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Category Archives: Garden

Tips to Propagate from Stem Cutting

Eventually, every cultivator needs to have a go at proliferating his own plants, maybe to build a specific most loved to provide for companions or to supplant an old plant that has outgrown its dispensed space. Numerous nursery plants can be engendered with at least care and gear, however a couple require uncommon conditions and give a test to amateur and master alike.

Plants can be spread in an assortment of routes: by seeds, cuttings, layering, division, suckers, balances, bulbils and by joining. The initial four have the most pertinence here and of these stem and leaf cuttings are the least demanding of all.

Stem cuttings

Stem cuttings can be made in different routes, two of which are usually utilized: these are nodal and heel cuttings. Nodal cuttings are short lengths of youthful stems cut neatly underneath a bud. They might be delicate youthful tips with the developing point included, or firmer stem segments cut above or underneath a bud (or alleviation if an awful is not unmistakable). Heel cuttings are best taken from a portion of the more woody plants and are made by tenderly pulling short side shoots, or cutting them from the guardians stem, for each situation with a fragment or heel of the more seasoned stem connected.

Depending upon the size and vigour of the plant being propagated, stem cuttings may be from 3 to 10 cm long. For example, a wiry, small leave plant like Winter heath needs a cutting only 3 to 4 cm long, while larger leaved, thick stemmed plants such as ivy tree must be 8 to 10 cm long. When the cuttings have been trimmed to their right length, remove all the leaves from the bottom third to a half ready for inserting into the routing medium. If the remaining leaves are large or longer, as in Allamanda or codiaeum, remove the top third to a half of each blade with sharp scissors, knife or razor blade. This will prevent undue water loss from the cuttings.

Growth controlling substances known as hormones are responsible for the routine of cuttings. A certain amount of hormone is usually present within the cuttings, but sometimes there is too little to stimulate root growth. Artificial hormones are now available as routing powders or liquids and can be used, to the maker’s instructions, to assist the process. Basically a prepared cutting is dipped into the hormone just before inserting in the compost. Most of the preparations sold also have a fungicide added to prevent rotting.

Although a variety of mixtures can be used as rooting media, coarse sand, either by itself or mixed with an equal part of bulk of peat moss, takes some beating. The sand must be really coarse with plenty of particles of 3 mm in diameter. If peat is added this should be passed through a 6 mm sieve. The average run of cuttings root very successfully in the 50-50 mixture of peat and sand while as a general rule, the most difficult a plant is known to be to route, and the less peat should be used. Indeed there is much to be said for always using pure sand, but it has the disadvantage that it dries out very quickly and as it contains no nutrient, cuttings must be removed and potted as soon as they route. Cuttings in the peat mixture can remain for several weeks after routing if it is not convenient to pot them at the time. Apart from being well aerated, peat and washed sand are relatively pest and disease free. This is an important requisite of the rooting medium and if loam or garden soil is used in a propagating mix they should be heat sterilized first. Pots or other containers should also be scrubbed, ideally with a sterilizing agent added to the water.

There is no correct distance apart at which to set the cuttings, but ideally the leaves of each cutting should just overlap those of its neighbor. Alternatively, plant them half the length of each cutting apart, e.g. 5 cm cuttings should be put in 2 to 3 cm apart. If they are planted too close, disease could spread rapidly and the root systems built up by each cutting will tangle together and make separation for potting difficult. On the other hand to set them too far apart will not be using the propagating space to best advantage and a less humid atmosphere will be maintained around them with fewer leaves to give off water vapor.

Once they are inserted, it is advisable to spray with a fungicide such as Benlate or Captan to prevent such diseases as botrytis from gaining a foothold. All the cuttings once in place, with the exception of the succulents, will need to be kept in a humid atmosphere. This is easily achieved by placing them beneath glass, rigid plastic covers or polythene plastic sheeting. Small numbers of cuttings can be placed into pots, larger numbers in pans or boxes. These can be covered with a polythene bag or sheeting supported on ribs of galvanized wire, which can be made from wire clothes hangers. Even better are the rigid, clear plastic covers of various sizes now available, which are made to fit plastic boxes and pots. These are ideal for small scale propagating.

