Excitement is great but don’t rush to stores and buy every available garden product. Learn to be economical when buying products, tools and limit the purchases in accordance with your current needs.
If you are just starting out, you don’t necessarily require all the expensive tools and products.
What you need is appropriate and high quality products for an efficient job.
Be careful when you are purchasing tools and make sure that they are comfortable for your use.
If you can’t handle the bulk or heaviness, don’t buy it.
Always, test its length and weight in the store so that it suits your build.
You will be using these tools repeatedly therefore they should be a tough companion for all your hard work and functionality should be the main concern.
Tools can range from the maneuverable and manual simple shovel to power tools like trenchers and lawn movers. Choose gardening tools for their specific functions.
Gardeners who are just still preparing their home gardens must buy these nine tools first.
Gardening is nothing but digging in the dirt but you should always protect your hands from insect bites and infections.
Save your skin from barbs, pricky plants and itchy weeds.
Don’t invite diseases through blisters and cuts.
Its difficult to enjoy if your hands are suffering all the time.
Hose or Watering Can:
This will purely depend on your garden’s water requirement.
Always invest in sturdy hose.
If you have a large garden , determine the required length and its proximity to the water source.
Buy an nozzle to adjust the water pressure.
Hose can also act as effective cleaning tool.
Scrape away the loose dirt by channeling them into the ground with water.
It is a very important tool in creating a compost pile or a heap.
Pitchfork is perfect for loosening the soil and materials like straw or leaves from ground.
It is the perfect tool for cleaning your yard and garden.
Gardening rake is highly useful in spreading mulch, tilling and collecting the debris around your plants.
You can use this tool for loosening the soil which helps the plants to absorb the necessary nutrients.
Smoothing freshly tilled soil is effortless with rake.
Purchase premium quality rake to last longer.
Round Head Shovel:
It helps digging suitable and deep holes for the larger plants.
You will need this tool when your plants have already grown.
It helps in removing the damaged parts, leaves and brings professional look to your garden.
You will be exposing yourself to the sun and harmful UV-radiations for longer periods.
Choose hats with wider brims and cinches for maximum protection.
This tool makes weeding easier and is ideal for digging smaller holes which are intended for delicate plants.
Trowel helps in aerating the soil and keeps it fresh.
It also helps in tossing the dirt and compost with ease.
Ensure that trowel metallic fork is securely attached to its wooden grip.
It helps in transportation of compost, plants, debris and dirt.
Once you have progressed in your gardening familiarity, you may decide on expanding or developing your garden. You will need more tools to assist your progress.
Fork is the tool for lifting plants from the soil without damaging it and also for fluffing the soil surface.
You can choose standard sized garden fork or border sized fork.
Settle on a length that’s fitting your height to avoid any back strain.
This will make your gardening process manageable by cutting strings easily, opening compost bags and pruning the cuttings.
Select one with a comfortable hold and with stainless steel blades.
A hoe is an another efficient tool for weeding and loosening.
Planting or transplanting is effortless with hoe.
The corner edges of hoe can create shallow trenches which are used when sowing vegetable seeds.
It’s very important to be protected.
Apparel for safe guarding your knee such as kneeling pads are important.
You will be kneeling on soil a number of times to weed, to pick, to trim, or to harvest and your knee will take all the roughing.
Pruning saws like long handled loppers and telescopic pruners are particularly useful when you have trees in your garden.
There are compact models and are comfortable to use in tree pruning.
You cannot go on gardening without a spade because you’ll be using this for digging and scooping dirt.
Scrape out the loose materials in the soil buy using this tool.
Make sure to use one that’s easy on the grip.
It should have a smooth surface for easy plowing.
It reduces the damage of the plants when you practice weeding.
Its easy to find the origin of the harmful plant instead of accidentally cutting a plant.
If you want to take care of your garden effectively for long time, maintenance of tools is very important.
When you are using power tools like an electric saw or electric pruner, ensure that plugs are in safe condition before using them.
Always inspect the wires and plugs for damages.
If you are wary in inspecting them, consult an electrician to examine the cuts and wear of each flex.
