the text. In gardening, pictures are worth a thousand words.
Format and consistency
There are a lot of great gardeners out there sharing their thoughts. Some of the best are also some of the most inconsistent, going weeks without posts (or new videos). Gardening forums and social sites can be hit or miss with one subject really taking off while other posts go unnoticed.
Planting vegetable gardens can be a very rewarding endeavor, not to mention that it’s good for your body because of all the exercise you will get, and the vegetables that you’ll get to eat. These days, it’s really ideal if you can plant your own vegetables to make sure that they’re pesticide free, but a lot of people feel intimidated by the idea of planting vegetable gardens especially in a city.
Gardeners are becoming more bulb-minded because they realise how easy they are to please and what interest they can bring to the garden. Fritillaries are almost as popular as snowdrops and many of the more usual ones can be bought quite easily. There are others that can be grown from seed as more and more enterprising collectors are bringing back new varieties. The trouble with this is the time it takes I have several friends who have greenhouses filled with pots of fritillary seed and these have to be kept weeded, watered and housed for several years before they flower. When I see all these pots year after year I hope fervently that the flowers will be worth the long wait. And I expect they will, for I have never seen a fritillary that was not attractive or interesting.
Lopper – A must have Tool for every gardener
There are many essential tools that a gardener should buy for maintaining his or her garden. And in my opinion a good lopper for garden is the most essential tool for any gardener. Without a garden lopper it is impossible to maintain a good garden. Everyone wants a beautiful looking lawn and garden, and thus they spend hours on it. Out of the many tasks that one needs to focus on to make their lawn and/or garden looking exquisite, weeding is the worst of all. Not only it takes a lot of time, but if you miss the roots then you will have to deal with new weeds after just a few days. Thus, here comes the importance of good weeding tool. Yes, there are a lot of great weeding tools available today. But, if you want to get the job done quickly and correctly, then it will be best to invest in a good weeding tool which can also act as a root remover.
Loppers come in different range of styles, designs, sizes and cost; what’s best for you depends on the type of your garden. It also depend on your budget. If you are short then you need to buy a long handle lopper, so that you can be able to prune branches at higher length. In this article, we will discuss how to choose the right lopper for your garden in UK. Pruning can be heavy, repetitive work so it’s important to buy the best loppers of 2017.
Loppers come in a range of styles, sizes, and price points; what’s best for you depends on the kind of pruning you’ll be doing, your size and strength, and your budget. Use bypass pruners on living stems ½ inch or less in diameter, as when cutting fresh flowers, pruning roses or raspberries, or snipping herbs from the garden. Another aspect of the blade is its quality. Smaller snips and scissors are handy for smaller plants like herbs and lettuce and are perfect for harvesting fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. Pruning can be heavy, repetitive work so it’s important to buy the right loppers.
- These cuts must be as clean as possible to maintain the plant’s health, so keep the blade sharp.
- The most preferred blades are those made of high-quality carbon steel that has been hardened to withstand the kind of force that will be exerted.
- They can also be used to prune vines and for deadheading flowers.
- These are the most commonly-used loppers, consisting of two blades that slide past each other like scissors.
- Choose bypass loppers when you want to trim back an overgrown shrub or tree that’s healthy.
- These blades have a higher probability of lasting long and have a lower likelihood of bending and the need for frequent sharpening.
- Keep a pair of snips handy in the house; the Felco 300 is great for trimming back and deadheading houseplants.
They typically provide the cleanest cut on live wood, allowing the plant to heal more quickly. The long handles give you more leverage, so you can cut bigger stems — up to 1 ½ inches — with less effort. This aspect goes a long way in determining the amount of energy you will use. The most popular and generally-used blade is the bypass blade, which functions similarly to a pair of scissors. However, they tend to get jammed when cutting dead, dry branches, which can bend the blade. These are the anvils style and the bypass style. There are three kinds of action employed by most loppers; ratcheting, compound action, and geared. These blades make a slicing cut by having the upper blade slice past the lower, while the lower holds the branch in place.
Like most people I’ve always used secateurs or hand pruners for most pruning jobs. These terms refer to the cutting blades themselves and how they cut. Steel blades that aren’t heat-treated can have advantages as well. Garden loppers can range in length so if you are trying to reach difficult places then you may prefer ones with longer handles, whilst someone with close quarters pruning may be okay with loppers that have shorter handles. If a stem or branch was too thick I used a saw; often a bow saw because that was what came to hand.
Both blade types are made for different types of cutting, so be sure to buy the type that best fits your overall needs. Some are treated with a coating which prevents rusting of the blade or provides a slippery surface that glides the blade through dense wood easily. Weight – Some loppers are heavy and may become difficult to use for a long period of time whilst others are lighter making using them more pleasurable for long periods of time. When I first got a good pair of loppers I realised what I’d been missing. Like most things you buy today, with loppers, you tend to get what you pay for.
Because they’re not heat-treated, trying to cut too hard of a branch may bend or break the blade. Cutting size – Most loppers will cut to around the same size diametre of branch but some will cut through slightly bigger branches. This is a wonderfully versatile garden tool with a great variety of uses, depending on which loppers you choose. For the most part, you will find that loppers have steel blades. Compound action loppers have a special lever and pivot-point action which, like the ratcheting varieties, helps to exert extra pressure. Like pocket pruners there are both anvil and bypass models. However, the best loppers have blades that are made from either carbon steel or stainless steel. These are sometimes called lever-action loppers as well. Bypass loppers cut like a pair of scissors. Anvil loppers have a cutting blade which closes onto a fixed, flat blade or anvil.