For those who wish to take propagation more seriously, much larger units can be purchased or built, some of them with built in electric heating. These heating units usually take the form of soil warming cables. These are either attached to a thermostat which can be set to maintain, automatically a heat of about 21°. The cables can be covered with several inches of rooting medium and the cuttings inserted direct, or alternatively about 2.5 cm of sand can be put over the cables and the pots and boxes of cuttings stood in this. In some models the wiring is sealed into the plastic bottom of the propagator and is not visible. There are also small, custom-made heating units upon which a seed tray can be stood. Bottom heat, as it is known, speeds the rooting of many sorts of cuttings and insures a higher percentage of success. For most cuttings 18 to 21° is adequate though a few species root well only if it is higher, about 24 to 26°. The siting of a propagator case must be done with care.

Adequate light is absolutely essential, but direct sunlight will raise the temperature inside the cover excessively and result in severe losses. Unless a naturally shaded north side or end of the greenhouse is available, shading will be needed: this can be as simple as several layers of muslin or net curtaining. As an alternative, the grass or plastic covers can be shaded with white wash or one of the commercial greenhouse formulations. If plastic sheeting is used, then the white opaque cheating can be highly recommended. Small mist propagation units are now available for the amateur. Though relatively expensive as yet, they are very efficient and provide endless interest for the dedicated grower. Instead of using glass or plastic to maintain a humid atmosphere, a mist-fine jet of water keeps the cutting is fresh. No shading is necessary and the leaves can take all the sun’s light and energy for photosynthesis. As a result, cuttings route more rapidly, even those known to be difficult. Weaning the rooted cuttings does present problems with some of the more difficult subjects.

The cuttings of some plants can be easily rooted in water, examples being: impatiens, fuchsias, wandering jew, common ivy, Pilea, Gardenia, Hibiscus, Oleander, African violets and Begonia. Place the cuttings so that their bases are suspended in water not touching the bottom of the container. This can be done by wedging a small bunch of cuttings in the mouth of the jar with cotton wool. A piece of charcoal will keep the water sweet while routing takes place. Change the water every 7 to 10 days. When the roots are 2 1/2 to 5 cm long, the cuttings can be planted and placed in a shady place for a few days to recover. One disadvantage of this water propagation method is that the roots tend to be very brittle and potting must be done with great care. Depending upon the species, cuttings take anything from 1 to 6 weeks to root and the first sign of rooting is usually a marked resumption of growth with young leaves developing at the tip of each cutting and sometimes from the leaf axils as well.

Once this stage has been reached, the cuttings will need to be potted into a suitable soil mixture. Those in pots should be knocked out in en masse and carefully separated: those rooted directly into a propagating case must be gently levered out with a narrow trowel, widger or wooden label. All but the largest of rooted cuttings are best started off in 7 cm pots and for these it is worth noting that yogurt containers or similar pots with two or three holes made in the bottom are excellent substitutes. There appears to be no real advantage of plastic pots over clay ones or vice versa, though generally speaking, plastic pots need watering less as there is no evaporation through the porous sides. It is claims that the porous clay pot provides a better aerated root run and while this may be true for a few plants such as epiphytic orchids and bromeliads, even these plants will grow well enough in plastic containers. Having said this, the author must admit to a personal preference for clay pots and feels that they still have the edge on plastic when it comes to growing a really good specimen plant.

Once plotted, return the rooted cuttings to the same position and temperature for 1 to 2 weeks after this they can be placed in the same sort of conditions that the parent plants occupy. When the young plants are nearly grown, they will need moving on to larger pots. This may be anything from 1 to 3 months after the initial potting, much depending upon the vigour and speed of growth of the specimens being propagated. One of the surest ways of telling when a plant needs potting on is to tap it out of its pot gently and examine the route ball. If there is a close network of young routes around the outside of the ball, then it is ready for moving into a larger container.

The size of the pot to choose for this potting on again depends upon the speed of growth of the plant concerned. Most greenhouse plants grow fairly fast in their early stages and are best moved on two pot sizes. For example, a plant in a 7.5 cm pot should be moved into a 13 cm container. Slow-growing plants such as cyclamen are best moved on only one pot size at a time. Even when fully grown, few will need a larger size than 20 cm to grow well, and many of the smaller kinds will be happy in 10 to 13 cm containers. Only when really big specimens of the long-lived or shrubby plants are wanted will pots over 25 cm is needed.

