Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Preparing Your Home Garden: Fertilizers and Soil Fertility

For gardeners who have a green thumb, preparing garden beds, applying manure, watering and weeding would hardly figure in the list of necessities.
Main worries for the experienced gardeners would be preparation of next vegetable and flower nurseries and selection of plants for replanting. They also worry about soil depletion since each crop will use up nutrients for its growth process.

Garden soil replenishment

Soil loses most of the nitrogen over time. Choosing a fertilizer is simple
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because you have many garden fertilizer companies that advertise their fertilizer bags for use in common home gardens. You have to watch for two things.
a)   Ratio of fertilizer components: This is ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium that normally remain printed on bag as 40 – 30 – 30. This numbers will vary according to your choice. Plants need first component nitrogen in large quantities for growth of leaves. They get this from dissolved nitrogen that they absorb through their roots.
They synthesize proteins and nucleic acids. Proteins are mostly in the form of enzymes. Plants deficient in nitrogen will show yellow leaves. Phosphorus takes part in cell division since it forms a component of nucleic acid present in plants that involve in protein synthesis. Thus, phosphorus involves in large energy transformations within the plants. Potassium the third component will leach out of a sandy well-drained soil because it dissolves very readily. It regulates growth and related processes by providing the ionic environment in the cytosol of the plant. Symptoms of potassium deficiency are scorching or leaf tips and curling. In some cases, there may be chlorosis – yellowing in between the veins of leaves.
b)   Fast or slow acting fertilizers: Fast release fertilizers do not last long in garden soil. Maximum period is 20 – 30 days. These field-grade nitrogen fertilizers are water-soluble. You apply these just before flowering or fruiting or when you want more leaves on your garden plants.
Slow acting fertilizes have a longer duration in the garden soil. Of these, polymer coated slow release fertilizers will last up to 90 days, while sulfur coated ones, will last about 60 days. If you water the garden too much or if there is rain, these fertilizers will wash away from the soil.

Weeding and watering

Grass gets into flowerbeds more quickly than one can imagine. This is because of the intrinsic nature of grass, which make their propagation easy. Their roots run along the surface helping them to grow roots as soon as they find some fertile spot. 

Driving a border helps you keep your grass within the lawn. One could also
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use borders around the flowerbed but they would then get in the way every time
spreading along the ground. They have sufficient height (say 1 ½ inches) to prevent grass from climbing over.

Watering has to take place when soil temperatures are not extreme. In cold regions, one has to wait for soil to acquire sufficient heat while in hot regions one has to either water before sun gets too hot or wait until the sun sets to go ahead with watering.

Problems of restricted growing space

Home garden usually have very restricted space. One could add to this space through one of these methods.

a)   Use improvised space

  i.     Portion of the terrace: For this, you need to have space on your terrace for moving around in addition to keeping pots. You will have water spillage that could prove messy if you are not careful.
ii.     Grow indoor plants: main function of these plants is to remove toxic substances and chemicals from the indoor air space. These plants such as aloe, spider grass, Gerber daisy and chrysanthemum filter trichloroethylene that comes from dry cleaning and benzene present in inks along with carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and xylene that comes from rubber and leather items.

b)   Vertical gardening

i.     Pots and buckets: Ideal plants for pots and buckets are Nasturtium, Begonia, Petunia and Pansy. Nasturtium and petunia needs full sun. Agave, Bamboo and Pentas are also ideal for pots.
  ii.     Frames: Plants such as squash, cucumber beans and tomato need a plant frame that may have netting. When you support your plants properly, they will yield more fruit or vegetables.  
   iii.     Shelves: You can grow carrots, tomatoes, potatoes and peppers in shelves. These plants need plentiful sunshine. You can use old washtubs, huge oil containers or big buckets for your vertical garden. When you use shelves, provide slats so that plants receive good air circulation and adequate water.

Spruce up your living space

A wonderful garden will turn any ordinary space into a scene from a dream. Having a good garden is also useful when you want a conversation topic. Gardens like pets need care and will behave when you pay enough attention to it.