Some basic gardening tips
There’s no getting around it-maintaining a beautiful garden is a lot of hard work. A lot of plants do not tolerate the cold. Do your research. Before your next trip to the local nursery, line the back of your car with a plastic tarp and place a small step ladder on top of the tarp. But you can labour more efficiently-and put less strain on the pursestrings-with these brilliant gardening shortcuts.
- Even seeds are not yet ready to grow until they have dried up.
- It’s very important to figure out where your containers will be placed before you start buying your plants.
- The slots between the rungs of the ladder serve as perfect compartments to protect your fragile plants during the drive home.
- There’s no getting around it-maintaining a beautiful garden is a lot of hard work.
- Planting should be started when the environment is warm.
If the spot is in direct sunlight for more than 6 hours, you will want to choose plants that thrive in full sunlight. Prevent plants such as gooseneck loosestrife from taking over your garden by planting them in a plastic container. But you can labour more efficiently-and put less strain on the pursestrings-with these brilliant gardening shortcuts. It may be sunny out, but still the ground is cold so you should really check on the ground temperature first before planting. And if your spot in the shade part of the day, then part-sun loving plants will be the ones you choose.
Use Rain Barrels
Water is the most important thing for every living being including your plants and flowers. Water must be harvested and reused in your garden. There are various methods and tools available to harvest rain water for your garden. The best and the cheapest way to achieve this is by using a good rain barrel.
Rainwater is highly oxygenated, free of the salts, inorganic ions, and fluoride compounds contained in tap water that accumulate in the soil over time and potentially harm plant roots. Rain barrels save homeowners money on their water bills. If the water stored in the rain barrel is used to water plants instead of hose water, then the cost associated with supplying potable water (the water bill) will be lowered. Rain barrels are effective devices for watering your garden or lawn. Use of rainwater in your garden dilutes this impact, making plants more drought-tolerant, healthy, and strong.
Garden and lawn irrigation accounts for 40 percent of residential water use during the summer, according to the U.S. Since water is collected and used locally, the fossil fuel energy associated with transporting potable water from a community storage facility to the tap is avoided. They have been growing in popularity because they are very effective when it comes to saving water or lowering water bills. So you want to buy a rain barrel and start collecting rainwater for your yard or garden? Environmental Protection Agency.
Another important aspect of rain barrels are their high visibility in the community. Many homeowners choose this method of watering their plants because it brings many advantages. Below is a collection of several different models. By using rain barrels, homeowners can save 1,300 gallons of water during the growing season. Connect a hose to the spigot and use it just like a regular hose as gravity provides pressure to empty the water.
In addition to lower bills, rain barrels are also a good choice because they make plants and soil healthier, since rainwater doesn’t contain chemical additives commonly found in tap water. If you click on the photos, you can get full descriptions and purchase information for each model. The Southwest Florida Water Management District states that a half-inch of rain fills a typical 50- to 55-gallon rain barrel. It’s suitable for most outdoor uses, including watering flowers or the lawn, washing the car, or giving your pet a bath. Treating and distributing safe drinking water is an energy-devouring, greenhouse-gas-spewing endeavor, and given many federal and state laws, most water that is piped into your home, whether it is used for cooking, or flushing the toilet, goes through treatment.
This rain barrel is made of recycled plastic, looks like a whiskey barrel and holds up to 50 gallons of rainwater. Connecting multiple barrels maximizes rain capture. The water can even be used to top off a swimming pool, according to the conservation district. Some four percent of our nation’s power goes to water supply and treatment facilities. That’s up to 20 gallons more than the standard rain barrel size.
Rain barrels provide a free water source for irrigation and ease reliance on the city’s water supply. A rain barrel can also reduce erosion by slowing down the flow of rainwater runoff. I have noticed a huge improvement in the erosion problem I had on one side of my yard just by adding a rain barrel to the gutter on that side of the house.
To ensure that these plants’ underground roots don’t quickly crowd your entire garden, cut out the bottom of with a knife—the roots can grown directly down into the soil. Each material has its own characteristics: plastic deteriorate in the sun rays and in summer (especially in tropics) if exposed to full sun, plastic containers can cook the plants growing in them, however, plastic containers are light and movable. Another thing considered on planting tips for beginners is to make sure that the soil is warm when you do so, however, do not plant under the scorching heat of the sun. And if it’s completely shady like under a big tree or under a patio roof or other shade bearing covering, then plants that like shade should be the ones you choose. The best plants will grow in balanced, nutrient-rich soil.
Then, you might think that the best choice is ceramic planters, but they are heavy and expensive and you can’t consider them if you don’t have a concrete balcony or roof. Seedlings are very delicate and they could easily die before even beginning to take hold of the ground and grow. If you are planting multiple types of plants in one container, make sure they require the same amount of light and the same soil moisture. Charge your compost pile with coffee grounds and tea bags! Clay pots, wooden, metal or concrete containers can be a choice too.
It is recommended to plant on a cloudy day or under a slight drizzle or during the evening. Plants want to grow and reproduce. See page 92 for the nitrogen-rich ingredients to toss in. If you get the environment right, your plants will reward you with vigorous growth, beautiful flowers or delicious fruit and vegetables. Learn the weepy way to water most efficiently. Plants, in general, need four things in order to grow: heat, light, moisture and food. Deprive them of one of these and the plant will suffer, becoming sickly and liable to come under attack from pests and diseases.