Building A Outdoor Storage Shed

Do you require a capacity shed? Odds are, an abnormal state property holder utilizing a developing family or you simply need to extra space for putting away, you’ve considered that straightforward question. An open air stockpiling shed is the perfect answer for property proprietors who require a decent space to keep up garden gear, kids’ toys, bicycles alongside other donning merchandise, or some different resources that essentially require a sheltered home.

Do some of these conditions sound well known?

Your carport is filled past limit, enough where you need to leave your autos outside and went up against with the components. Not simply can be your carport full, but rather it is likewise complicated. With no committed spaces to set all your stuff, everything gets packed into the carport or cellar. You basically can’t discover what you seek and when you at long last do even now discover it, it’s regularly harmed. This is the reason you’ll require an open air stockpiling shed.

You could possibly don’t also have a garage. Are you currently storing your expensive garden tools, bicycles, and children’s toys outside? Don’t you think frustrating when you’ve left valuable property outdoors, only to find it ruined after coming in contact with wind, rain, and even snow? This is why you’ll need a garden storage shed.
Some great benefits of storage sheds are obvious. Your valuable property owner resistant to sun and rain 24/7, you’re suddenly much more organized, along with your outdoor living area is clean and clutter free.
When you’ve determined you will need a outdoor storage shed, what steps must you take? First, we end up needing to provide peace of mind by telling you that you’re in the right spot. We offer professional plans, insights, and valuable information for building the perfect outdoor storage shed. Building your own shed will be a snap whenever you follow a few simple guidelines.
Homeowners should start by deciding what their shed will probably be used for. Should it be for general storage or does it possess a specific purpose? Which allows electricity or entry to water inside your storage shed? Which floor or foundation will satisfy your requirements?
Asking these types of questions will help you to select the perfect set of blueprints on your shed. We offer professional plans which will satisfy every homeowner’s design criteria. You may be storing supplies and toys to your children’s pool, or you have always wanted your own shed, we now have detailed plans that may meet your needs perfectly.
When you’ve ordered your plans, start preparing your website. Wile some homeowners make careful analysis work with a builder or handyman to deal with their project, others will elect to build their shed without outside help. In any case, our outdoor shed plans can provide each of the information necessary that will help you create a wonderful outbuilding.
Regardless of the scope of the shed project, it is advisable to possess a solid plan of attack. Schedule your time and efforts, compose a list of priorities, and turn into focused. Being patient try to staying in keeping with our professional outdoor shed plans assures that a finished product that your self will are proud of.

Wooden Gazebos Types

Something worked out of wood is genuinely astounding and gives great living background for the general population who remain in it. Individuals who are utilized to remain in gazebos would search for something extraordinary in order to flaunt their status and portray their way of life. For such individuals the market offers a few unique sorts of gazebos available to be purchased in different materials and different styles in each of the material. Give us a chance to have a nearby take a gander at each of the extraordinary sorts that got furor in broad daylight.

Wedding gazebos

The expensive wedding festivities would have something unique and not quite the same as different weddings. One among those specials is the wedding gazebo that has picked up the vote of those individuals who are not with the choice to get hitched. While there are great number of outlines in this style the every single white plan are increasing more unmistakable quality from the people. These white wedding wooden gazebos convey an otherworldly appeal to the garden or the wedding area that is composed in the outside with brilliant lightning impacts. Just not at the season of marriage even after the event both the couple can spend the underlying days of their new connection here and gain enough of experiences for whatever is left of their life.

Pop Up Gazebos

One selective option in gazebos for sale are the pop up models picked up by most of the individuals for the reason they are high in quality and durability. The main advantage of these gazebos is the flexibility in setting up which is why they are considered as the perfect option for those who want to establish a temporary shelter. They would offer a better environment than when compared to the tent house that is built for providing the same sort of temporary shelter. The flexibility in uninstalling them has made the individuals pick them for their camping holidays and for big outdoor events organized for a family day out or kind of. Of course, one need not worry about the price tag as they would be made available in all budgets so that people at various income ranges can pick them for sure.