If they are damaged don’t self repair unless you are professional.
Rusting is the inevitable enemy of power tools.
Prevent rusting by spraying a light coat of general purpose oil on its metal exterior, including the blades.
Special Care For Lawnmower:
Lawnmowers can also be considered as a power tool and has similar maintenance like oiling and wire plug checking.
If the machine is not in use especially if you are storing it for winter, always disconnect its spark plug head.
Unplug before doing any type of cleaning.
Clear out the grass, dirt and soil from the filters by using water and a scraper.
Check for dents and cracks.
If the blade blunts or damages, call a servicer and have it sharpened.
If the blades are badly worn out, you have to replace them with new one.
Metal tools like mowers, shears and knifes etc are susceptible to blunting. So, constant sharpening is required.
Shears and knifes can be sharpened with fine sharpening stone which can be purchased from hardware stores.
Apply oil to the tool before rubbing with stone.
Tips To Increase Tool Life:
- Before storing, always wipe the blade with cloth smeared in oil which helps in preventing rust formation.
- Rub wooden handles with linseed oil to prevent splintering and drying.
- Don’t soak wooden handles in water, it swells.
- Use little water and wire brush to clean the tools and it is always ideal to suspend them on the wall by putting them on a hook. The blade should be on the upper side to avoid objects damaging its surface and for your own safety.
Types of Garden:
Deciding where to grow your garden is an important task. This is where your plants will live and watch them to thrive.
The first consideration is always the sun. Where do the the sunlight hit the most? That’s is where your garden will be.
There are three types of garden you can choose from. Decide on one that will support your needs and life style.
A traditional garden is the kind that will give you tons of options on plants that you can grow.
The natural soil beds will help you utilize and maximize the nutrients found in the eco system.
Though there are insects and bacteria that can help the growth of your plants, there are bacteria varieties that can deteriorate your plants.
If the pests and microbes develop into a problem, control them naturally.
There are safe and biological controls available to eradicate them completely.
If you are an apartment dweller in the city, a traditional in ground garden may be impossible.
Its best to choose container gardening as an alternative.
Several container types that vary in size, shape and material are available in the market.
There is no limit on the type of container you can use.
The conventional clay pots and terracotta pots are most popular ones but you can also use recycled materials like wooden barrels, old plastic bottle, plastic containers or galvanized metal buckets.
Since space is forbidding factor, you can try planter boxes on your windowsills or even hanging planters.
Wall planting has become a revolutionary and ingenious technique in urban gardening.
When considering the container types, bear in mind their differences.
Some are able to retain heat while some may lose moisture rapidly.
Poke a few holes if you are aiming for DIY planters to ensure adequate drainage.
Choose the container deep enough for the roots.
If you are using organic potting soil, container gardening is the best.
Store bought soil is rich in nutrients, weed-free and provides aeration.
Choose the plants that are suitable for such a limited space and place them in a proper sun light.
Plants that are ideal for container gardening are spinach, lettuce, garlic, onions, green beans, carrots and herbs.
Tomatoes and peppers are also suitable for container gardening but they require staking or else they will out grow the container.
Raised Bed Gardening:
If you are looking for something that’s between traditional gardening and container gardening, raised bed gardening is perfect option.
Raised beds control the weed growth and also perfect solution for gardeners who want to limit their physical movements and those who are suffering from back problems.
Bricks, cinder blocks, rocks and untreated wood are used to raise the garden.
The height of raised bed can range from 6 inches off the ground to two or three feet.
Depth shouldn’t be more than four feet and make sure you can reach the center.
Raised bed gardens are as good as traditional gardens. You can grow any plant using high quality soil. Even deep rooted vegetables like cabbages do well in raised beds.
Preparing Your Soil:
Soil, sun and water are the most important elements of gardening.
Poor quality soil can affect all the efforts you made for your garden.
Choosing the best quality soil is extremely important.
What makes high quality ideal soil for gardening?
Premium quality soil is well aerated. This means that air has appropriately circulated through the soil giving it a health and bouncy feel.
Soil that is too thick will not give the root a proper chance to grow.
Dense soils like clay will not have proper drainage.
