Gardening The thing to remember while gardening is to start small. A small plant bed, about 25 or 30 feet square is perfect, is just enough room for about 30 plants. This will give you a chance to try out your green thumb and if you find that you enjoy your garden you can always expand and increase your plantings. The next thing you will want to do is choose a site. Gardening must be done in an area that gets at least six hours of sunlight. Try and stay away from large trees that will take your plants water and nutrients, and at least three feet from any fences or buildings. In hot climates it is a good idea to choose a place that will have shade from a part of the intense afternoon sun. It is possible to have a healthy garden with even ten to twelve hours of sunlight, but the type of plants must be adaptable. While soil can always be improved, a site with good soil is a plus. Avoid areas that have rocky soil, steep slopes, or areas where water stands. Now comes the fun part: start digging. Gardening is not a clean hobby; you're going to have to get some dirt under your nails. First remove the rocks, debris, and any grass and weeds then dig the spot up about one foot deep. Level up the dirt and add compost or minerals if the needed. If your soil is too acidic, add lime; if it is too sandy, add peat moss. Plants will thrive in neutral to acidic soil with a little added fertilizer. If you buy seeds then plant them according to the directions. If picking plants, choose ones with green, healthy looking leaves and stems and healthy roots. Put the smaller plants towards the front of the bed and larger ones in the back. The key to a successful beginning in gardening is planting at the right time. Make sure and wait until the frosts are over before planting. If you are planting seeds the package will usually tell you exactly when you can plant them to achieve maximum growth. Once you have started and gotten into gardening, making sure your plants receive enough water is essential to their growth. Hand watering works well if you only have a few plants. Other options include sprinklers or sprinkler hoses. Watering is more effective during the cooler parts of the day. The type of plant will depend on how much water is needed, but most require about an inch per week. During the hottest periods plants will be need watering about three times per week. One of the most helpful things to add to a garden is mulch or compost. Just a few inches of organic mulch will improve fertility and help the soil hold moisture. Wood chips, grass clippings, leaves, manure, and pine needles are all things that can be used as mulch. Gardening Advice Garden advice is not that hard to come by. In fact, you can get gardening advice from another gardener, in a gardening catalogue, gardening books, gardening magazines, and even on the Internet. Although you will have variations with every plant, there is some gardening advice that is universal and that goes for any plant. For example, the gardening advice given for planting is pretty much uniform. You must place plants where they will have room to grow so they don't overcrowd each other. Good air flow is a plus, and plants must be in a position where they will receive adequate amounts of sunlight. Advice will always tell you to add some type of nutrients to the soil to lead to better plant growth, such as mulch or compost. Gardening advice on watering plants is a little more varied, because every type of plant needs different amounts of water. For example, you wouldn't want to water a cactus near as much as you water a tomato plant. How much you water will obviously also depend on where you live, the climate, and how much rain your area receives. Gardening advice from nearly every source will tell you that your plants not only need fertilize when you first plant them, they will also needed to be fertilized throughout their growing season. What type of fertilize used will depend on the soil content and pH balance, but fertilize will definitely be needed on most all plants. Compost can be used instead and it is easy to find advice on how to make a compost pile as well as when fertilize and compost needs to be used. Gardening advice on weeds, insects, disease, and how to get rid of them is probably the most sought after advice in all of gardening. These pests invade all gardens and if you don't get rid of them, they will take over and ruin your garden. There are many different chemicals and pesticides that can be used, and gardening advice will usually clue gardeners in on which chemicals are better, which are harmful, and which ones are easier to administer. Gardening is not an easy task; you have to fight against many outside forces, such as weather, insects, disease, and weeds. Even the most seasoned of gardeners will seek out gardening advice once in a while. Who wouldn't when there are so many forces that could take a garden out? There is a lot of general gardening advice on the market that goes for any plant, but if you look a little harder you will find specific advice for that one plant that is the only one giving you trouble. Gardening advice is relatively easy to find, and while you may come across the occasional bad apple, most of it is relatively sound and will help with any gardening question. Gardening Tools -- An Overview I think you know very well about the rules and regulations to keep your plants to grow healthy in your garden. For getting sustainable growth of your garden plants you do require good soil quality, sunlight and sufficient water. Although these items have been gifted by nature, you ought to require modern gardening tools to upkeep your garden in a good state. Gardening tools help a lot in taking care of your plants as well as the good growing conditions and positive effect on your plant's health. Defective gardening tools might have cause injury on your plants or cut your plants or totally plug your plants from the soil. In order to prevent the occurrence of such untoward incident, it is a must to look for the best gardening tools, which will provide your plants loving tender care. Once you called a tool as 'Best gardening tools", it refers to a tool, which will permit labor saving methods and that allows energy efficiency. Here you can see some of the best gardening tools available in the market to provide a better care than ever for your plants in the garden. Lawnmowers Luxus Push Reel Mower rated as best by the gardening aficionados provides large top cover that protects overhanging flowers and shrubs. Another special gardening tool called American Lawn Mower Deluxe has also been accredited as best which will be helpful to operate on elbow grease alone and also causing no pollution. But this is not conducive for too tall grasses. Garden Shredders In general all the garden shredders have a high power motor and come with a silent crushing system. This kind of gardening tool used to accelerate your shredding activity. Garden shredders with electric shredder is an easy to assemble gardening tool, which aids in tree pruning with maximum of 40 mm and making healthy hedges. This gardening tool is considered to be a best among all the garden shredders since it is available with a plunger for increased portability and built-in wheels. Cultivators These modern gardening tools are available with patented tines to help in cutting the hard compacted soil smoothly. Cultivators are available with a free border edger. It is perfect to use in cleaning the moss, aerating and in thatching. This garden tool helps extensively in preparing vegetable plots, flowerbeds, etc., Leaf sweeper These gardening tools are extensively used for smaller lawns. It is having an infinite height adjustment with 200-liter collector. Edge Trimmer This gardening tool has also been accredited as important equipment by the gardening equipment reviewers. This aids in trimming the hedges and also aids in plant pruning. Spading fork This is a wonderful gardening tool used for aerating and transplanting. By using this gardening tool it is possible to perform splitting grasses and perennials. In addition to this these gardening tools helps a lot as the job of a manure fork, mulch, sorting hay, for tiny gardens. Mattock Mattock is an important gardening tool for breaking up the clay soils and also working around established trees with the roots. There is no need to have a pick and a hoe and handles in your garden, if you are having mattock with you. Before you leave the garden center, it is highly advisable to have a look at these check list of gardening tools and confirm if you've got all the gardening tools you'll need to make your garden just like that of spring to life. * Gardening Tips To Avoid Fungus During Summer: Most of us are ready to invest huge amount for landscaping and gardening to give face lift for our home. But we failed to prune when the plants needed it, and then your highly invested landscape looks terrible than ever. So this is a high time to know about the gardening tips for better maintenance of your lawn. Do follow the following gardening tips for better life of your garden: * Gardening Tips For Pruning: As we discussed in the introduction, pruning plays an important role in the garden maintenance. If you commit any mistake while pruning, don't lose your heart because it's like a bad haircut, it is going to grow again. * Avoid Watering In The Evening: During summer, you may experience high humidity, which might result in lot of problems in your garden. To get your plants nice and dry, tuck them in for night. In addition to this watering in the evening may be avoided to prevent damage to the plants. * Get Rid Of Powdery Mildew: Powdery mildew is the common fungus mostly affects your ornamental plants. This will create white film on the leaves of the plants in your garden. Even other ornamental plants such as Sand cherry and Dogwoods are also getting affected with this fungus. Efficient gardening is necessary to curtail the growth of this fungus. You can easily prevent this by spraying general fungicide in the garden centre. * Prevention Of Pythium Blight: If you're in the north and also having perennial Rye grass, then you ought to be very careful not to leave your grass wet at night. A dreadful fungus called Pythium Blight may take its upper hand, if you leave your lawn wet in the night because this fungus love to grow in high humid condition mostly, in the night. Pythium blight can easily be seen in the early morning. You can easily appreciate the fungus on the top of the lawn as white cotton candy. You can easily notice this fungus mainly along driveways and walks, where the soil is moist. Pythium blight can easily be controlled by watering in the day at the earliest possible time. * Fire Blight: Fire Blight, yet another culprit prefers to grow well during summer than any other season. This fungus prefers to attack Pyracantha, cotoneasters, crabapple trees, and Apple trees. The presence of Fire Blight can easily be visualized once the any one of the branches of the plant turns red and dies. This Fire Blight can be prevented little by pruning the affected branch and removing it from the main plant as far as possible. It is also important that the cut branches should be burnt since Fire Blight is contagious and also wash or dip the projected shears by using alcohol in order to prevent the spread of the deadly fungus to other parts of the branch. * Shotgun Fungus: A little gem like fungus, which prefers to grow in mulch and tends to swell, has been termed as "Short gun Fungus". This fungus can fly up to 8 feet in the air and will spatter your house with tiny brown specks and once they stick to your house or windows, they stick like glue. Most of us suspect the spiders and aliens for this tiny brown speck. You can't prevent this fungus, but can do something by keeping the mulch loose so air can circulate inside to keep this fungus out. Although mulch is great, don't allow them to get packed, try to remove it at least once in a year and also rake it flat as if it will look like you've just mulched. Gardening Equipment Nearly every gardener has some type of gardening equipment. In fact, it's nearly impossible to have a garden without used gardening equipment. What kind of gardening equipment you use will obviously depend on the size and extent of your garden, what you are able to handle, if you want to spend a lot of time in your garden or get done quickly, and finally, how much money you are willing to spend. While many gardeners do not have expensive or high-tech gardening tools, all of them have some type of gardening equipment for cultivating. Tools for cultivating can include both hand held tools and power tools. What kind you buy depends on how serious of a gardener you are. Hand tools include your everyday items like shovels, spading forks, rakes, trowels, and diggers. These can all be used to get a garden ready for planting and are relatively easy and do not require much strength to use. Other tools include a wheel cultivator, pickax, and mattock. While power tools are a little more expensive than hand tools, they really cut down on the hard labor. The most essential piece of gardening equipment is undoubtedly the tiller. The tiller will break up the ground and get it ready for planting, chop up any debris, and help mix in fertilizer and compost. If you don't want to spend the money on a tiller you can hire someone or rent a tiller for one time use. Other power tools that are very popular include chippers, garden shredders, and chain-saws. If you have shrubs, hedges, or small trees in your yard, pruning tools are a vital piece of gardening equipment. Pruning shears are good for branches about 1/4" in diameter, while lopping shears can handle branches from a half inch up to about 2 inches. Pole pruners are on a pole and can reach branches about 15 feet above ground. Hedge shears and pruning saws are both larger, more heavy duty pruning tools for the serious gardener. Since your plants must be watered in order to survive, and lets face it, it doesn't rain whenever we want it to, gardening equipment for watering is a must have. The one thing you can't get along without is a water hose, everything after that is optional. Many gardeners use sprinklers or s drip irrigation hose. There are even timers you can purchase for sprinklers or drip hoses, if you are willing to drop the extra cash. Gardening without gardening equipment would be a nightmare. Sure there are some people who enjoy getting a little dirty while they plant their flowers, but even those types of people have the most basic of gardening tools, like a rake or a hoe. Gardening equipment is a part of gardening, as important as the dirt and the seeds. Identification of good quality gardening supplies Congratulations! At last you have decided to have a nice garden for your biggest house. Now the big question is how to choose gardening supplies, which are useful for your garden at nominal price but with good quality. Identifying proper gardening supplies is an important thing for a garden lover like you. Do you know gardening is an art, which requires tender care and deep passion for growing plants? But the part of the art knows how to choose gardening supplies. Just like that of pet care, you pat them on the head, you take them for walks and you talk to them. Your plant also requires same care from you. You should clearly know how to choose gardening supplies- the gardening trade tools. As you care your plants, you can visually see how they grow? It can be both fulfilling and gratifying and also teach how to choose gardening supplies is a step towards that goal. You should also know that different kinds of garden require different kinds of garden supplies. In general most of the garden supplies are available in packages, which deals with a particular type of garden. Hence the first and foremost tip on how to select your garden supplies depends mainly on the type of garden you own or envisioned. Some garden requires specialized watering system and not a water sprinkler, and some garden