Hot Tub Gazebos

When you are looking for the unique gazebos for sale, you should not ignore the hot tub models. This would sound something similar to a hot tub that is placed right on the top of the deck that is built with the outdoor. For better fitting you should pick the models that have the flat wall on one side and a round or oval shaped wall to the opposite side of the tub. The reason for this design is to effectively use the space by attaching the flat wall to the side of the wall without compromising on the design which is safeguarded with the decorative rounded or oval opening. You definitely would be able to enjoy a romantic evening with the partner with the combination of hot water and cool breeze thus protecting you against the cold attack.

Pergola Gazebos

People who are surfing for gazebos for sale would not even realize that the pergola models are nothing but the gazebos that are designed by brilliant minds. This has got the complete feel of staying in a second house adjacent to your main concrete house. With the ceiling at the top with open lattice that is filled with the wide landscapers weaving out the whole of the lattice. With the entire beautiful settings one would consider this as the dynamic garden shelter that they can enjoy for long houses. Of course this could also serve as the beautiful passageway for the family friends staying in two different buildings.

 

 

Tips to Maintaining Your Soil

Soil is the medium in which most plants develop. From the cultivator’s perspective, its most critical attributes are its profundity, its surface and its substance creation. It is fundamental to discover whatever you can about the kind of soil you have, however the route in which you adjust and enhance it is of significantly more noteworthy hugeness in figuring out what plants will develop effectively.

Profundity of the Soil

The topsoil is the basic layer for plant development. Its surface and piece for the most part rely on the parent shake from which it has continuously framed, by the communication with water, atmosphere and vegetation. Weathering specialists, for example, ice, rain and sun separate the stone over a huge number of years to shape the fundamental mineral structure of soil. Plants develop on the stone flotsam and jetsam and bunches of miniaturized scale living beings chip away at the dead roots and fallen leaves to rot them, creating the fundamental natural constituent of the topsoil, known as humus.

In some parts of the world however the soil bears no relation to the rock beneath it because it has been carried to its place by a natural force: the material pushed along by a glacier, for example, forms a type of soil known as boulder clay, and the silt washed down by rivers builds up into alluvial soils.

The depth of topsoil varies. A site recently left by a builder may have no top soil at all (or it may be covered by the subsoil layer), while in parts of the Mississippi Basin the rich alluvial deposits are 6 m (about 20 ft) deep. The average garden has between 300 mm and 600 mm (1 ft and 2 ft) of topsoil, but a depth of as little as 150 mm (6 in) is sufficient for growing a large number of plants.

You can test the depth of topsoil by the use of a soil auger, a tool like a giant corkscrew, which will bring up a sample of the soil profile, the several layers from which it is formed. A simpler test is to dig a hole with steep sides and to make the soil profile visible in that way. The hole will also show you how quickly the top or subsoil drains after rain.

For the revitalization of an old garden, many writers suggest removal of the soured topsoil and its replacement with new, but this is both difficult to obtain and expensive. (On the basis of the calculation that it takes 25 mm – 1 in – of topsoil a thousand years to develop, it is, of course, cheap.) When buying topsoil, it is important to establish its source and to be sure that it is ‘vegetable’ topsoil, with organic content, and free of disease and weeds. Beware especially of the roots of weeds such as couch grass.

A period of deep cultivation and the addition of plenty of organic material will increase the amount of topsoil already in a garden by encouraging bacteria to work within the top layers and subsoil.

Between topsoil and parent bed rock there may be many layers of stone and gravel, but the layer immediately beneath the top soil is generally the subsoil. Its depth varies according to the hardness of the underlying rock and the amount of erosion it has suffered. The colour and texture of subsoil are usually different from those of the top soil because it is in a transitional stage, without humus or organic material. For this reason it is not a growing medium.

Soil Texture

The texture of soil depends upon the size of the particles which make it up. All soils contain sand and clay in varying ratios but they are classified according to the dominant constituent, most readily identified by its particle size. The particle size is crucial because it controls the amounts of air and water which reach the roots of plants. Plants must have air to breathe and water to enable them to absorb their food in soluble form.

Clay soil chiefly consists of extremely fine particles. When these become wet, their composition causes them to swell and to stick together, so that they block air from the plants’ roots and make it hard for them to take in food in solution. Clay soil is heavy, difficult to work and cold, as a result of being frequently waterlogged and badly aired. When it does dry out, it tends to crack and there is a danger of plant roots being damaged.

Clay soils are naturally rich in plant nutrients but these are not always available because of air and water is blocked from the roots. The addition of humus-forming materials is essential to plant life and if this is done on a regular basis it can transform heavy clay into fertile workable soil.

