Monday, May 27, 2013

Mulching your garden

Mulches are materials placed over the soil surface to maintain moisture and improve soil conditions. This goes for every garden site, from vegetable garden to flower bed Mulch can reduce water loss from the soil, minimize weed competition, and improve soil structure. Properly applied, mulch can give landscapes a well-groomed appearance. However, Mulch must be applied properly; if it is too deep or if the wrong material is used, it can actually cause significant harm to trees and other landscape plants.

Mulched gardens are healthier, more weed free, and more drought-resistant then unmulched gardens, so you'll spend less time watering, weeding, and fighting pest problems.

There are two basic kinds of mulch: organic and inorganic. Organic mulches include formerly living material such as chopped leaves, straw, grass clippings, compost, wood chips, shredded bark, sawdust, pine needles, and even paper. Inorganic mulches include gravel, stones, black plastic, and geotextiles (landscape fabrics).

Both types discourage weeds, but organic mulches also improve the soil as they decompose. Inorganic mulches don't break down and enrich the soil, but under certain circumstances they're the mulch of choice. For example, black plastic warms the soil and radiates heat during the night, keeping heat-loving vegetables such as eggplant and tomatoes cozy and vigorous.

Using Organic Mulches

There are two prime rules for using organic mulches to combat weeds. First, be sure to lay the mulch down on soil that is already weeded, and second, lay down a thick enough layer to discourage new weeds from coming up through it.

Wood chips and bark mulch: You can purchase bags of decorative wood chips or shredded bark from a local garden center to mulch your flower garden and shrub borders. Or simply from carpenters, they have loads.

Shredded leaves: If you have trees on your property, shredding the fallen leaves creates nutrient-rich mulch for free.You can spread a wood chip or shredded leaf mulch anywhere on your property, but it looks especially attractive in flower beds and shrub borders. Of course, it's right at home in a woodland or shade garden. They also serve well as a mulch for garden pathway.

Grass offcuts: Grass trimmings are readily available mulch, although it's a good idea to return at least some of your grass clippings directly to the lawn as a natural fertilizer. Its fine to collect grass clippings occasionally to use as mulch, and the nitrogen-rich clippings are an especially good choice for mulching vegetable gardens. Your vegetables will thank you for the nitrogen boost!

Straw and hay: Great mulch for the vegetable garden is straw or hays. It looks good and has most of the benefits of the other mulches: retaining soil moisture, keeping down weeds, and adding organic matter to the soil when it breaks down. But be sure the hay you use is weed and seed free.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

How to create a new garden bed

1. Sketch the areas of your garden plot that you want to clear.

To get your edges straight for a square or rectangular vegetable plot, stretch a string between sticks and mark the line with a chalk stick.For a round shape, use a hose or rope to lay out the area, adjusting the position to create a smooth curve.

2.  Clear the surface by first removing dry plants, weeds, and rock.

If your garden area contains a lot of perennial weeds make sure that you first kill these weeds or grasses.

3.  Dig it up.

Now comes the digging. Dig up your new garden. If you have poor soil, now's also a great time to incorporate organic matter, such as compost. Just dig it in while you work the ground.

4. Create edging for the new bed

A waterway about 8 inches deep and a couple of inches wide will stop even the worst invaders from crossing and have a fine edging. Otherwise, drop an edging material around the border of your garden like bamboos.

5.  Position desired plants

Select which plants you will plant and place them before you put them in the ground can make a world of difference. This allows you to get the spacing just right and make your plants really will look good next to each other.

6.  start planting

When you know all of your plants are in exactly the right spots, plant them in the ground.

7.  Water them

Once your bed is planted and protected, give your plants a good soaking. Enjoy your gardening.

Tips: make sure you make research about the types of plant needed at the proper timing and place.


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