Healthy soils should be free from stones which tends to obstruct the growth.
The selected soil must be rich in organic matter like ripened manure or compost.
You can make nutrient rich compost by peels, pruning wastes, fallen flower heads, tea bags and news papers etc.
Fill your compost bin with a mixture of brown and green materials and deposit it into your garden.
Worms and bacteria will start growing in the bin.
Mix the compost into your garden soil and this soil will nourish your plants.
There is also a different way of improving your soil through compost which is depositing of barks and leaf molds into the soil where worms and weather can work their way in.
Compost is the answer to soils which could not hold moisture well or to the soils that are too thick.
Choosing Your Plants:
Selecting the plant to be grown will depend on your taste and suitability to the local environment.
Firstly, study the plants which you have selected so that you won’t regret what you have planted.
Stronger plants have greater immunity to pests and diseases but check whether they apt for your soil and local climatic conditions?
Always choose the varieties which are disease resistant and has strong soil compatibility.
You can plant something exotic that’s not available in your farmer’s market.
Plant the vegetables and fruits that you find pricey or has poor quality in your local grocery store.
Organic produce is especially expensive in the market so grow them in your backyard and thereby you can have some major savings.
You can start with packets of seeds or with seedlings(that are started in the greenhouse’s nursery).
Seedlings are more costlier than seeds but it’s a great choice for beginners and also it saves a lot of time.
If you are choosing seeds, be sure to read the labels and instructions about watering and spacing.
Labels will tell you if you can directly sow the seeds into the soil or if it needs to start indoors.
You can grow ample of seedlings indoors while waiting for planting outdoors.
Choose plants that fits your diet and be sure that they are suitable to your garden’s size.
Different Type Of Plants:
They germinate, grow, flower and die in a span of one year.
Examples: Corn, Wheat, Rice, Beans and Water melons etc.
The life span of biennials is two years and they starts growing in first year and flowering in second year
Examples: Onion, Cabbage, Parsley and Carrot etc.
The life span of perennials is more than two years.
Every year these plants flower in the spring and summer.
Sometimes perennials die during winter season but they grow their leaves back in spring.
Examples: Banana and Cone flower etc.
There are variety of grasses and each grass type has its own life span.
The most important trick to have a perfect garden is selecting the grass variety according to the local weather conditions.
Trees have very long life span and are usually planted in the garden to achieve enclosure and permanence.
Shrubs are like smaller trees with a woody framework instead of long thick stem and have a long life span.
There are different varieties of climbers and hence there are different life spans for each type.
These plants tend to scramble up walls, trellises, boundary walls and are planted to soften the hard landscaping by giving the garden an effect of free flow.
Many type of climbers have beautiful roses and some with fragrance.
Example: Climbing Roses.
These are the wide variety of plants that grabs the attention of passerbyers.
Examples: Water Lilies
Watering Your Garden:
You should nourish your garden with equal amounts of sunlight and water.
You can reduce water wastage by utilizing water butts and mulching of the beds.
Always water the plants in mornings or evenings so that plants will absorb the water before the hottest time of day hits.
Target your watering areas and determine which part of the plant requires most water which means water the soil just above the roots.
You can save lot of money and reduce water wastage by reusing the rain water.
Fit a water butt in your garden so that you can water your garden in drought conditions and in summer season.
Water butts are easy to install and all you need is your house or garage or shed or any structure that has down pipe and a gutter. If you don’t have gutter, it’s best to have them installed.
Water that is saved from the rain can run up to 24,000-27,000 liters in a year.
Water butts look like barrels but there are different sizes and shapes that are suitable for tight spaces. They can hold 100-800 liters of water. Some water butt have a tap and a stand for easy filling of watering cans.
The easiest way to fit a water butt is to place the butt directly under the severed plastic down pipe. You can attach an overflow pipe into butt to guide the excess rain water.
This water will be automatically transferred to another water butt or to drainage.
Other Rain Water Conservation Methods:
The alternative to water butt is rain water harvesting.
Rain water harvesting is expensive than butts because of internal pump that powerfully drives water through the hose and built in filter that cleans water.