may require held shovel instead of ditch digger. It is also advisable that you don't spend more money on the garden supplies. In case if you are going to make a nice garden, you can contact the nearby garden supply store and may ask them to stock your requirement or in some instances gardening supplies can be made by yourself. But it is necessary to know how to choose your required gardening supplies won't pinch out much from your budget. Another important indispensable matter to consider is knowing the garden supply stores that can accommodate your type of garden. There are multi various garden supply stores, which are specialized in rooftop gardens, indoor gardens, and all the other kinds of gardens. Even you can easily identify the garden supplies stores, which offer alternative garden supplies such as ergonomic garden tools, pest control methods, and organic fertilizers. If you find no time to visit mortar and stone shops of shopping malls to get your required garden supplies, you can browse and get your preferred garden supplies through online. Online shopping helps a lot to the gardeners by the way of comparing the prices of an individual garden supplies for better tools. In addition to this, online shopping helps to order your garden supplies without leaving your homes, and also get to know the latest trends in gardening supplies. It is noted that some online shops offer discounts for your supply of garden supplies in their shops. So go visit the online garden supplies to get a product at nominal price with esteemed quality. Gardening Products Because gardening has evolved into such a popular activity, gardening products are not hard to come by. You can buy gardening products in various stores or nurseries, or you can order gardening products from catalogues, or even order them online. Gardening products can range from equipment too fertilize to the actual plant itself. You will obviously need the basic gardening products no matter what you are planting, such as a hoe, spade, and maybe even a shovel. You must have watering supplies, like a water hose and perhaps a sprinkler. Other possibilities include a spade, a pot (if you are pot planting), and a pair of gloves for comfort, some secuturs, or a rake. When first starting a garden you will definitely want some type of mulch or potting soil to get your dirt ready. There are a few types of potting soil to choose from, including organic potting mix, seed starting potting mix, cactus potting mix, and root development potting mix, just to name a few. Once you have your garden planted, you must have gardening products so that you can add nutrients to the soil to ensure a healthy plant life. Miracle-Gro is one of the most popular growing enhancements for plants. There are many different types of Miracle-Gro to choose from and what kind you choose will depend on what you are trying to grow. You will also want to add fertilize, such as 10-20-10 or triple 13, depending on the needs of your soil. If you are growing vegetables or herbs, you may need different gardening products than regular flower gardens require. If you are growing tomatoes you will need a tomato cage and ties to protect the plants against the wind. Many plants, mostly vines, are designed to grow on something and you will have to have a fence or trellis of some sort. Gardening products are not limited to just the gardening necessities; they can also come in the form of decoration. There are decorative flower pots, sundials, plastic figurines, stones or bricks for a pathway or looks, and even lawn furniture. Decoration will add to the charm and uniqueness of your garden and are an excellent way to give it a personal touch. The winter months will bring a whole new set of gardening products to store shelves. When the frost hits the prime place to put your plants are in a greenhouse. However, if you do not have a greenhouse for whatever reason, a tarp of some sorts can be used to cover plants up at night. You also might need a light source, like a heat lamp, to both keep plants warm and give them extra light. New and upgraded gardening products are always popping up on the market. It seems like every day there is some gardening product that claims to be bigger and better than the last. While many gardening products are not a necessity, they sure make the job a lot easier and more enjoyable. Gardening Plants When it comes to gardening plants, there are too many to name. Gardening plants can refer to flowers, shrubs, herbs, vegetables, fruits, and many more. There are also gardening plants that are in season at different times of the year, some in fall and winter, others in spring and summer. Whatever type of gardening you decide is your forte; there are plenty of gardening plants available to suit your preferences. If you want gardening plants that you can actually use instead of just look at, vegetables, herbs, and fruits are all very satisfying. Edible plants add an excitement to gardening because of the produce available at harvest time. The main vegetables grown in smaller, home gardens as well as larger ones include corn, peas, cucumbers, potatoes, squash, peppers, onions, carrots, spinach, lettuce, and beets. Popular fruits are pears, plums, tomatoes, blueberries, apricots, cherries, and strawberries. Herbs are used for their wonderful fragrances, to spice up a salad, and in cooking. Herbs that are often home grown include thyme, sage, dill, mint, lavender, and chives. It is fairly easy to have a colorful garden in the spring and summer months, but it is a whole different ball-game during the cold, winter months. Even though it is difficult, with planning and a little more care you can have a colorful garden year round. One gardening plant that thrives in the fall and winter months is the Rudbeckia, a beautiful yellow perennial. Others include the Christmas rose, the Japanese Anemone, and Cosmos. When you think of flowers you automatically think of a spring garden full of many different, beautiful colors. Spring and summer gardening plants are some of the prettiest things on earth and give inspiration to all who grow them. Some of the most grown spring plants are tulips, daffodils, and violets. Favorites of the warmer months of summer are lilies, dahlias, and roses. When gardening, many people will opt for decorative grasses or shrubs. Monkey grass is an all time favorite, especially for a sidewalk. These will gardening plants can be for looks, can act as a border or fence, and can be used for privacy. Shrubs are easy to take care of and add a defining look to any yard or garden. There are so many different kinds of gardening plants available. Many gardening plants actually have a purpose and can be used, whereas many of them are just for looks. The kind of gardening plant you choose to have in your garden is completely up to you, but remember, no matter what kind it is, it will require some maintenance and without proper care you will end up with a garden full of just dirt. Gardening Magazine Even the most seasoned gardeners will have a question about their garden once in a while, and you can bet that beginners will be full of questions. Gardening magazines can help with questions that arise involving nearly every aspect of gardening. Not only will gardening magazines give instructions on gardening, they also provide readers with the latest news in the gardening world. Gardening magazine subscribers are privy to all of the latest information regarding things such as new gardening tools, fertilizers, and pesticides that are introduced to the market. For example, there are always new programs and clubs for gardeners to join, or perhaps a local gardening class that is available. When new tools are produced, such as a new kind of blower or vacuum, or new kinds of lawn mowers or tillers that are available, a gardening magazine is the best place to get all of the information. Not only will these magazines tell you about these products, they will also give you options on where to find them and for the lowest costs. Gardening magazines offer hints and tips on how to rid your garden of those ever pesky insects. They will also discuss the many ways to recognize and fight diseases that may overtake your plants. The information you get from these magazines could be what ends up saving your garden. Gardening magazines usually come with a gardening maintenance section that will instruct readers on things like how to prune, when to divide, which fertilizers would be better for your plants, and how much to water. They provide simple, easy to understand instructions on everything from how to deal with weeds to planting tulips. Gardening magazines give ideas about landscaping and, if enforced, could change the entire outlook of your yard or flower garden. Garden designs can be difficult at best, and magazines can supply gardeners with inspiration and ideas on what will look good and suit their area. Garden magazines also give subscribers the chance to write questions to be published so that they can get a specific answer from a gardening professional. They also provide gardeners with the chance to share their knowledge and expertise with the public by submitting articles of their choice for publication. One of the highest honors in gardening is to have your lawn or garden displayed in a magazine for everyone to see. It is definitely the pinnacle of gardening. Gardening magazines provide gardeners with inspiration, ideas, instruction, and even entertainment. Many times gardening magazines will also provide readers with coupons that they can use to purchase items that will either improve, enlarge, or enhance their gardens. Gardening magazines are a primary source for both beginner and experienced gardeners everywhere to get all the latest news and age old gardening traditions at the same time. Gardening Gloves One of the best things about gardening is felling warm, moist dirt in your bare hands, but you will often end up with blistered, chapped, and scraped skin. The solution to this problem is gardening gloves. The more time you spend getting down and dirty in the garden, the more you need gardening gloves. Gardening gloves will be able to ease some of the pain you would otherwise be subject to, letting you spend even more time playing in the dirt. There are hundreds of different types of gloves on the market, and the kind of gardening glove you buy depends on the way you garden. Some gloves offer protection against specific substances or things, for example, leather gloves are not the best for working with chemicals or water. Many gardening gloves are specialized for pruning thorns, refilling gasoline tanks, or using a chain saw, while others are for general tasks such as raking, digging, and weeding. After choosing the type of gardening glove you need, you must make sure and pick out the perfect fit. Gloves that are too big have a tendency to slip off while gloves that are too small could cause aches and cramps. Any glove that doesn't fit could defeat the whole purpose of wearing gloves and cause blistering. To find a glove with the best fit possible, try the gloves on both hands, make a fist, and imitate the movements you make when gardening. If there is no pinching or slipping and the glove is comfortable then you have found your match. Gardening gloves can be bought in many places and are produced by many companies, causing them all to have a different quality and price. Most gloves can be washed in cool water and then air dried. There are many different types of gloves you can purchase to satisfy your varying needs, such as cotton and cotton-polyester for general-purpose chores. These are among the most popular gloves and are perfect for light chores in cool and dry weather. Leather gloves can also be used for general chores but are heavier than cotton and polyester. Chemical resistant gloves will help protect your hands against oils, acids, herbicides, pesticides, and many other chemicals. Grip enhancing gloves are designed with rubber dots for extra gripping power. Cut and puncture resistant gloves are designed to offer extra protection against sharp edges If you are the type person that only wears gloves as an optional luxury for various tasks, you should think seriously for using specialized gardening gloves for many of the activities you will be doing outside. There is really no reason not to wear gardening gloves; they protect your hands from the elements and don't ever cost all that much. Home Gardening Over the last few years home gardening has become an increasingly popular past-time and hobby. In fact, studies show that home gardening is at an all time high in America right now. In the United States 8 out of 10 households take part in some type of home gardening activity. Obviously from the number of people that are doing it, home gardening is one of the most popular recreational activities in nation. Most people that try their hand at home gardening plant flowers; at least they start out planting flowers anyway. Roses will probably be the first thought into any gardeners mind, but roses will take extra time and work, and should probably be left to those who have gardened before. When planting flowers many choices are available, such as bulbs, perennials, and annuals. Edible plants are another big thing in home gardening. Perhaps the best thing about edibles is the reward of eating them. The list of edible plants that gardeners can grow at home is endless. Some of the most common edible plants in the vegetable arena are, potatoes, peas, corn, carrots, squash, and cucumber. Many gardeners opt for fruits, such as, watermelons, tomatoes, peaches, plums, apples, pears, and apricots. Small fruits, such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries usually require less work and less space, making them much more feasible for home gardening. Herbs, most often used as spices in cooking, are growing in popularity every day; some of the most grown include basil, thyme, oregano, parsley, and cilantro. One of the most important things to watch for when planting edibles is insects and disease, after all, you don't want to miss out on the feast you will get to enjoy from healthy plants. Many people don't realize it, but landscaping is a form of home gardening. Landscaping covers many different areas and forms of gardening. You can even classify mowing your lawn as landscaping! Keeping in the line of grasses, landscaping nearly always involves decorative grasses, and the great thing about them is they don't take much work for upkeep. Types of grass include monkey grass, pampas, buffalo grass, flame grass, and ornamental millet. Landscaping is not just limited to plant life, but also includes anything done to a yard for decoration, such as adding rocks or stones, putting a small pond, statutes, or a waterfall. There isn't much difference between home gardening and gardening anywhere else. Plants still need to be planted in a good location. The plants still need water and they still need the same nutrients. Home gardening shouldn't cause anyone to get nervous. If you do decide to try homing gardening and finding out that you don't have a green thumb, don't get discouraged. Get some information, read up on gardening, and try it again the next planting season. Water Gardens There are many new trends surfacing in gardening, and water gardening is one of the main new interests. Water gardening can be in the form of waterfalls, ponds, fountains, all of which can be enhanced by rock work combinations and lighting, plants, and fish. Water gardening doesn't have to be a pond or natural water source either, it can consist of just a plastic tub, basically anything that can hold water. The most important thing to consider in water gardening is probably the spot chosen. Since plants and fish both need plenty of sunlight, places in direct light away from trees and bushes is the best place. This will also help prevent leaves and debris from collecting in the water. When planning for a water garden first decide the size you want. This will depend on how much money you are