Gardening / Garden Maintenance / Soil Preparation / Pruning / Fertilisers / Propagation / Weeds / Pests / Diseases / Container Gardening / Organic Gardening / Organic Vegetable Gardening / Lunar Gardening / Kitchen Garden / Wildlife Gardening / Children in the Garden / Recycling in the Garden / Terrariums / Glossary
To grow plants successfully and have a thriving garden you need to understand the groundwork. For thriving plants certain tasks need to be repeated annually and some seasonally. Soil preparation is essential and an understanding of what soil type you have and how to change it will save you a lot of money! So can knowledge of propagation techniques. Additionally you need to understand what treatment different plants want in the form of pruning and feeding. To be prepared for pests and/or diseases is extremely valuable - often plants are killed and thrown out because a situation was left too long and what was initially a manageable pest-situation became a killer.
Your garden goes through cycles of active growth and rest through the year. During these seasons it will have different needs at certain times. Being familiar with (and understanding) these requirements, like feeding and pruning, you can pay attention to them as and when it is needed.
Soil Preparation is essential and one usually realizes this later, especially if you did not do it. This task will determine the success of your garden and in this case, preparation is better than cure. Taking the time and patience to prepare and improve your soil first will save you a lot of headaches and money later on.
Pruning is necessary with some plants as no amount of feeding or watering will ensure certain fruit trees to be more productive if it does not get its essential ‘haircut’. Many flowering plants need only a light Pruning once in a blue moon to keep them from getting scraggly and encourage flowering. PRUNING need not scare you for it is a process that needs just a little practice and you will not look back.
Like all living things plants need feeding. In order to be healthy, they need the major elements, which are nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, calcium and sulphur. Additionally they need trace elements of iron, copper, manganese, zinc, boron, cobalt, molybdenum, chlorine and sodium. South Africa is rich in chlorine and sodium. Having deficiencies in any of these elements will result in poor growth and symptoms of malnutrition, like the yellowing of leaves for instance.
There are few things as satisfying as looking at a group of plants and remembering there used to be only one of them! Propagating your own plants can be done through cuttings, seed, division, new bulbs or corms, runners or stolen, grafting, layering or budding. By following basic principals, it is quite a simple process.
Weeds are a nuisance to all gardeners but there are many precautionary steps one could take to minimize the appearance of them. Mulching and manual removing could keep them at bay and herbicides could be applied to narrow areas between paving. Great care needs to be taken when using herbicides for you do not want to end up killing your garden plants while dealing with the weeds.
It is important to know which insects and creatures are pests and which are garden-buddies. These ‘good’ insects help control the pest numbers and should be encouraged in every garden. Pests however could destroy plants overnight and need to be dealt with swiftly and properly. Pesticides are an option, but there are also a number of organic sprays that should be considered before opting for chemical warfare.
Keeping your plants healthy is the best prevention against disease. Knowledge is power and you need to make sure you know what to look for and how to react. Bacteria, viruses and fungi can cause chaos in a garden and if left too late they will kill, but there are solutions to each of these problems - the secret is knowing about them.
Organic Gardening enables, and forces, you to have a hands-on involvement with your garden and its stages - from making your own compost to finding nature-friendly solutions to issues of pest-control and feeding requirements.
Gardening according to the phases of the moon has been around since pagan times. With the advent of modern agricultural practices much of the ancient wisdom has been forgotten but resurgence in natural methodologies has seen Lunar Gardening once again claim its rightful place in gardening principles.
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