Larger tanks can be installed below the ground and has huge storage capacity.
The act of placing layers of materials such as straw, clippings and bark chips on the surface of the soil for insulation, protection, preservation of moisture and to reduce erosion.
To trap all the moisture in, spread mulch across the soil.
Leaf molds and bark chips are ideal for mulching materials.
If you are still looking for some ways to maximize water for your plants, here are a few tips.
- Add more compost into the soil. This will hold the moisture for longer periods.
- Add some hanging baskets with a water reservoir to distribute water for your compost. You can also add some water-retaining gel to the compost.
- To maintain neat and pretty look of your garden, you can use glass clippings and polished pebbles for retaining moisture.
- You can use automated water system. This is perfect if you have constrained time and all you have to do is fit it to timer. Plan strategically and set up pipes and nozzles where water is exactly needed.
Organic gardening mean growing of food products without the presence of synthetic hormones, pesticides and fertilizers.
It will give you chance to promote and develop the natural diversity and cycle.
Your garden must be sustainable and self sufficient without relying on artificial nourishment and chemicals.
This Chemical-free way will solve not only your practical needs but also the ethical needs of the environment.
You will save water, protect the wild life and contribute to the balance in biodiversity.
Organically grown products tastes superior and makes us healthier.
Don’t be daunted by the organic style of gardening. You will get habituated to it and the benefits are for the long term.
Begin by deciding on what you truly want to for your organic garden. Do you want few pots of vegetables or do you want a full grown vegetable and fruit garden? Consider your needs and your capacity as a gardener. Be realistic about your expectations especially if you are new to gardening.
Look around your work area.
Where is the best place for your organic garden? Will it receive sufficient sunlight? If you plan on growing an herb or vegetable garden, it’s best to stay clear of shady areas.
Consider your watering and drainage options. If you’d like to add aesthetics to your criteria, consider the location where it can be viewed and appreciated.
Grow plants like coriander, marigold, dill and echinacea that can attract beneficial insects and maintain balanced and healthy garden for you.
Lady Birds will help you remove caterpillars and spider mites.
Bees helps in pollination and aids increase in fruit yield.
There is great need to eliminate pests therefore prefer using organic pesticides.
Chickens are ideal for organic gardening. They’re quite resourceful and well behaved.
They are great for controlling flies, beetles, bugs and removing slugs, snails.
Chickens helps in fertilizing soil and provides fresh eggs.
Chickens requires less maintenance and all they need is grains, fresh water and a suitable place to rest.
The importance of compost in organic gardening is very high.
A good and vibrant soil will supply the much needed nutrients for your plants.
You don’t have to buy compost mix instead you can make it at home by gathering the compost materials like leaves, twigs, manure,kitchen scarps and papers.
The process of composting involves decomposing the layers of these matters through time and heat.
Sanitation is vital in organic gardening as it prevents the transfer of plant diseases.
Clean all your stakes, containers and trays after using them.
Disinfect your supplies by steaming or soaking them in hydrogen peroxide. This process will remove the plant residues.
Do not throw the plant residue in your compost because they could be host of diseases.
The thrilling aspect of starting up an organic garden is picking the plants.
There are options for picking organic seeds or saplings that are dependent on the season.
If you want a purely organic garden, don’t pick the conventional plants that are raised with non organic compost.
If you had purchased from the nursery, there is a definite way of determining if the sapling has been grown properly.
Carefully create the organic beds to reduce the risk of plant diseases and pests.
Grow similar plants in the same garden beds and rotate the beds every year.
For example, your bed one can have peas and beans. Bed two will be egg plants and tomatoes. Have a rotation system for each bed in each year.
Spacing is essential to increase the plants susceptibility to disease, intensify light reception and increase air circulation.
Plants like tomatoes needs stake to keep them from touching the ground.
This will expose the plant to extra shine and reduce the risk of any disease from soil.
- If you want fruit bearing trees for your garden, pick the variety that is suitable to the environment and weather.
- Lemons and oranges are the type of fruit trees that can be grown in almost any type of location.
- Cherries and apples will grow well in cold climatic conditions.
- Tropical climate suits best for growing avocado and mango.