willing to spend because water gardening can get expensive if you opt for a large garden full of plants, rocks, fish, and lights. Also consider the size of our property, and the amount of time you want to spend with maintaining your water garden. When you choose what type of aquatic plants you wish to have, remember that the plants should only cover about half of the water. Plants can be free floating, submerged, or marginal. Which you choose is all a matter of personal preference. Some plants are good for their scent, some provide more oxygen than others and will keep the pool health, and some are just beautiful. Fish are not only nice to look at but they are also very beneficial. Fish help keep debris at a minimum and help in controlling larva and other insects. One of the main difficulties in water gardening is keeping water clear of algae. Algae problems are usually caused from too many nutrients in the water from feeding fish too often or from over fertilizing plants. If ponds are made correctly and are maintained properly algae problems and control will be kept at a minimum. All garden pools regardless of size will need maintenance throughout the year. With proper planning you can ensure a healthy balance between living and decorative features of a water garden that can almost care for itself with simple maintenance inputs from you. You can get rid of algae by reducing on the nutrients that cause the algae by cutting back on feeding and fertilizing, planting more plants, installing a filter system, or replacing existing water with fresh water. There are some chemicals that can be used, like copper compounds, but overuse can kill plant life and fish. Water gardening doesn't take anymore time than regular gardening, but obviously isn't near the same thing. You may be the type person who couldn't grow a flower if you tried but would be excellent at water gardening. If you are looking for a way to occupy some time or to beautify your yard, water gardening is an excellent way. Vegetable Gardening Vegetable gardening has lately become just as popular as going to the grocery store fore produce. Vegetable gardening can produce vegetable that are usually cheaper than store bought, and vegetables from a home vegetable garden definitely taste better by far. Vegetable gardening is no different than growing herbs or flowers and if the proper steps are taken and the plants are give the proper care they will flourish and produce very tasty vegetables. First you must decide what size of garden you wish to plant and then select a place for it; somewhere that has good drainage, good air flow, and good, deep soil. It also needs to be able to get as much sunlight as possible. Because vegetable gardens have such tasty rewards, many animals, such as dogs, rabbits, deer, and many others will try and get to your veggies. One way to prevent this is to surround your garden with a fence, or put out a trap to catch mice, moles, and other animals. Before planting, the soil must be properly prepared. Good soil for vegetable gardening is achieved by cultivation and the application of organic materials. The soil must be tilled (plowed) to control weeds and mix mulch into the soil. If you have a small garden, spading could be a better bet than plowing. Mulching is also a vital part of soil preparation. Organic matter added to the soil releases nitrogen, minerals, and other nutrients plants need to thrive. The most popular and best type of mulch you can use is compost. While the kind and amount of fertilizer used depends on the soil and types of plants, there are some plants that have specific needs; leafy plants, like cabbage, spinach, and lettuce usually grow better with more nitrogen, while root crops like potatoes, beets, turnips, and carrots require more potash. Tomatoes and beans use less fertilizer, while plants like onions, celery, and potatoes need a larger amount. One thing that is vitally important in vegetable gardening is the garden arrangement. There is no single plan that will work for every garden due to varying conditions. One popular way to arrange a vegetable garden is to plant vegetables needing only limited space together, such as radishes, lettuce, beets, and spinach, and those that require more room together, such as corn, pumpkins, and potatoes. Try and plant tall growing plants towards the back of the garden and shorter ones in the front so that their sunlight does not get blocked. When you are finally ready to begin planting your vegetable garden, make sure and plant at the right time of year. If you are dying to get an early start, you may want begin your garden inside in a hotbed and then transplant when the weather permits. After you are finished planting, make sure your vegetables receive the appropriate amount of water, which depends on the type of plant. Most plants will need the equivalent to about an inch of water per week. Weeds must be controlled in vegetable gardening because they will take up water, light, and nutrients meant for the vegetables and they often bring disease and insects to the garden. You can get rid of weeds by cultivation or mulching. To protect against disease and insects you can buy seeds that are disease resistant or use controlled chemicals. Vegetable gardening is many people's favorite form of gardening because you can actually taste the fruits of your labor. Vegetable gardening is not that expensive to start and the taste of home grown veggies definitely beat out that of supermarket vegetables. Your vegetable gardening days will be full of produce if you take the proper precautions when planting and continue maintenance of your garden. Rose Gardening Roses have gotten a bad wrap over the years for being difficult to grow and maintain. If you are thinking of rose gardening don't let this rumor stop you. While rose gardening can prove to be challenging, once you get the hang of it, it really isn't that bad. When you first start rose gardening, you will have to choose what type of rose you wish to plant, and no, I'm not talking about the color. You will have to choose between bare-root, pre-packaged, and container-grown roses. Bare-root roses are sold in the winter and early spring. They should be planted as soon as frosts are over and the ground is warm and workable. Pre-packaged roses are bare-root plants that are sold in a bad or box with something around the roots to retain moisture, such as sawdust. Container-grown roses are grown; you guessed it, in containers. They will be either budding or already in bloom when they become available in the early spring. Planting in rose gardening is not that much different than any other type of plant. The most important thing, as always, is good, healthy soil and a prime planting area. It doesn't matter whether your roses are bare-root or container-grown, the planting methods are the same as any other shrub. Make sure the spot you choose has good drainage, gets plenty of sunlight, and will not overcrowd your roses. Before planting, any dead leaves and thin or decayed shoots need to be cut off. Any damaged or very long roots also need to be trimmed. Soak bare-root roses in water about 10-12 hours to restore moisture in the roots before planting and water the soil before planting as well. Make sure the hole you have dug is large enough for the root growth of the rose. Also it is a good idea to use compost or mulch. After all, roses like extra nutrients just like any other plant. Roses need the same things as other plants; they are just a bit needier. One of the most important things to remember in rose gardening is that roses are heavy feeders and will need several fertilizer applications. Fertilizing should be started in early spring and discontinued in early fall. Make sure not to over-fertilize (fertilize should come with instructions) and water after each feeding. Roses require large amounts of water; a thorough watering twice a week should be enough. Pruning is an essential part to flower gardening. It increases blooms and encourages healthy plant growth. Different varieties of roses have different instructions for pruning, so you might want to read up on your rose types and see what is suggested. The main thing to remember in rose gardening is to water, water, and water some more. One other thing about rose gardening is the amount of fertilizer and nutrients you will need to use, and the pruning that needs to be done to keep your roses under control and healthy. Even though rose gardening takes a little more time and roses are more work, they are one of the most unique and beautiful plants, and definitely worth the extra work. Understanding Container Gardening If you are a garden lover, but have no space for your gardening appetite, don't worry gardening is not necessarily out of your reach. In the available space of your house say balcony, patio, deck, or sunny window, you can create a container gardening, which will not only bring you joy but also vegetables. So, are you ready to start container gardening yourself: In the past, gardening is an exclusive realm of the landowner. Nowadays even the flat dweller can grow his dream garden without having any fuss. One's dream can be fulfilled by container gardening, which means the gardening in a special container. Container gardening gives delights of landscape without weekly mowing. In the container, you can raise some perennials, annuals, and even shrubs and small trees. Don't think container gardening can be achieved very easily. Container gardening also requires proper planning just like that of traditional gardening. Planning consists of finding your USDA zone (this will help to identify the suitable plant variety of your zone), amount of daylight you are receiving in your apartment, and finally choose your beloved plant variety. It is always advisable to buy the plants from nearest nursery unless you have right conditions to go for indoor seedlings. You should not keep the tender plants of container gardening outside below 45° F temperature or in soaring winds. Moreover you should not leave the new plants through out the night in the outside to get frost it out. There is a false notion that all the plants grow in the ground won't grow in the container gardening. It's not so. If you have any doubt, please do experiment on it. Moreover, any container with holes for drainage can be used for your container gardening. Container gardening requires little budget in the initial stage. But it is having low maintenance with good satisfaction. Container gardening requires little fertilizer and water according to the specific needs of the plants. There is numerous pot growing vegetable varieties as container gardening. In this type, the vegetable plant requires only sunlight and water. Providing these two things can easily help you get fresh vegetables for your ratatouille or salad. You can get more satisfaction by serving these varieties nurtured by your own hands to your beloved pals. Don't despair-if you're not having balcony or deck? Get nod from your landlord for window boxes, a modern container gardening. It is highly possible to grow many bloomy annuals year-round and indoor vegetables in your sunny window. There is another type of garden called community gardens, which will satisfy the city dwellers. There is no need to end your container gardening since you have entered autumn. But you can continue your container gardening by selecting the plants that are withholding the frost. The common plant varieties that stand up to the frost are Eulalia grasses, Mexican feather grass, Cornflowers, Lavender cottons, Jasmine, Million bells, Stonecrops, etc., * In order to extend the life of your garden from early spring to fall, you can replant to match the conditions. Even you can contact some of the America's best gardeners through online to get design for your container gardening. They offer suggestions such as caring and choosing for pots, how to grow tips for succulents, roses, and bulbs, in containers. Organic Gardening Organic gardening is the exact same as regular gardening except that no synthetic fertilizers or pesticides are used. This can make certain aspects difficult, such as controlling disease, insects, and weeds. Organic gardening also requires more attention to the soil and the many needs of plants. Organic gardening starts with the soil. Gardeners must add organic matter to the soil regularly in order to keep the soil productive. In fact, compost is essential to the healthiness and well being of plants grown organically. Compost can be made from leaves, dead flowers, vegetable scraps, fruit rinds, grass clippings, manure, and many other things. The ideal soil has a dark color, sweet smell, and is full of earthworms. Some soil may need more natural additives than regular compost can give, such as bonemeal, rock phosphates, or greensand. A simple soil test will tell you the pH balance and which nutrients you will need to use. One thing that makes even gardeners that are very serious about organic gardening reach for pesticides is insects on their plants. The best way to defend plants against insects is to take preventative measures. One thing that can be done is to make sure plants are healthy and not too wet or dry because insects usually attack unhealthy plants and if healthy, they can often outgrow minor insect damage. A variety of plant types is a good idea to keep pests of a particular plant type from taking out the entire garden. Perhaps the best way to defend against insects is to make your garden enticing to insect predators, such as ladybugs, birds, frogs, and lizards. You can do this by keeping a water source nearby or by growing plants that attract insects who feed on nectar. Other ideas are sticky traps, barriers, and plant collars. There are some household items that prevent against insects too, like insecticidal soaps, garlic, and hot pepper. To avoid plant disease in organic gardening, choose disease resistant plants and plant them in their prime conditions. Many diseases will spread because of constant moisture and bad air circulation, so the site of your garden and the way it is watered can help ensure against diseases. Weeds can be an annoying and frustrating part of organic gardening. Organic mulch can act as a weed barrier, but for even better protection put a layer of newspaper, construction paper, or cardboard under the mulch. Corn meal gluten will slow the growth of weeds if spread early in the season before planting, as does solarization. There's also the old-fashioned art of hoeing and hand pulling that always works. Your best bet in weed prevention is persistence. Mulch well and pull and hoe what you can; after a few seasons you can beat the weeds for good. Organic gardening is an excellent way to assure that your plants will be free and clear of all pesticides and, if taken care of properly, will be as healthy as possible. Organic gardening may take a little more time and care than regular gardening, but after gardeners get the hang of it and figure out all the quirks of their garden, it is definitely worth the extra time. Japanese Gardening Japanese gardening is a cultural form of gardening that is meant to produce a scene that mimics nature as much as possible by using trees, shrubs, rocks, sand, artificial hills, ponds, and flowing water as art-forms. The Zen and Shinto traditions are both a large part of Japanese gardening and, because of this; the gardens have a contemplative and reflective state of mind. Japanese gardening is much different than the Western style and most would say it is far more meditational and soul soothing. In Japanese gardening there are three basic methods for scenery. The first of these is reduced scale. Reduced scale is the art of taking an actual scene from nature, mountains, rivers, trees, and all, and reproducing it on a smaller scale. Symbolization involves generalization and abstraction. An example of this would be using white sand to suggest the ocean. Borrowed views refers to artists that would use something like an ocean a forest as a background, but it would end up