Tuesday, 27 September 2011

weeding - war of the weeds

Your mission on war of the weeds is essentially to try and stop weeds of any kind spreading their seed.

There is a saying "One years seeding is seven years weeding".

Hand weeding.
First invest in a pair of good garden gloves and use old towel or kneeling mat, to protect the knees.
Get hold of the weed as low as can near the base, weeds tend to be less prickly nearer the ground and just pull.

There are lots of garden tools that can help with your mission too, a garden hoe, use this firstly as a preventive measure, before weeds appear on the surface, do this regularly, ideally when the soil is dry.
When using a  hoe to weed, try to cut the weed from roots below soil.
Small hand tools, trowel, forks, these work well for deep rooted weeds, you can get right in there and dig them out, but be extra careful if you have existing plants near by.

Weeds in your lawn - Turf war
Dig these weeds out with a narrow trowel or weed extractor, have some soil ready to fill in the hole, and if its a rather large hole, take another section of the same size from the a less visible area of the garden and replace it, water this section frequently until it takes, you also replant grass seed in the area.

Organic weed killer
I don't tend use these as they can kill off every plant they come into contact with and interfere with the natural flora of your garden .
If you choose to go down the route of sprays, can also make your own organic weed killer using full strength white distilled vinegar, the acetic acid draws moisture out of the leaf and any other plant it comes into contact with so be warned. There are lots of alternative to chemical weed killer, but as I don't use them in my garden I cant really comment on their effectiveness.

Prevention is better than cure
Cover every piece of bare soil with a something that excludes light, Use coca shells,well rotted horse manure, anything will do the job, including straw, hay shredded bark, permeable plastic, bark, old carpet, or rolls of  white paper mulch. 
Live mulches are a great idea too; use a fast growing short plant, maybe something like thyme.
Grow plants densely together, is another tip.

Stop fighting with nature for the perfect manicured garden. Keep your plants healthy, mulch regulary, weed by hand and remember a weed is but unloved flower.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Watering your garden

Tips for watering your gardening:-

  • Make use of what nature has to offer and collect as much rain water as you can with a water butt.  Position the water butt to siphon rainwater from the down pipes and raise it off the ground so you can place a watering can under it, also keep it covered so the water stays clean.

  • Keep an eye on the weather, basic I know.
  • Mulch this prevents water evaporation. ie grass clippings, bark, gravel.
  • Compost - this makes the soil hold more moisture.
  • Water with a watering  can in the early morning or evening so the water doesnt just evaporate,.
  • Water at the base of the plants,  and deeply so it can soak down to the roots this will encourage the roots to go deep in the ground and helps in drought periods, the adage goes water deeply and infrequently.
  • Cut lawns less, or raise the cutting level, this will help during really hot weather. 
  • Use a mulching mower.
  • Please bare in mind, the weather conditions, season, location and the plant, when watering your garden.
Did you know??? sprinklers use as much water per hour as a family of four can in one day.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Its a new dawn, its a new day

Beautiful day's start with beautiful mornings and what a lovely morning it was in Alberta today, the sky, so pink and purple.

"When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love." Marcus Aurelius

Dawn is the time that marks the beginning of twilight before sunrise.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Compost - Enrich your garden & reduce waste.

I've decided to do my first post about compost, because everything that grows in your garden will benefit from good nutrient rich soil.

So what is composting?

Composting is a process that turns kitchen and garden waste into humus material called compost.

Here is some ideas for you:-

Green Materials are rich in Nitrogen
Ground Coffee & Filters
Organic packing material
Flower bouquets
Fresh leaves
Fruit and vegetable scraps
Grass clippings - Make sure you put these in thin layers
Green plants
Animal manure, ie horses poultry rabbits, not cats and dogs poops.

Pruning and hedge trimmings
Tea bags

I choose not to put weeds or diseased plants in my main compost heap,I want to avoid reintrodicng seeds and any disease into my garden.
A good idea is to create a separate compost heap for these items.
In the majority of cases heat and time will destroy them, I just like to be on the safe side, I do enough weed pulling by hand as it is!

Did you know?? that seven pounds of hair contains as much nitrogen as 100 pounds of manure, if your going to add this into the mix, moist well and aerate.

Brown materials are rich in Carbon
Shredded newspaper
Dried flowers
Egg shells
Autumn leaves
Old potting soil
Pine needles
Sawdust and wood shavings
Small twigs and wood chips
cereal, spices, beans
Straw and hay
Wood ashes.

A layer guide for your compost heap:-

Starting from the bottom up!

  • Twigs or other coarse materials - this helps with drainage and aeration.
  • Dried out brown materials, ie autumn leaves.
  • Wet the above piles, so its just moist.
  • Next add moist green materials, dig these into the pile with a thin layer of brown mater to balance,
  • Add a small amount of garden soil-this introduces enough some friendly little organisms to decompose materials in your compost.
  • Add more brown material, followed by more water.
  • Just keep layering until you reach the top....yeah!
  • After two weeks turn the pile and do so every few weeks, or when is becomes compacted,too wet or smelly.  Some people choose not to turn, but I do and it works for me, so do what works for you really.
  • Compost is ready when it looks and feels like dirt.

Make sure all items are from organic sources and free from pesticides, this is hard to do I know, but try  your best, this will help you work your way to a totally organic garden, which will benefit you, your garden and the environment.

Happy Composting!!