The addition of horse stable manure, compost or peat gives clay soil a better texture, making it warmer, more aerated and less waterlogged. Lime will also help to break up clay and reduce its acidity but it should be used only after careful thought as many plants, such as rhododendrons and azaleas, will not tolerate it. It is very difficult to rid a soil of lime once it has been added. Never add lime and manure at the same time, as they interacted chemically.

Sandy soil is composed mainly of large gritty particles which do not cling together. As a result, water is absorbed easily but drains away fast, taking essential nutrients with it leaving plants undernourished and dry. Sandy soils soon become acid and generally need frequent but small applications of lime.

One advantage of sandy soil is that it is warm, because of the easy flow of air between large particles. The fact that it warms up quickly in spring makes it a suitable soil for early vegetable crops. In addition it is easy to dig and also to cultivate as organic matter is broken down fairly fast. Frequent watering and the addition of bulky organic material such as manure should greatly improve a sandy soil.

Strictly speaking, most garden soils are loam of one type or another. What gardeners commonly refer to as loam is the ideal growing soil, an optimum balance of sand, clay and humus. In reality the perfect loam rarely exists; most types of loam are either sandy or clayey. However the best loam is a rich, dark brown soil, made up of between 50 and 60 per cent sand particles to about 30 per cent clay. Its other constituent, humus, is the valuable organic compound formed by decayed vegetable and animal material. When broken down completely, it forms a blackish, powdery substance. In general, the darker soils are the richer ones, as they contain more organic matter. They tend to be warmer too, as they absorb more heat from the sun’s rays. This makes them early soils; they become workable before other soils in the spring.

Chemical Composition

Since parent rocks differ in mineral content, so too will the soil above them. Soil’s mineral (inorganic) constituents are as important to plant growth as its texture and its organic content. Sodium, potassium, phosphorus, nitrogen, magnesium, iron and calcium are among the inorganic substances essential to plants. Some of them, such as iron, rarely need replacement; others have to be replenished by fertilizers.

A chalky soil is one which contains a high level of calcium. It is formed through the breaking down of calcium carbonate (limestone rock) by the action of the weather. Chalky soil contains white particles (called caliche) and sometimes pieces of flint. The top soil is usually thin, allowing water to drain through and warming up quickly in the spring. It is very alkaline soil and heavy dressings of organic matter will be needed to counteract the excess lime as well as retain moisture.

Peaty soils are derived almost entirely from plants. They contain less than 50 per cent minerals and their high organic content makes them almost black in colour. Peat soils are usually wet, badly aerated and extremely acidy, but the addition of lime will help improve both conditions.

The pH scale is a scale of value for the degree of acidity or alkalinity of a soil. Soils below 7 are regarded as being acid, those above 7 as alkaline. A pH value of 7 indicated a neutral soil and an ideal garden reading is 6.5. Below 6 on the scale the extreme acidity of the soil makes it suitable only for acid-loving plants such as heathers and rhododendrons. A reading above 8 means that the soil is so alkaline that it will support few plants, due to essential foods being ‘locked up’ in the soil. However certain plants, such as carnations, sweet peas and onions, do prefer alkaline conditions.

One way to discover a great deal about soil – its type and fertility – is to observe the plants that grow in it naturally, including the weeds. There are also various home kits which test the acidity or alkalinity of your soil. Some register the pH value as a colour variation. It is advisable to take samples from various parts of the garden, as the level of acidity may vary from one area to another.

The level of acidity or alkalinity can be controlled by adding lime, peat and various chemicals such as sulphate of ammonia to the soil. Lime helps reduce the acid level of a peaty or sandy soil while peat and sulphur make a chalky soil less alkaline.

Cultivating the Soil

One of the best ways to improve your soil is to dig it, using a good spade or a fork for heavy clay soils. Digging will aerate the soil, kill the weeds and break up some of the subsoil so that the layer of topsoil is gradually increased. It should be done once a year, and autumn or early winter is the best time. This is particularly important with heavy clay soils, so that winter frosts will break up compacted lumps and prepare the ground for planting in spring.

Digging should be done in small spadefuls at a time otherwise the task cab be back breaking. The roots of persistent weeds, such as couch grass, bindweed, dock, thistles or nettles, should be removed and later burned. When turning over a large area the best method is to dig in trenches, working with the last trench in front of you.