becoming an important part of the scene. There are essentially two types of Japanese gardening: tsukiyami, which is a hill garden and mainly composed of hills and ponds. The other is hiraniwa, which is basically the exact opposite of tsukiyami: a flat garden without any hills or ponds. The basic elements used in Japanese gardening include rocks, gravel, water, moss, stones, fences, and hedges. Rocks are most often used as centerpieces and bring a presence of spirituality to the garden. According to the Shinto tradition rocks embody the spirits of nature. Gravel is used as a sort of defining surface and is used to imitate the flow of water when arranged properly. Stones are used to create a boundary and are sculpted into the form of lanterns. Water, whether it be in the form of a pond, stream, or waterfall, is an essential part of a Japanese garden. It can be in the actual form of water or portrayed by gravel, but no matter what form water is in, it is crucial to a Japanese gardens balance. There are several forms and types of plants that are signature of Japanese gardening, the main one being Bonsai. Bonsai is the art of training everyday, average plants, such as Pine, Cypress, Holly, Cedar, Cherry, Maple, and Beech, to look like large, old trees just in miniature form. These trees range from five centimeters to one meter and are kept small by pruning, re-potting, pinching of growth, and wiring the branches. Japanese gardening is a tradition that has crossed the Muso Soseki, poet, said "Gardens are a root of transformation". A Japanese garden is sure to bring about many different feelings and is definitely a transforming experience. Hydroponics Gardening Many gardeners are beginning to switch to Hydroponics gardening for many different reasons. These types of gardens are small and can easily be grown inside and are perfect for most vegetables, especially the red tomato. Also the equipment required for Hydroponics gardening is not expensive and they are relatively easy to manage. Hydroponics gardening is the growing of plants without soil, in other words, "dirtless gardening". There are many methods of Hydroponics gardening, most of which work better than regular soil gardening because it is easier to give the plant exactly what it needs when it needs it. Plants will only receive what you give them; therefore you will be able to regulate the pH, nutrients, nutrient strength, water amount, and light amount. This makes it imperative that you research the kind of plants you will be growing so you know what they need to survive. Hydroponics gardening is only as difficult as you make it. It can be complicated if computers with sensors are used to control water cycles, nutrients, and light for the plants. However, it can also be as simple as a hand watered bucket with a single plant. The normal home Hydroponics system is usually made up of a few basic things: a growing tray, light (natural or artificial), a reservoir, a water controlled pump for watering (or some type of watering equipment), and some form of air pump to give oxygen to the nutrients. The growing medium used in Hydroponics gardening can be any number of things, such as Rockwool, perlite, coconut fiber, gravel, sand, vermiculite, or even air. You can get instructions from a gardening store or online or buy separate parts and build your own. There are also kits already assembled for sale in gardening supply stores. There are certain micro-nutrients that are necessary for healthy plant growth including magnesium, sulfur, calcium, cobalt, boron, iron, copper, manganese, and zinc. These nutrients are absolutely essential to plants and if missing could cause the food to not be as healthy and in some cases even cause health problems for those who eat it. It is very important that you use a quality fertilizer when Hydroponics gardening. Another important aspect of Hydroponics gardening that must be closely regulated is the pH balance. When the pH balance varies the plants will lose the ability to absorb nutrients that it needs. The ease with which the pH in Hydroponics gardening is tested and controlled give it a huge advantage over regular dirt gardening. Even though there are hundreds of different variations, Wick, Water Culture, Ebb and Flow, Drip, N.F.T., and Aeroponic are the six most basic types of Hydroponics gardening systems. Hydroponics gardening is easy, affordable, and you can have fresh produce, flowers, herbs & spices all year long! Herb Gardening Herb gardening is becoming more and more popular every day, and for a good reason. Herbs have practical value, serve a purpose, and with herb gardening you can actually use your plants. When most people think of herb gardening they automatically think of cooking, but herbs are also grown for their pleasant aroma and their beauty. One important part of herb gardening is drying the herbs for use during the winter months, especially if you plan on cooking with them. First the tops of leafy herbs have to be cut, washed, and hung up for the water to evaporate. Then, tie stems together and hang up in a paper bag to dry. After two to three weeks they must be removed; crumble the leaves, dry them out in the oven, and store in a glass jar. One of the most common herbs gown in herb gardening is basil. "Dark Opal" and regular green basil are beautiful additions to any garden and often used as decoration. Dark Opal has light pink flowers and dark red leaves. Basil isn't just used for its looks; it is used for extra flavor in tomato juices and pastes. Chives are very petite looking and resemble a blade of grass. They are much stronger than they look, however, and will grow well through a drought and a drought. Their toughness and sturdiness makes Chives a perfect plant for herb gardening, especially if the gardener doesn't want plants that require a lot of hassle. Chives are good used in salads, egg dishes, and many different sauces. Mint is also very simple to grow and is good to use in mint jelly, mint juleps, lemonade, and any other kind of fruity drink. Mint is also good in herb gardening for its unique minty smell. Two herbs that appear in nearly everyone's herb garden are thyme and sage. Both of these herb gardening favorites are used for flavoring soups, chicken, turkey, pork, and other sausages. Sage is also grown sometimes for its beautiful blue spiked flowers. Lavender is probably the best smelling herb in all of herb gardening and is often used in candles, as a perfume scent, and to improve the smell in linen chests. The light purple flowers smell absolutely lovely. Other types of herbs often grown in herb gardening include borage (used in salads), chervil (used in egg dishes), sweet marjoram (flavors lamb, fish, salad, and soup), sesame (flavors crackers, cookies, and bread), and dill (flavors meats and used in pickles). Herb gardening allows gardeners to use herbs from their own garden for cooking, looks, and smell. Herb gardening will produce much fresher herbs with more flavor than store-bought herbs, and are a lot cheaper. Indoor Gardening A lot of people stick a fake tree in a corner, dust the leaves off every week, and call it indoor gardening, but indoor gardening has grown into much more than that lately. There are also a lot of people that thinks plants belong and should stay inside, but there are many reasons for starting an indoor garden. For instance, plants don't only remove carbon dioxide from the air, they also remove many poisonous toxins and pollutants as well. Indoor gardening will result in beautiful decoration in your house as well as cleaner air. When picking out plants for indoor gardening, make sure the plants are adaptable and will be able to thrive in the conditions and setting in your house. Consider how much time you will be able to spend caring for the plants, how much light your house offers, and also how much money you want to spend on your indoor garden. If you are on a low budget, start with seeds or cuttings. If you have a little more money to dish out you can buy a plant that is already grown. Another thing to consider is if you want a plant that can be displayed all year or just for a season. Herb gardens are a good thing for indoor gardening; they are both attractive and edible. They will grow pretty quick and you won't have to wait a long time to see results. Some popular herbs, especially for cooking, are chives, dill, sage, thyme, and oregano. When indoor gardening, consider the amount of experience you have before choosing a plant. There are some plants that are stronger and harder to kill and therefore better for a novice gardener. Examples are Fatsia, Cyperus, Scandens, Popular Succulents, Coleus, and Bromeliads. Some things, such as the basic rules of maintaining plants, are different in indoor gardening that in a regular outdoor setting. Since plants won't get the sunlight they do outdoors, lighting is essential. You need to know exactly how much light your plants need and pick plants that only need medium to low light, such as ferns or Philodendrons, unless you plan to supply artificial lighting. If you buy a plant already grown, wherever you get it probably has better lighting than your house so you will need to "condition" your plant and gradually reduce the light it receives. Once you get the plant inside, make sure and rotate the plant to encourage upright growth. Just because you are indoor gardening, don't think the plants don't have to have water; they still do. How often you water, once again, depends on what type of plant you have. Make sure the water can drain out of the bottom of the pot and try to use water that is about the same as the temperature of the room. Also pay attention to temperature in your house in order to ensure healthy plants. A 10-15 degree range won't hurt any plants, but rapid changes could cause damage. Indoor gardening is not all that difficult; in fact, it is pretty much the same as outdoor. There are even some advantages to indoor gardening. For example, you won't have to worry as much about bugs and insects bothering your plants. You also won't have to worry about wind or frost reeking havoc on your garden. Indoor Gardening - 2 A lot of people stick a fake tree in a corner, dust the leaves off every week, and call it indoor gardening, but indoor gardening has grown into much more than that lately. There are also a lot of people that thinks plants belong and should stay inside, but there are many reasons for starting an indoor garden. For instance, plants don't only remove carbon dioxide from the air, they also remove many poisonous toxins and pollutants as well. Indoor gardening will result in beautiful decoration in your house as well as cleaner air. When picking out plants for indoor gardening, make sure the plants are adaptable and will be able to thrive in the conditions and setting in your house. Consider how much time you will be able to spend caring for the plants, how much light your house offers, and also how much money you want to spend on your indoor garden. If you are on a low budget, start with seeds or cuttings. If you have a little more money to dish out you can buy a plant that is already grown. Another thing to consider is if you want a plant that can be displayed all year or just for a season. Herb gardens are a good thing for indoor gardening; they are both attractive and edible. They will grow pretty quick and you won't have to wait a long time to see results. Some popular herbs, especially for cooking, are chives, dill, sage, thyme, and oregano. When indoor gardening, consider the amount of experience you have before choosing a plant. There are some plants that are stronger and harder to kill and therefore better for a novice gardener. Examples are Fatsia, Cyperus, Scandens, Popular Succulents, Coleus, and Bromeliads. Some things, such as the basic rules of maintaining plants, are different in indoor gardening that in a regular outdoor setting. Since plants won't get the sunlight they do outdoors, lighting is essential. You need to know exactly how much light your plants need and pick plants that only need medium to low light, such as ferns or Philodendrons, unless you plan to supply artificial lighting. If you buy a plant already grown, wherever you get it probably has better lighting than your house so you will need to "condition" your plant and gradually reduce the light it receives. Once you get the plant inside, make sure and rotate the plant to encourage upright growth. Just because you are indoor gardening, don't think the plants don't have to have water; they still do. How often you water, once again, depends on what type of plant you have. Make sure the water can drain out of the bottom of the pot and try to use water that is about the same as the temperature of the room. Also pay attention to temperature in your house in order to ensure healthy plants. A 10-15 degree range won't hurt any plants, but rapid changes could cause damage. Indoor gardening is not all that difficult; in fact, it is pretty much the same as outdoor. There are even some advantages to indoor gardening. For example, you won't have to worry as much about bugs and insects bothering your plants. You also won't have to worry about wind or frost reeking havoc on your garden. Flower Gardening Flower gardening is becoming more and more popular every day. Flowers can brighten everyone's day, they smell nice, and are a great hobby. Flower gardening is simple, inexpensive, and loads of fun. Flower gardening can be done for yard decoration, simply as a hobby, or even professionally. There are some decisions that have to be made before even flower gardening can be started. You must decide if you want annuals that live for one season and must be replanted every year, or perennials that survive the winter and return again in the summer. When buying and planting, pay attention to what kind of flowers thrive in your climate as well ass the sun requirements. When flower gardening, you must decide what type of look you want before planting. For instance, mixing different heights, colors, and varieties of flowers together in a "wild-plant style" will give your garden a meadow look and can be very charming. If short flowers are planted in the front of your garden and work up to the tallest flowers in the back you will have a "stepping stone style". You can order seeds for flower gardening from catalogues or buy them from a nursery. Most people will go to the nursery and buy actual flowers and then transplant them. After you have prepared your garden area and bought flowers, it is a good idea to lay the flowers out in the bed to make sure you like the arrangement and that they will be spaced properly. One of the easiest processes in flower gardening is the planting/ if you have seeds just sprinkle them around in the flower bed. For planting transplants dig a hole just bigger than the flower, pull the container off, and set the flower in the hole right side up. Cover it with the loose soil and press down firmly, then water. Maintaining a flower garden is even easier than planting one. Although they might make it on their own, a bag of fertilizer applied in the early spring is a good idea. Pinch back any blooms after they start to fade and keep them good and watered. To save yourself work during the next season of flower gardening, rid your garden of all debris and spread out organic nutrients like peat moss or compost. Don't forget to turn over the soil to properly mix in the fertilizer and rake smooth when finished. If you have perennials planted be careful not to disturb their roots in this process. Flower gardening is as easy as 1, 2, and 3: simply decide what to plant; plant it, and water, water, water! Flower gardening is undoubtedly gaining in popularity and gives anyone excellent reason to spend some outdoors and test out their green thumb. Fall Gardening Many gardeners do not even consider fall gardening because of the winter frosts that might make an early appearance. On the contrary, fall gardening will result in excellent vegetables and will extend crops long after spring planted plants are finished. Vegetables produced from fall gardening are sometimes sweeter and milder than those grow in the summer and offer a brand new taste to the same old veggies. What you choose to grow during you fall gardening will depend on your available space and what you like to eat, just like spring plants. Even the crops that enjoy the heat, such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes, okra, and peppers, will produce until frosts hit, which can be pretty late in the year in southern areas. However, there are some plants that will quit towards the end of summer like snap-beans, summer squash, and cucumbers. If these vegetables are planted around the middle of the summer they can be harvested until the first frosts as well. Hardy, tough vegetables will grow until the temperature is as low as 20 degrees, but those that aren't as strong will only be able to grow through light frosts. Remember that if you have root and tuber plants and the tops are killed by a freeze the edible part can be saved if a large amount of mulch is used. When fall gardening, make sure and pick the vegetables with the shortest growing season so they can be full grown and harvested before the frost arrives. Most seed packages will be labeled "early season", or you can find the seeds boasting the fewest days to maturity. You may want to go after your seeds for fall gardening in spring or early summer; they are usually not kept in stock towards the end of summer. If they are stored in a cool and dry location they will keep until you are ready to plant. In order to know exactly when the best time to start fall gardening, you must know about when the first hard frost will hit your area. One of the best ways to tell this is by a Farmer's Almanac. They will give you exact dates and are rarely wrong. You will also need to know exactly how long it is going to take your plants to mature. To get your soil ready for fall gardening you must first remove any leftover spring/summer crops and weeds. Crops leftover from the last season can end up spreading bacteria and disease if left in the garden. Spread a couple of inches of compost or mulch over the garden area to increase the nutrients, however, if spring plants were fertilized heavily it may not need much, if any. Till the top layer of soil, wet it down, and let it set for about 12-24 hours. Once this has been done, you are ready to start planting. Many gardeners will run from fall gardening so they don't have to deal with frosts, but if tough, sturdy vegetables are planted they can withstand a few frosts and give you some wonderful tasting produce. Fall gardening gives you the chance to enjoy your vegetable garden for at least a little bit more time. Gardening Catalogs Gardening catalogues are an excellent way for gardeners to purchase anything their heart desires or anything their garden requires without ever leaving their home. Gardening catalogues offer a wider variety at a cheaper cost with less hassle involved. You can order anything you want or need and have it delivered right to your door, ready for use. Gardening catalogues are a treasure trove of information for both beginner and experienced gardeners. They will give detailed descriptions about all plant types available for purchase, their growing and blooming seasons, and the maintenance that is involved. They will tell readers exactly what nutrients each plant needs and the proper times to administer them. Catalogues even give tips and hints on things like how to control weeds and/or diseases that may infect your plants. They give step-by-step planting instructions, such as how much sunlight will be needed, and what season are the best planting times. Keeping that in mind, most catalogues will wait and ship these goods so that you receive them during the proper planting time according to what zone you live in. Gardening catalogues also have all of the equipment you could possibly need for any type of gardening. If you have a hydroponics garden you can order a timed water pump or artificial lighting. You can order pruning shears for shrubs or a gas operated tiller to break up your dirt. Catalogues will give you a large selection of gloves, making it possible to find a pair that is operational and fashionable. Other tools that can be purchased include, but are not limited to, hoes, rakes, spades, shovels, water hoses, and sprinklers. Gardening catalogues provide gardeners with a wider selection of seeds and plant types than can be found anywhere else. The biggest plus about catalogues is everything is offered to you at once. You can look through what is available and pick and choose what you wish to plant based on the requirements, such as the plants maintenance, time, and climate needs. A gardening catalogue gives you the luxury of viewing every plant type all at once, making it much easier to make a choice. Gardening catalogues, above all else, are extremely convenient. If you do not live near a nursery or some type of gardening store, it is difficult to find all of the things you need to start and keep a healthy garden. Let's face it; Wal-Mart does not have everything you need for a garden. Gardening catalogues give you more options and allow you to view everything available at a single setting. Whether you are in the market for seeds or equipment, a gardening catalogue is the only way to go.
Gardening Books Gardening books come in all different shapes and sizes and offer more information on gardening than can be found anywhere else. Anything anyone ever wanted to know about gardening can be found in a gardening book. Gardening books are not expensive, and will end up being worth much more than you will pay for one. Not only can gardening books be used for personal use, they are also an excellent gift for a gardening friend. For the beginner, gardening books are almost a necessity in starting a garden. Books will give step-by-step instructions and easy to understand directions on how to plant a garden, from breaking up the dirt to how much water your plants need. They will give all of the necessary details about every type of plant, such as how much light they need to survive, how often they need to be watered, how much nutrients must be added to the soil, and any other little quirks that plants have. Gardening books are very informational and range anywhere from just a pamphlet size book with a few pages to a novel size book with hundreds of pages. The information provided is top notch and a lot of it cannot be found anywhere else. Books provide hints and tips on how to make your plants healthier, how to keep your garden free of weeds, and how to prevent against and fight diseases. Often times gardening books will give readers ideas they had never thought of before. For example, there are hundreds of vegetables and herbs out there that many people would never think of growing in their backyard, but would be very good to grow in your own personal garden. There are also millions of flowers many people don't think about but that are very beautiful. There are hundreds of people that would probably trade their rose bush for an exotic flower, and with a gardening book they could read about what types of flowers are available and will grow in their area. Whether you enjoy gardening or not, gardening books are wonderful gifts if you have a gardening friend. It is personalized and you can give a great gift that isn't that expensive. You could even give it to someone who doesn't garden. Who knows, maybe they will be interested and decide to plant a garden. Gardening books are excellent for any type of gardener at any level. No matter how much gardening knowledge and experience you have, I guarantee you there is a gardening book somewhere that has something in it you don't know. Gardening books can be used no matter what you grow: shrubs, flowers, vegetables, fruits, and trees, even those of you who grow weeds! Gardening Gifts Gardening has become one of the most popular hobbies, and you probably know a gardener or two that would love a gardening gift for their upcoming special occasion. There are hundreds of gardening gifts to buy for both the beginner and expert gardener, and the great thing about gardening gifts is they can be bought just about anywhere: online, nursery, feed store, farmer's market, even your local Wal-Mart or grocery store. If buying a gardening gift for a beginner, an instructional or informational book is always a good idea. Books like this will give tips on how to eliminate gardening nightmares like disease, insects, and weeds. They will tell gardeners which kind of plants thrive in different climates, as well as how much sun, water, and nutrients various types of plants require. Books like this can be purchased at nurseries, online, or at your local bookstore. If your gardening friend is a "computer nerd", a gardening information CD might be a better gardening gift for them than a book. Whether giving to a novice or expert professional, a plant is always a great gardening gift. Whether buying the traditional gift, like a poinsettia at Christmas, or just some random plant random, like moss, a plant is sure to be greatly appreciated and enjoyed. Another idea is to buy seeds or just a bulb for someone to transplant. Giving a perennial would be a gift that keeps on giving. Theme gardening gifts using plants can also be loads of fun. An herb can come with an attached card including a recipe using that herb. A plant that produces nectar and will attract butterflies can be coupled with a book on butterflies. Possibly the best and most common, gardening gift is gardening tools. This can be anything as simple as a hoe or rake to something more high-tech like an electric blower or vacuum. These are good for removing debris, leaves, or grass from driveways and side walks. Other favorites are gloves, hedge trimmers, and sprinklers. An excellent gardening gift that is rarely though of is a calendar. Calendar's can serve dual purposes; it can be decorative with beautiful gardening themes, or can be used to keep up with the moon phase that affects most all plants. A farmer's almanac is also a good idea, it is full of information regarding the weather, moon phase, when to plant, when to prune; it is the best guidebook to gardening there is. The ultimate gardening gift is for any gardener is a gift certificate to a nursery or store where gardening tools or plants are available. This way, your friend can get any tool they do not have in their collection, or any kind of plant their heart desires. Gift giving is a difficult task at best, but if you have gardeners for friends, a gardening gift is an easy way out and makes your gift buying simple. Gardening gifts can range anywhere from tools to actual plants and with gardening gifts you have a wide range of costs to choose from. You can give a cheap pair of gloves or an expensive power tiller. So the next time you go gift shopping, thing about a gardening gift for your friends with green thumbs! GARDENING'S MOST VALUABLE ADVICE Many people may not be aware that gardening can actually harm the environment. A large amount of carbon dioxide can be released through tilling the soil. This contributes to global warming. When you cultivating and compacting the soil, destroys good fungi. Fertilizers like nitrogen and manure often leach out of the soil and pollute the water you drink. Global warming Did you know that the earth's soil gives out carbon dioxide in the atmosphere 10 times more than all human activity? This comes from the pill bugs, microbes, fungi and worms when they breathe, digest food and then die. Although in the past plants have been capable of absorbing carbon dioxide caused by small-scale tillages, this isn't the case nowadays. The increase of the globe's average temperature is because of the carbon dioxide the soil emits when tilled. The good news is that tilling can be minimized by mulching or sheet composting. Good Fungi In untilled soil, there is beneficial fungi known as the vesicular-arbuscular-mycorrhizae or VAM for short. VAM actually forms a symbiotic relationship with plants. Their filaments increase root hairs and provide nutrients to the plant. They give out zinc, copper, potassium and phosphorus. Plants provide carbohydrates for the fungi in return. It is possible to grow a garden without tilling the sooiil at all by mulching heavily until the soil is soft and friable. Surplus Nitrogen Many gardeners waste nitrogen and manures; farmers do otherwise. Farmers only need a quarter to a third of nitrogen to mix with an inch of compost, horse, or cow manure. Kate Burroughs of Sebastopol California, uses the same rule for her home-grown lettuce and sweet corns. When it comes to broccoli and pear trees, farmers only need a small amount. Notice that gardeners apply larger amounts of compost and manure than farmers. Obviously, they are not only wasting their fertilizer but also their money. The best gardening advice that can be given to those concerned is to do all things with moderation. Keep in mind that too little and too much of something is not healthy. This is the most valuable advice one can have in gardening. Modern Gardening Equipment The types and quality of equipment you use to take care of your plants not only have an effect on your plants' health, but your own as well. Defective tools could cause damage to your plants, but it is worse if they are so uncomfortable to use that they give you blisters or a bad back. To avoid this, look for the gardening equipment that will do the best job for your type of gardening. It must have the right amount of power to be energy efficient while also being able to do the job without causing you any more strain than necessary. Here is a review of gardening equipment from the gardening experts themselves. 1. Garden Shredders JCB SS2400 received five stars out of five from the gardening equipment reviewers from recommendedbuys.co.uk. It has a 2400 watt motor and comes with a silent gear crushing system. It is one promising tool to improve and hasten your shredding activity. Ryobi ESR -- 2240 Electric Shredder is an easy to assemble garden shredder suitable for prunings up to 40mm. It comes with built-in wheels and a plunger for increased portability. 2. Hedge Trimmer Bosch AHS42-16 Electric Hedge Trimmer also received five stars out of five rating from the gardening equipment reviewers from recommendedbuys.co.uk. It has 420 watt output. 3. Cultivators Mantis Tiller Cultivator comes with patented tines to aid in cutting smoothly through hard, compacted soil. It is perfect for preparing vegetable plots, flower beds, etc. It also helps in thatching, aerating and cleaning moss. It also comes with a free border edger. 4. Lawnmowers Brill 78370 Luxus Push Reel Mower rated 4.5 out of 5 stars Tools-hills.com customers. It has a large top cover that protects shrubs and overhanging flowers. American Lawnmower Deluxe Light Reel Mower 1815-16 received 4.5 stars out of 5 from Epinions.com buyers. A push-mower, it does not cause pollution, but is not suitable for tall grass. 5. Leaf Sweeper Agri-fab 26 Push Leaf Sweeper is for smaller lawns and is available with 200 litre collector. It also comes with an infinite height adjustment feature. 3 Tips in Landscaping your Garden Landscaping is usually a fairly big task, consuming much time and energy. But before you hire that professional, here are some tips that could save both time and money. 1. Spend some time thinking about exactly how you want the final design to be. You need to take account of the style and function of your landscape. Do you want to include an area for entertaining? A barbeque? Is there to be an area for children to play, a fishpond or a swimming pool? An idea of the plants you want to be there will also help. Focus on the area where you spend most of your time. That's a good place to start. 2. Think twice before hiring a pro. An independent designer might cost you hundreds of dollars when you may be able to access free plans on the internet or at a nursery. But if you have an awkward block such as very steep ground, a pro might give you the expertise to save costly mistakes. 