Digging to the depth of a spade is usually sufficient but with a very heavy clay soil, or for a large vegetable patch, it may be necessary to turn over the soil to two spade-depths, known as double digging. Apart from the extra effort involved, double digging is also more complicated because it goes down to the second layer, the subsoil. It is important to keep the two layers separate, so the topsoil should be lifted out of the trench and kept aside while the subsoil is broken up and turned over. Add any organic materials at this stage, forking them in well with the subsoil.

Manure, Compost and Fertilizers

The addition of sufficient organic material, in the form of animal manure or vegetable compost, should cure the deficiencies of an infertile soil. In its decayed form it is known as humus and one way in which humus aids fertility is by strong nitrogen. The bacteria in the soil convert nitrogen into ammonia and this essential nutrient is released to the plan roots in the form of nitrates. Humus also absorbs and holds water so that the plant roots will have time to take it up.

The texture of any type of soil will be improved as the strands of decaying vegetation will break up a sticky clay soil but bind together the large particles of sandy soil. The spaces between the crumbs of soil are sufficient for the retention of moisture but they allow any excess water to drain away. The good soil structure and aeration created assist root development.

A mixture of horse manure and straw is regarded as the best soil conditioner, as it is particularly rich in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium and also contains good organic material. The nutrients are not in a form which can be immediately absorbed by plants but as the organic material begins to decay they are converted by bacteria into chemical salts. They will eventually be taken up by the plant roots in the form of nutrients, phosphates and potash at a slow, steady rate over a long period of time. If the ground is planted, stack fresh farmyard manure for a while before using it as ammonia may burn the plants.

Garden compost, formed from rotted down vegetable waste, is an excellent substitute as it returns to the soil all the materials taken out during plant growth and helps to improve the soil structure. It is a simple and economical matter to make a compost heap in the garden but careful though should be given to the sitting of it. Though it is preferable to place it out of full view, it should not be anywhere to damp or shady or the waster matter will not rot down correctly.

Many waste materials can go on to the compost heap, from kitchen waste such as lettuce leaves and vegetable peelings to grass cuttings, dead leaves and straw – but diseased plant roots, perennial weeds or woody steams should always be disposed of, for example, burning them on a fire. The successful decomposition of this waste material depends on air, water and the action of bacteria. The bacteria depend on nitrogen for food and the rate of decay can be accelerated by sprinkling the heap with a nitrogenous fertilizer such as sulphate of ammonia or by spreading a layer of farmyard manure over it.

Each 300mm (1 ft) layer of waster should be trodden or pressed down firmly to get rid of air pockets, and then watered. The compacted mass can be covered with a layer of soil, about 25 mm (1 in) thick, and then the farmyard manure or sulphate of ammonia if you are using it. Alternate layers can be covered with hydrated lime (unless your soil is naturally limy) instead. When the heap is the height you require, cover it with one more layer of soil and give it a watering.

Decomposition will be speeded up if the heap is turned about every six weeks, moving waste matter from the outside into the centre and watering any dry patches. In the absence of rain, water should be sprinkled on the heap periodically – about every two weeks during a dry summer. Too much rain, however, will wash away the nutrients in the compost heap; during a period of heavy rain fall, a temporary cover could be placed on top.

Compost can be regarded as sufficiently decayed when the individual components can no longer be distinguished. It should be crumbly, manure like mass, dark in colour; if the texture is slimy the heap has not been made up correctly. In warm weather, and given the right conditions, the waste will take only about two to three months to decay but in winter you can expect it to take about four to six months.

Artificial or inorganic fertilizers are concentrated chemical salt from natural underground deposits. They are available in liquid or power from and supply essential foods direct to plants, acting quickly when applied to moist soils; it is important to use the exact quantity stated and to distribute it as evenly as possible, as overdoses can be harmful. Fertilizers are available containing individual chemicals or you can buy a general one which combines the three main nutrients; nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K).

While the application of artificial fertilizers helps to stimulate plant growth it does not improve the physical qualities of the soil. In fact over-application of these materials can cause soil deterioration by destroying bacteria. Soil texture can be improved by the addition of sterilized peat (moist, decomposing plant matter) but this has no mineral or food content at all.