3. The style of your home must be taken into account. If you have a rural cottage, formal gardens surrounding it will look out of place. Think also about your lifestyle. Do you want to spend hours caring for many beds of annuals or pruning beds of roses? If so, go ahead and plant them, but if you'd rather spend your free time at the beach, then go for an easy-care garden and landscape. Here are the various landscape styles you can choose for your own garden: a. Formal. This style uses lots of straight lines and perfect geometrical shapes. Orderly arrangement of plants instead of random positioning is employed. Close arrangement and pruning is seen on many landscaped gardens with this style. b. Informal. This kind of landscaping workds well with cosy cottages. Beds with curved edges instead of straight lines and random placement of plants suit this landscape style. c. English Garden. This style emphasizes the harmony between the house's architecture and the garden. d. Formal/Informal Garden. This style often comes with a brick walkway that exudes formality. This walkway leads to the rear with a circle of plants. The arrangement of plants resembles the English garden style but it has no formal borders. e. Oriental. It is often the kind of garden found in small backyards. It uses rocks, evergreens and water. A wide variety of plants create several interesting angles with this style. f. Woodland. This landscaping suits a house that has a wooded backyard and sloping ground. Seven Tips For Organic Gardening Organic gardening is the way of growing vegetables and fruits with the use of things only found in nature. Why would one want to indulge in organic gardening? 1. One can easily make compost from garden and kitchen waste. Though this is a bit more time-consuming than buying prepared chemical pesticides and fertilizers, it certainly helps to put garbage to good use and so saves the environment. 2. Organic farming does not use chemicals that may have an adverse affect on your health. This is especially important when growing vegetables. Chemical companies tell us that the chemicals we use are safe if used according to direction, but research shows that even tiny amounts of poisons absorbed through the skin can cause such things as cancer, especially in children. On the average, a child ingests four to five times more cancer-causing pesticides from foods than an adult. This can lead to various diseases later on in the child's life. With organic gardening, these incidents are lessened. Remember, pesticides contain toxins that have only one purpose -- to kill living things. 3. Less harm to the environment. Poisons are often washed into our waterways, causing death to the native fish and polluting their habitat. 4. Organic farming practices help prevent the loss of topsoil through erosion. The Soil Conservation Service says that an estimated 30 -- 32 billion tons of soil erodes from United States farmlands every year. 5. Cost savings. One does not need to buy costly chemical fertilizers and pesticides with organic gardening. Many organic recipes for the control of pest and disease come straight from the kitchen cupboard. Sometimes other plants can be grown as companions to the main crop. An example of this is the marigold, which helps to repel aphids from vegetables. Mixing 1 tablespoon of liquid dishwashing soap and 1 cup of cooking oil can make a cheap garden pest spray. Put 3 tablespoons of this mixture in 1 quart of water and spray on plants. 6. A simple mulch of pine needles will help to suppress the growth of weeds as well as keeping the moisture in. 7. Organic gardening practices help to keep the environment safe for future generations. More About Butterfly Gardening When creating a butterfly garden, the possibilities of what to include in your butterfly garden design are endless. Below are some suggestions to help get you started. They are designed to spark the creative process of your mind and get you started on your way to creating a lovely butterfly garden. Before you even begin your butterfly garden, find out which species of butterflies are in your area. Consider taking an exploratory hike around your location with a butterfly identification book. This may take a little extra time and effort, but the results will be worth it. After you have compiled your list of local butterfly species, be sure to write down in your butterfly garden plan what these particular species of butterflies use for nectar and food plants. Be sure that your garden is in a location that provides at least six hours of sunlight per day. Butterflies are cold-blooded creatures and therefore do better where they are warm and sheltered. Wind can be a butterfly's worst enemy so be sure to have plenty of wind protection in your design. You can plant tall shrubs and other plants in order to create a wind break, but a location that avoids heavy winds is even better. The best of all would be a butterfly garden placed on the sunny side of your home with windbreaks on both the west and east sides, or wherever the prevailing wonds come from in your area. Try and locate your garden close to a window so you can view the butterflies from indoors. Provide seating outside too. If possible, you could excavate an area and build a stone wall around it. This would create the ideal windbreak for your butterflies. Mmake gravel pathways around your garden to save walking in mud. There are many creative ways for constructing a butterfly garden. Take your time to design a garden that you will enjoy and be proud of. Healthy hands are the Gardener's Best Tools Here are the major reasons why one should consider getting a pair of trusty gardening gloves: Gloves protect your hands from blisters, thorns and cuts while doing rough work like digging or pruning in the garden. Investing in one or more pairs of quality gloves is a good decision. Here are some tips on how to choose the pair that will suit you best: 1. Look for quality leather gloves with a cloth back; this will let the gloves breathe and keep your hands dry, cool and comfortable. 2. If mud bothers you, select rubber gloves with cotton lining. 3. When spraying pesticides or chemicals choose gloves that are made from neoprene. Gloves made from latex or any type of plastic may not offer the best protection. 4. When pruning roses, use gloves that reach up to the arms. 5. If you usually operate large garden machinery, buy gloves in brown instead of red as the latter may dye your hands. 6. Light cotton or even fingerless gloves may be useful for transplanting seedlings. They will allow more dexterity and so help to prevent the tiny roots from being crushed. 7. And of course, make sure that the gloves you buy actually fit your hands. If you have small hands, try the children's gardening section. there's nothing worse than trying to garden is gloves that are too big. Your gloves must be comfortable as well as give protection to best serve your gardening needs. Hydroponics Gardening Hydroponics was derived from the Greek word hydro, which means "water" and ponos, which means "labor or water-working". Hydroponics gardening involves growing plants with their roots in other nutrient solutions and without soil. Hydroponics gardening is as simple as ordinary gardening. Both of them necessitate sufficient light, water, temperature, light, and humidity. But with hydroponics, no soil is used. Instead a soil substitute holds the roots while nutrients are carried by the water. Indoor hydroponic gardening is not that hard and plants respond well to this method of growing. This is one of the major considerations in hydroponics gardening since it sustains the plants. One has to make sure that this nutrient solution maintains a pH level of 5 to 6 after dilution. In hydroponics gardening, the plants should be watered more than three times a day. this is usually done using a pump and timer. If your hydroponics garden is located indoors, the most suitable temperature is between 71 to 76 degrees Fahrenheit. Of course, this temperature may change depending on the different types of plant you are working on, e.g. tropical plants. Place your plants somewhere they can receive ample amount of light. Otherwise artificial light must be used. High pressure Sodium lights or bulbs are a suitable substitute for natural light. Humidity is good. When the room's temperature rises, the air will be able to hold the sufficient amount of moisture your plants will need. A hydroponics system can be fully automated. Since it is water-based, the gardener has no soil to dig or weeds to pull. Also, the water can be re-used to prevent wastage. With hydroponics, an excellent yield of quality plants can be easily achieved. Home hydroponics systems and DIY kits are are readily available in most hardware stores. Care of the Flower Garden Knowing how to care for your flower garden can make a big difference in the look and over-all health of your plants. Here are some simple hints to make your garden bloom with health 1. The essentials must always be given major consideration. Your flower garden must have an adequate supply of water, sunlight, and fertile soil. Any lack of these basic necessities will greatly affect the health of plants. Water the flower garden more frequently during dry spells. When planting bulbs, make sure they go at the correct depth. When planting out shrubs and perennials, make sure that you don't heap soil or mulch up around the stem. If you do, water will drain off instead of sinking in, and the stem could develop rot through overheating. 2. Mix and match perennials with annuals. Perennial flower bulbs need not to be replanted since they grow and bloom for several years while annuals grow and bloom for only one season. Mixing a few perennials with annuals ensures that you will always have blooms coming on. 3. Deadhead to encourage more blossoms. Deadheading is simply snipping off the flower head after it wilts. This will make the plant produce more flowers. Just make sure that you don't discard the deadhead on the garden or mildew and other plant disease will attack your plants. 4. Know the good from the bad bugs. Most garden insects do more good than harm. Butterflies, beetles and bees are known pollinators. They fertilize plants through unintentional transfer of pollen from one plant to another. 80% of flowering plants rely on insects for survival. Sowbugs and dung beetles together with fungi, bacteria and other microorganisms are necessary to help in the decomposition of dead plant material, thus enriching the soil and making more nutrients available to growing plants. Other insects like lacewings and dragonflies are natural predators of those insects that do the real damage, like aphis. An occasional application of liquid fertilizer when plants are flowering will keep them blooming for longer. Always prune any dead or damaged branches. Fuchsias are particularly prone to snapping when you brush against them. The broken branch can be potted up to give you a new plant, so it won't be wasted. BENEFITS OF GARDENING FOR KIDS Apparently, we can see how nature is treated these days. It is a sad thing to know that people do not pay attention so much anymore to the environmental problems. What can we do about this? It's as simple as starting with the children. It is good to see the children's involvement with environment-friendly activities. One such nature-loving activity that children could easily get their hands on is gardening. Why should you consider gardening for your children? Here are the benefits that gardening could easily provide the children with: 1. Science In planting, children are indirectly taught the wonders of science like the plant's life cycle and how human's intervention can break or make the environment. They can have a first hand experience on the miracle of life through a seed. This would definitely be a new and enjoyable experience for the kids. 2. Life Watching a seed grow into a tree is just as wondrous as the conception to birth and growth of a child. In time, kids will learn to love their plants and appreciate the life in them. Gardening could actually help simulate how life should be treated -- it should be with care. The necessities to live will be emphasized to kids with the help of gardening -- water, sunlight, air, soil. Those necessities could easily be corresponded to human necessities, i.e., water, shelter, air, food. By simply weeding out, one could educate how bad influences should be avoided to be able to live life smoothly. 3. Relaxation Studies show that gardening can reduce stress because of its calming effect. This is applicable to any age group. More so, it stimulates all the five senses. Believe it or not, gardening may be used as therapy to children who have been abused or those who are members of broken homes. It helps build one's self-esteem. 4. Quality Time with the Family You can forget about your stressful work life for a while be soothed by the lovely ambience in the garden. You can play and spend quality time with your children. You can talk while watering the plants or you can work quietly beside each other. The bottom line is, always do what you have to do, together with your kids. You might discover a lot of new things about your child while mingling with them in your garden. Let kids become aware of their environment's needs. And one way to jumpstart that environmental education may be through gardening. It's hitting two birds with one stone -- teach them to respect life while you bond with them. Butterfly Gardening What is butterfly gardening? Simply put butterfly gardening is the art of growing flowers and plants that will attract these colorful and dainty creatures to your garden. Delight your family and visitors with beautiful butterflies, but be sure to create a safe habitat for them. If you own cats rethink your plans, because it would be a shame to attract these lovely insects to their death. The design your butterfly garden is a matter of personal preference. Typical points to consider are the size of your garden and the types of flowers and plants you want to grow. Pick a style of garden that appeals to you, but ensure it also contains the plants and flowers that appeal to the butterflies you wish to attract. It is important to find out which plants and flowers will attract the species of butterflies. that live in your area. This information can be found at the local library To create the kind of environment that they find attractive, you will also need water of some kind. A birdbath will look attractive and keep the butterflies up off the ground, away from stray cats or mischievous puppies. A shallow dish on a post or hung in a tree will do just as well. When planting your butterfly garden be careful how you coordinate the colors you choose for your flowerbeds. Although butterflies do not care about your choice of color, you don't want your garden to be a hodgepodge of unrelated colors and textures. Butterflies are attracted to those flowers that have nectar rather than pollen, like honeysuckle, milkweed, summer lilac, Valerian, daisies, Purple Coneflower, Yellow Sage, day lilies and lavender. Some people find it helpful to draw and color a layout of their butterfly gardening plan to see what the finished product would look like. Keep in mind that warm colors like red and orange are flashy and showy. These colors have a greater impact against a strong green background. Cool colors such as blue and purple are soothing and toned down and would work better with a white contrast to create the look of freshness and brightness. In Search of the Best Gardening Tools Different kinds of gardens require different kinds of garden tools. Hardware stores mostly cater for a wide range of tools, but there are shops that specialize in the more expensive kind of garden tool that shouts quality. Wherever you decide to shop, here are a few pointers to advise you. Do you have small garden or a large one? A small garden will not require the same large equipment that would be of use in an extensive one. A ride-on mower is unnecessary if you only have a small strip of lawn. Another point to consider is who does most of the gardening? Some tools are too heavy for use by women. When you buy secateurs make sure the blade always stays sharp to avoid damaging the plant. Look for models that have blades that can be sharpened or replaced, models with tension control and with sizes that best fit your hands. Secateurs usually cost around $50 -- $130. Hedge trimmers or shears are handy -- but only if you have a hedge, or plan on growing one. Some hedge trimmers have curved blades to stop branches from sliding out when cut. Forks are used for turning and aerating compost and breaking up lumps of soil. The cheaper ones are often not strong enough for heavy soil, so go for sturdiness instead of price. Forks usually cost around $30 -- $100. A shovel has a scoop blade and is best used to move around dirt and garden soil. A spade has a flat blade great for cutting edges, digging and dividing plants. The edge of a spade should be kept sharpened for clean and efficient cutting will cause the least amount of damage to plants. These are a basic garden necessity and usually cost from $30 -- $50. A pruning saw is used for pruning trees and larger shrubs, while secateurs are for plants like roses. Pruning saws have a narrow curved blade that fits between stems or branches and easily and cuts them as you pull the saw backwards. They are approximately $27- $55. A chipping hoe is a handy tool for getting rid of small weeds. The Dutch or push-hoe is slightly more user-friendly as the action required to use it does not jar the neck and shoulder quite so much. A rake is also a basic requirement for the garden. The strong rake with the flat head and sharp metal prongs is used for smoothing a garden bed and getting out the last of the bumps and weeds. The plastic rake is used to gather leaves and grass clippings only. Gardening tools don't have to be expensive. Flea markets and garage sales can be excellent places to pick up great tool bargain. Choosing the Best Plants for your Garden Many times we buy plants on impulse then find there is nowhere in the garden that really suits them. Before buying plants carefully examine your garden to see how much sun and shade it gets, whether the soil is well drained or waterlogged and whether your aspect is sheltered or windswept. You'll then be equipped to go and buy the best plants for your situation; shade-loving plants for the sheltered areas, sun-lovers for the warm spots, drought-resistant plants for the parched areas which may be either sunny or shaded, and swamp plants for the poorly-drained parts. But wait! Test your soil first, to determine the pH level of your soil and what kind of nutrients you need to add, if any. Is the soil acid or alkaline? Most plants prefer soil that is slightly acidic, but there are some that must have alkaline soil to grow. You can alter the soil's pH level, but it's much easier to simply plant for the soil you have. Now you are ready to plant. Well -- almost. Will you plant in groups or singly? If you buy 'one of everything' your garden may seem rather spotty. Group plantings are organised, harmonious and you can vary the color for interest. Before planting out, place your chosen plants around the garden bed in their pots to see how they will look. Re-arrange them until you are satisfied. Grouping plants in sets of threes or fives usually looks better than planting in groups of even numbers. Be sure that you have an interesting combination of colors and textures of plants. Tall plants should go to the back, or the centre if your garden will be viewed equally from all sides. Try to keep your plants away from trees. The roots of trees are fiercely competitive and will steal all the nutrients and moisture meant for your flowers. The right color scheme is one way to maintain the harmony in your garden. Imagine the color of the flowers when they are in bloom. Some colors may clash with others, but can still be planted side-by-side if they have a different blooming season. Foliage color is also important. Many flower plants have silver, grey or purplish foliage that is just as attractive as the flower. This means that they are still attractive well past the blooming season and so have added value. EASY TIPS ON HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR PLANTS Many people worry a lot when it comes to caring for their plants. When talking about house plants, there is no need to worry. There are just a few things you need to consider. 1. Watering Overwatering kills most houseplants. Looks can be deceptive, so to see if your soil is dry enough to water, try the finger test. Insert your index finger up to the first joint into the soil. If the soil is damp, don't water it. 2. Feeding Foliage plants usually have high nitrogen needs, while flowering plants, K2O is needed. Slow release fertilizers can be mixed with the compost. However, certain plants like cacti and orchids need special fertilizer. Feed plants during their most active growth period. 3. Lighting Plants like Sanseveria and Aspidistra require no sun. They can be placed away from a window. Spider plants need semi-shade. You can put plants like these near a window that does or does not get sunlight. Check the label to see what your plant needs. 4. Temperature Houseplants can survive in cool or warm temperatures, but drastic fluctuations of temperature may not be good for them. One thing that most plants cannot survive is gas heating. If you have a plant that likes warm conditions, don't put it near an air conditioner in the summer. 5. Humidity Some houseplants require a humid environment. One tip to maximize humidity is to put the pot inside a larger pot and fill in the gaps with stones or compost to keep in the moisture. Grouping plants together often creates a microclimate that they will benefit from. If you want, you can spray them with water once or twice a day depending on the temperature. 6. Re-potting Some plants require re-potting for optimum growth but there are others that resent having their roots disturbed. Or their roots system may be small enough that they don't require re-potting. One way to check if your plant needs re-potting is to turn it upside down. Tap the pot to release the plant and check its roots. If roots are all you see, then re-pot. Sometimes the roots will come out of the pot. You should either cut them off or re-pot the plant. You just need to have a little care for your plants and in turn, you'll reap the benefits. Indoor plants not only add to the beauty of your decor, but also give much pleasure to the indoor gardener. Container Gardening Tips for Newbies Container gardens can create a natural sanctuary in a busy city street, along rooftops or on balconies. You can easily accentuate the welcoming look of a deck or patio with colourful pots of annuals, or fill your window boxes with beautiful shrub roses or any number of small perennials. Whether you arrange your pots in a group for a massed effect or highlight a smaller space with a single specimen, you'll be delighted with this simple way to create a garden. Container gardening enables you to easily vary your color scheme, and as each plant finishes flowering, it can be replaced with another. Whether you choose to harmonize or contrast your colors, make sure there is variety in the height of each plant. Think also of the shape and texture of the leaves. Tall strap-like leaves will give a good vertical background to low-growing, wide-leaved plants. Choose plants with a long flowering season, or have others of a different type ready to replace them as they finish blooming. Experiment with creative containers. You might have an old porcelain bowl or copper urn you can use, or perhaps you'd rather make something really modern with timber or tiles. If you decide to buy your containers ready-made, terracotta pots look wonderful, but tend to absorb water. You don't want your plants to dry out, so paint the interior of these pots with a special sealer available from hardware stores. Cheaper plastic pots can also be painted on the outside with water-based paints for good effect. When purchasing pots, don't forget to buy matching saucers to catch the drips. This will save cement floors getting stained, or timber floors rotting. Always use a good quality potting mix in your containers. This will ensure the best performance possible from your plants. If you have steps leading up to your front door, an attractive pot plant on each one will delight your visitors. Indoors, pots of plants or flowers help to create a cosy and welcoming atmosphere. Decide ahead of time where you want your pots to be positioned, then buy plants that suit the situation. There is no point buying sun lovers for a shady position, for they will not do well. Some plants also have really large roots, so they are best kept for the open garden. If you have plenty of space at your front door, a group of potted plants off to one side will be more visually appealing than two similar plants placed each side. Unless they are spectacular, they will look rather boring. Group the pots in odd numbers rather than even, and vary the height and type. To tie the group together, add large rocks that are similar in appearance and just slightly different in size. Three or five pots of the same type and color, but in different sizes also looks affective. With a creative mind and some determination, you will soon have a container garden that will be the envy of friends and strangers alike. Vegetable Gardening Tips With the costs of living rising all the time, it may be possible to save money and increase your family's health at the same time by growing vegetables in your backyard. It's a good idea to choose your favourite vegetables to grow and plan beds for early, middle of the season and late varieties. Most vegetables require at least 6 hours of sunlight per day, some need 8. Some quick growers like lettuce and radish can be grown between the rows of plants that take longer to mature, like beet or corn, thus making full use of the area available. Throughout dry periods, vegetable gardens need extra watering. Most vegetables benefit from an inch or more of water each week, especially when they are fruiting. During the growing season watch for insect pests. If you discover a bug problem early it will be much easier, but be careful to not use pesticides once the vegetable are close to being picked unless it becomes an absolute necessity. Organic gardening is one healthy and environment-friendly option. Once you have reaped your crop, put the vegetable waste into your compost pile so that it can be recycled for next spring. It is important to protect your vegetable garden from wild animals looking for a tasty treat. Make sure your garden is surrounded by a fence that will keep out dogs, rabbits, and other animals. The harm done by wandering animals during one season can equal the cost of a fence. A fence also can serve as a frame for peas, beans, tomatoes, and other crops that need support. Protection is needed in order for your vegetable garden to yield a bountiful harvest. Hard work will pay dividends if necessary precautions have been made. Safe Pest Control Tips Pest control must be done with utmost consideration to safety; safety in terms of the plants, animals and humans. This holds especially true for those with vegetable and organic gardens. The main purpose of growing vegetables organically will be defeated if they become tainted with pest control chemicals. Here are a few long-term maintenance tips to make pest control less damaging and more environmentally friendly. 1. Use the physical pest control process. This may be accomplished through picking grubs off by hand, creating barriers and traps and plugging holes. Snails can be found hiding in damp places under rocks and towrds the base of those plants with straplike foliage. 2. Apply biological pest control. Encourage predatory insects such as green lacewings and dragonflies to feed on aphids and other pests that attack your plants. You can do this by placing a shallow bowl of water in the garden. Dragonflies especially will hover around water. Bacterial insecticides such as B. thuringiensis could also be used against caterpillars. 3. Only as a last resort should we turn to chemical pest control. Organic pest control methods can be successful and the ingredients for many of the recipes can be found in the kitchen cupboards. If chemical sprays are really necessary, try and find the least-toxic. These include insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils, dehydrating dusts, etc. 4. Consider the use of safer pest control substitutes. Recipes for alternative pest control include the following: Against Green Aphids and Mites -- Mix 1 tablespoon of liquid soap and a cup of vegetable oil. Dilute a teaspoon of this solution in a cup of water and spray on aphids and mites. Against Cockroaches -- Dusts of boric acid can be applied to cracks or entry points of these insects. Bay leaves on pantry shelves could also help in warding off these critters. Make sure that the chemicals you use are made specifically for the insects you are targeting. Dealing with Rose Diseases To make sure that your prized roses remain in the best of health, simply follow these tips. 1. Black Spots on Leaves This disease is commonly known as black spot. Black spots appear as circular with fringed edges on leaves. They cause the leaves to yellow. Remove the infected foliage and pick up any fallen leaves around the rose. Artificial sprays may be used to prevent or treat this kind of rose disease. 2. Stunted or malformed young canes Known as powdery mildew, this is a fungal disease that covers leaves, stems and buds with wind spread white powder. It makes the leaves curl and turn purple. Spray with Funginex or Benomyl to treat this fungal disease. 3. Blistered underside of leaves Known as rust, this disease is characterized by orange-red blisters that turn black in fall. It can survive the winter and will then attack new sprouts in the spring. Collect and discard leaves that are infected in fall. a Benomyl or Funginex spray every 7-10 days may help. 4. Malformed or stunted leaves and flowers This is caused by spider mites. They are tiny yellow, red or green spiders found on the underside of leaves where they suck juices. The application of Orthene or Isotox may help in treating this infestation. 5. Weak and mottled leaves with tiny white webs under them This is caused by aphids. They are small soft-bodied insects that usually brown, green or red. Often clustered under leaves and flower buds, they suck plant juices from tender buds. Malathion or diazinon spray may help roses to survive these bugs. 6. Flowers that don't open or are deformed when they open. Thrips could be the reason behind this problem. They are slender, brown-yellow bugs with fringed wings that also suck juices from flower buds. Cut and discard the infested flowers. Orthene and malathion may also treat this problem. Remember that roses are hungry feeders that require much fertilizer to become healthy bushes. Seven Gardening By the Yard Tips If you have a tiny yard and would like a simple but well-maintained garden, you only need two things -- determination and know-how. Here are some tips on how to keep your garden by the yard looking spruced up and glamorous. 1. Deadheading Keep your border free from wilted flowers and dried leaves. Deadheading or removing dead flower heads will encourage the plants to produce more blooms for longer. Many perennials such as geraniums and dahlias, and some annuals benefit from having spent blooms removed 3. Pinch out tops. Certain plants -- especially foliage plants like Coleus -- respond with a spurt of growth when their tops are pinched out. Pinching out makes the plant much bushier and so more blooms are produced. Fuchsias are prone to becoming leggy unless they are pinched out. 4. Fertilize lightly. A minimal amount of fertilizer will further boost the growth of your vegetation. If you water your yard frequently, you have to fertilize it more regularly because of nutrient depletion. A fortnightly application of liquid fertilizer is sometimes more beneficial than granules as it is more readily absorbed by the leaves. Container plants will be considerably healthier with a half-strength solution of liquid fertilizer applied regularly. 