Complex balance between its physiology, its humus content and its mineral content (shown by its pH value), once a gardener understands how each factor in the balance works, he has control over his plot, over what will grow and where.

Growing Your Own Vegetables

It is doubtful that the real sparing through developing your own particular vegetables in a little garden is peripheral. Unreasonably, the sparing might be more noteworthy in the field, since the distributive framework supports vast territories of populace and regularly brings about less expensive and more abundant vegetables in towns. Normally, the more vegetables you develop, the more conservative the suggestion gets to be. To give some sign of the measure of space which vegetables take up: a range of 84 sq m would give a group of four with adequate lettuces, runner beans, peas, carrots and turnips in the mid year, and with leeks, cabbages and sprouts in the winter. Obviously extraordinary joy can be acquired from developing your own particular create, regardless of the possibility that you don’t have enough space to make the venture truly efficient, and the new taste of home developed vegetables is a reward in itself.

The type of vegetables you grow will dictate the size of the plot, and this will determine how near the house it can be. Potatoes, most root crops and fruit and vegetables which need forcing, such as rhubarb and chicory, all take a lot of space. Green vegetables, such as broccoli and spinach are often well worth growing. For a busy family with little time to spare, it is perhaps better to concentrate on salad crops. There are many varieties of lettuce worth growing and a few out door tomato plants in a sheltered place can be rewarding. Fruit bushes can be trained along the fence or grown against a wall, where they will benefit from the heat retained and gently released by the wall.

Many vegetables can be incorporated decoratively in the garden plan. Red cabbages look striking, runner beans can be grown up a fence, and artichoke plants are visually interesting and can be used to screen a compost heap, while marrows and courgettes are most attractive hanging over a wall from the edge of a raised bed. Raised beds look effective and can be worked into the terrace if space is limited; they are excellent for old people since they are far easier to work.

Most vegetables need a good depth of topsoil which is rich in humus and all need a certain amount of space. They should be grown in some rotation. A vegetable plot need not be screened, as is often suggested, for rows of neat vegetables can be attractive. Admittedly there are times in winter when they look straggly but a run of box edging should solve the problem.

Herb growing is becoming more popular all the time, since not only are herbs used in most forms of cooking, but their medicinal properties are also being discovered. They grow in interesting shapes and the form, texture and color of their leaves make them attractive plants. Many herbs, such as rosemary, purple sage, satolina, rue and golden balm, can be include in the mixed border as decorative additions or a herb garden can be sited on its own. But clearly it is sensible that herbs should be as close to the kitchen as possible. As many of them originate in scrub or down land, they can exist in fairly shallow poor soil.

Lawn, Ground Cover and Planted Areas

Many small gardens include a fairly central lawn groundwork which sets off colorful flower beds. But where space is really limited a small area of grass will not be worthwhile, either visually or practically; a reasonable area of lawn in a simple shape looks uncluttered and is easier to maintain. Lawn running right up to the flower beds is attractive, though maintenance is easier when a line of paving runs along the edge, so that mowing stops about 400 mm (1 ft 3 in) short of the border. Convenience of mowing should be taken into account when planning areas of grass. Allow room to turn the mowing machine and if you plan a grass slope, bear in mind the maximum gradient of 1:1 or 45 degrees for cutting with a hand mower and 1:1 or 33 degrees for a smaller power driven machine.

Ground cover such as heather or ivy is an alternative soft ground surfacing, especially over areas which are too small or steep for lawn but where you want to keep maintenance to a minimum. The use of ground cover need not be restricted to filling in spaces between beds or within beds. It can be employed to create bold areas of pattern, possibly combined with paving stones.

At this stage in your planning there is no need to decide on the exact varieties of trees, shrubs and plants. However, since all planting is important in drawing and directing the eye, you should be thinking in terms of the approximate height and density of plant varieties; these should be selected for their overall impact in the design as much as for their purely horticultural interest.

The width of beds and borders will obviously depend on the space you have, but bear in mind two general points. If beds or borders greatly exceed about two meters in width, it may prove difficult to hoe between the plants without trampling all over the bed. On the other hand, beds must be sufficiently wide to allow for an effective arrangement of plants. For example, if you want a herbaceous border which maintains a colour display for most of the year, you need enough space to arrange plants so that when one group stops flowering another takes its place.