5. Weed out. This is one of the best ways to preserve the beauty of your garden by the yard. Remember, weeds compete with your plants for both nutrients and moisture. If the weeds are not close to seeding, leave them on the bed to rot down for mulch. If you must use a weedicide, try and get a wick applicator, rather than a spray. This will protect you plants from spray-drift. 6. Water them well One good tip when it comes to watering your garden by the yard is to give it a thorough soaking once a week, making sure there is no run-off to cause erosion. Deep watering will encourage the growth of deeper roots that will be able to withstand dry spells weatherwise 7. Say no to chemicals Chemicals are dangerous to humans and often kill the natural predators of the pest in your garden, so avoid them if possible. There are many organic alternatives that work almost as well. With these simple tips, your garden by the yard will soon be the envy of your neighbors. Gardening Magazines -- Some of the Best Various gardening magazines are available in the market. But would you like to know which stands out from the rest? Here are a selection of gardening magazines that anyone in love with his or her garden will appreciate. COUNTRY GARDENS often showcases the more unusual gardens around the country. It introduces wonderful new ways to enjoy garden sights and scents. It helps the avid gardener to create an eye-pleasing, fragrance -- filled country garden. This magazine has very useful advice on setting up and caring for your garden. Every issue contains profiles of fascinating people and their gardens, inspiration for gardens and detailed garden plans. Best of all, it's a trusted source of information that's easy to understand. Every season carries a vast harvest of ideas to delight, motivate and guide any gardener. How about a gardening magazine for those who want to become a better gardener? FINE GARDENING MAGAZINE from The Taunton Press brings you amazing design ideas, beneficial techniques, and the know-how to get the best results from your gardening endeavors. In each issue you'll find eye-opening bits of advice from the experts, detailed information on all types of plants, effective techniques and time-saving tips, straightforward tool reviews from editors and readers and planting suggestions for specific regions. But for more intensive information on how to maintain a garden packed with style and color, then you'll want to read GARDEN DESIGN. This gardening magazine brings out eye-popping photos, illustrations and useful recommendations on how to create a picture-perfect garden. It is written and designed for those who are passionate about their homes and gardens. Garden Design is more than just a dig-in-the-dirt gardening magazine; it's for people who enjoy bringing in more aesthetic value for their homes through their gardens. Garden Design encourages you to create stylish outdoor living spaces and rare gardens through cultivating rare breeds of plants, with updates on the best tools and techniques. It contains magnificent photographs and articles that capture the imaginations of gardeners everywhere. For passionate gardeners, HOLTICULTURE MAGAZINE is the ultimate guide to gardening. The authoritative voice of gardeners, Horticulture serves as an essential guide and trusted friend, and is a main resource for serious gardeners from every corner of the country. These magazines aim to instruct, inform, and inspire serious home gardeners. There are gardening magazines for beginners and expert gardeners. Discover or develop your green thumb with their latest gardening techniques and garden design information. For Australian readers, there is BURKE'S BACKYARD. Springing form a TV series of the same name, Burke's Backyard focuses on gardening decor as well as the all-important garden makeovers that have become so popular. YOUR GARDEN is another beauty, claiming the prestige of being Australia's gardening magazine, it usually features two or three popular flowers and how best to grow them, with a wealth of tips and information on other plants, tools and products for the garden. GARDENING AUSTRALIA springs from the ABC's feature of that name it features many wonderful articles by gardening experts and often holds a free catalogue from one of the larger nurseries. HOW TO PROMOTE YOUR GARDENING WEBSITE Are you thinking of promoting your gardening website online? This could actually pose a little bit of a problem to you. Let's face it. On the Internet, searching for gardening websites could yield hundreds, or even thousands of results in just one click. Therefore, the possibility of people visiting your website is one in a thousand. Here are six techniques on how to promote your gardening website. 1. Free directories One very effective tip on how to promote your gardening website is to get listed on free directories online. Visit www.dmoz.com. There are a couple of websites that copy their directory. If you have your site listed, you can get yourself linked on to a lot more websites online. 2. Competitor's popularity You always need to check your competitor's popularity. You need to know where you stand in the market. Having a new gardening website does not have to mean lower online visits or hits than other gardening websites around. It is just a matter of knowing your competitors by simply searching them out on Google. Also try checking www.linkpopularity.com. This website can help you determine how popular your website is compared to others. Aside from that, it can also help you get hooked up on many different sites you can find. 3. Quality and Reliable Links One-tenth of your visitors may have possibly found your gardening website through the use of a search engine. The key here is to find quality links that will point to your website. Choose quality websites with a great number of customers. You could ace your gardening website promotion in no time at all. Related gardening websites will help you rank well in search engines for the reason that you have a targeted audience. 4. Competitors Visitors Obviously, this is a very big factor in promoting your gardening website. In www.alexa.com, you may see a lot of information regarding your competitors' websites, specifically their visitors and where they live, how many times they visit and the other gardening websites they go to. 5. Signature Why not get your own signature for your email? Most people often ignore this idea. But if users come across your signature file, it could boost your "visit" or "hit probability". It can also show users that you are a website owner who is serious in publishing your site. Strategy is the key in promoting your gardening website. Do not be content on being just one of those gardening websites scattered around. You can always strive to be one of the most visited sites on the Internet. Gardening Gifts for All Occasions There is nothing nicer than receiving a gift relating to one's passion. If your loved one's passion is gardening, then show your thoughtfulness by giving a gift that will be truly appreciated. There are so many great gardening gifts that the only constraint is your own budget. If your budget is small, go for things like gloves, kneepads or even a shady hat. A pretty pot (or a watering-can) filled with a small bag of potting mix, a packet of bulbs, some gloves and a small trowel or other tool will be received with delight by most gardeners. There are many hand tools at hardware stores that are reasonably priced. If you feel that is too ordinary, how about a subscription to a gardening magazine? A tiny bit more expensive perhaps, but it will give twelve full months of delight. A book on gardening is another idea, but make sure your recipient does not already have the one you choose. Books are often heavily discounted at Christmas time, so you may get a bargain. On the other hand, a pot that contains a flowering plant is usually a welcomed gift. Be sure to choose a plant that is suited to your climate. Sometimes plants are sent from tropical to temperate zones and kept in artificial conditions in the store. These plants will not do well once taken from their environment. Shrub roses are hardy and attractive and grow in many climates. Tulips do best in the cooler climate. If your budget is strong, a more expensive tool may be appropriate. A pull-trolley is easier to use than a wheelbarrow and, like some electric tools, is still not terribly expensive. Small electric tools such as whipper-snippers can retail for as little as $20.00. Or if your friend has a hose but not a hose reel, then that would be a more useful gift that he would truly appreciate. Automatic lawn mowers, electric cultivators, hedge trimmers and brush cutters are in the more expensive price range and you are the only one who can decide whether that is an appropriate gift. However, when the recipient realizes you have given a gift that complements his passion, expensive or not, it will certainly become the best gift your friend has ever received. HERB GARDENING Herbs have been around since time immemorial and served different kinds of purposes. They have been used to treat illness and flavour cooking; they were even believed to have magical powers. Do you want to have your own herb garden? Here are a few ideas on how to establish an herb garden. Plan your garden. Consider the herbs you want to plant. Think about their types. Would you like annuals, biennials or perennials? How much space will they occupy in your garden? If you want, you can purchase a book that can give you the right information on what specific plants you are planning to grow. List or draw your garden on paper first. Separate the annuals from the perennials so when the time comes that you have to pull out the annuals, you won't be disturbing the perennials. Perennials can be planted on the edge of your garden so when it is time to till your garden they won't be in danger of getting dug up. Another thing to remember is that you have to plant the tall ones at the back and the shorter ones in front. Also, provide your plants with enough space to grow. Proper position shall help you in this area. If you would rather keep herbs out of your garden (and some are quite invasive) you could have herb pots. These are large containers with three or more outlets for the herbs. Fill the pot up to the first outlet and plant it before continuing on with the filling and planting process. Usually, the herb that requires the most water is planted in the bottom hole, while the variety that requires the least, goes in the highest hole. Some Design Ideas You can consider having a square herb bed. You can have your square bed divided into four by two paths crossing at mid point measuring 3 feet. You can border it with stone or brick. A wooden ladder may also do the trick. You can lay it down on your garden and plant your herbs between its rungs. You can also choose to have a wagon wheel bed. Planting here is like planting with the wooden ladders. Plant your herbs in between the wagon wheel's wedges. Get Your Plants Growing Of course, different plants have different needs, but many of them require alkaline soil. This is the reason why you have to determine the herbs you want to plant in the planning stage. This can more or less help you find out how you should care for your plants. If you germinate your herbs from seeds, remember to follow the directions on the packet for soil, watering and temperature. Herbs are some of the easiest plants to grow. You just have to provide them with an effective drainage, sunlight, enough humidity or moisture and fertile soil. Even with just minimally meeting these requirements they will be bound produce a good harvest. What's in Store for National Home Gardening Club Members? The National Home Gardening Club offer many benefits to its members. It is said to be the largest home gardening organization with paid membership. For a nominal fee, various benefits are available. If you choose to become a member the National Home Gardening club, you will be entitled to the following perks. 1. Members can enter competitions to win free gardening products such as gardening accessories, tools, and other gardening supplies. 2. A coupon will be given to members to claim a free gardening shears. 3. Members can also access a free trial subscription of the "Gardening How-To Magazine." 4. They may be eligible to test and keep gardening tools such as pruning shears. These are some of the products tested by members in the past two issues of the "Gardening How-To" magazine: - Honda Harmony Lawn Mower - Miracle-Gro Garden Weed Preventer - Sunflower Garden - Cobra Head Precision Weeder and Cultivator - Preen 'n Green 5. Members can enjoy a free directory of public gardens, which contains information about lush gardens, arboretums, and conservatories throughout the US. 6. They can interact and talk about tips, ideas and methods with other members. 7. Members can obtain gardening and landscaping tips and plans for the completion of various gardening projects. 8. They have access to the members-only gardening website. 9. Members can also preview gardening books, gardening videos, etc. Indeed, the for-members-only benefits are that grandiose. They are all for the gardening enthusiasts to grab. After the 30-day trial, you can continue your membership for only $1 per month. Many garden-lovers think this is a small price to pay for all these privileges. Online Gardening Catalogues At Your Disposal Are you searching for gardening catalogues? What kind of gardening and plants do you prefer to read about? There is a wide selection available online. Here are a few websites that offer gardening catalogues. Check out the URL to see if they are free or not. 1. www.jacksonsnurseries.co.uk Along with nursery facilities, Jackson Nurseries offer landscape designing, ground designing and wholesale plants at wholesale prices. 2. www.mzbulb.com If you are looking for flower bulbs, McClure and Zimmerman have each and every variety. They have a no fuss website navigation that allows interested clients to easily order gardening catalogs. 3. www.gardennursery.com In business for over 50 years, Nichols Garden Nursery has an online catalogue unit offering seeds and plants. Their 76 page free gardening catalogue can be ordered by filling out their catalogue request form online. 4. www.gurneys.com Gurneys offer great deals like buy one, get one free. They also have a no-risk guarantee and a scheduled shipping of orders according to categories of plants, i.e., roses, herbs, shrubs, and trees, tender annuals, and all other plants and bulbs. 5. www.homeharvest.com Home Harvest Garden Supply offers alternative gardening products, i.e., organic fertilizers, hydroponics, natural insect controls, container, hobby greenhouse, propagation and irrigation supplies, indoor plant grow lights and other rare gardening supplies. They offer an online catalogue for every gardening enthusiast. 6. www.jacksonandperkins.com Jackson and Perkins are known to be one of the best American gardening experts. They are reaching out to other gardening aficionados through their website, offering gardening products through their catalogue. They sell a wide range of plants -- from new award-winning roses and easy to grow perennials, to special outdoor decor. Flowering gifts may also be sent directly to your friends by ordering from their site. 7. www.thegardenwindow.com This site offers an online catalogue that specializes in imported Chinese tree peonies (from Mainland, China). While free online catalogues may be good source of gardening supply information, you may also be deluged with a flood of promotion about other products.
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