When selecting vegetables seeds or seedlings always choose disease resistant varieties.
They should be strong enough to survive contagion.
If you go for transplants examine the leaves, stems and roots meticulously.
They should be free from lesions and the roots should have light color without excess roots or decay.
Like wise if you notice plants in your garden showing symptoms of disease, remove them immediately to avoid near by infecting plants.
Always purchase young plants and don’t buy plants which have already produced fruits.
Starter Fruits For Your Organic Garden:
These plants starts having blackberries after your first year of plantation.
They continue to bear fruits for several years with minimum care.
Some types of blackberries needs trellis or fence to maintain the upright position.
Prune them regularly.
You can plant them in sunny area or semi-shaded area with good drainage soil.
Add compost regularly.
Plant them in early spring or late winter.
In mid-summer prune the top part upto 6 inches to trigger the growth.
After forty days when they starts blooming, black berries are ready to harvest.
Harvest them in morning and store them immediately in refrigerator to avoid spoilage.
Cucumbers are the best choice for those delicious pickles.
These plants are very rewarding to new gardeners because of their productivity and quick maturity.
You can sow cucumbers directly into the beds.
When warm temperature is constant and soil has enough moisture the cucumber seeds can sprout within just five days.
Plant them in sunniest area with a spacing of about 6 feet.
Mix your compost 2 inches deep into the surrounding soil.
Harvest them as soon as you see ideal fruit size.
Pick them regularly because cucumbers have the tendency to double its size in a day.
Snip them, scrub, pat and refrigerate to preserve freshness.
Grapes can grow in almost any weather condition but to produce sweet taste, it needs to thrive in colder climate.
Four to six weeks before spring you can start growing grapes indoors from seeds.
Plant them in the beds in early summer in full sun exposure.
Dig the soil deeply for water drainage and place 2 inches of compost.
Plant them with a 7-9 feet spacing and place trellis for support.
Prune grapes regularly to prevent the growth of disease.
When fruits start maturing from red or white to black or blue, they are ripen and ready for harvest.
Snip the cluster and don’t wash them.
Refrigerate them in closed plastic bags.
Mouth watering and nutritious melons are grown in warm climate.
In a humid weather, melons can mature in just 80-100 days.
They need fertile soil with good drainage and a 3 feet spacing.
Mix 2-inch compost and provide enough water.
You’ll know they’re ready for harvest because melons tend to slip from their vine when they are ripen.
You can easily tug the fruits from the vines.
Keep the melons at room temperature for 3 hours and then move them to refrigerator. This makes to bring out juicy flavor.
This striking fruit grows best during the warm summers.
Plant these spicy seeds indoors for a week before moving them outside.
Pick the spot where the sun is brightest and plant them in fertile, aerated and loosen soil.
Combine an inch of compost with the dirt.
Water them generously.
You can harvest mature peppers in different colors like green, yellow, red and orange.
Snip them from the plant without removing the stub and put them in the freezer.
Straw berries can be grown in ground, raised beds and large containers.
To produce sweet taste, strawberries need to flourish in cold weather.
You’ll need a lot of sun and some row covers to protect the small plantings from extreme weather.
Choose a fertile soil without weeds. Place each plant around 18 inches from another.
Strawberry patches can produce abundantly from three to four years.
They are best harvested in spring time.
Pick them in the morning without removing the short green stub.
Wash them in the running water before eating or refrigerating.
Starter Vegetables for Your Organic Garden:
Beans are dependable vegetables which can be grown in a variety of climates.
Start planting beans in spring by sowing the seeds in rich soil.
You can make additional bean plantings in middle of the summer.
Use garden fork to loosen the soil and mix 1 inch compost.
Seeds should be planted 1 inch deep and be given space of 4 inches.
Don’t harvest mature beans because they are tough and quite difficult to chew.
Gather them while they are still tender and young.
Pole beans should be harvested twice in a week to keep the productivity going.
You can allow them to tan, dry and shelled.
Store the beans in air tight container.
Broccoli thrives in cold weather and you can see the results in either fall or spring.
Sow the seeds indoors for six weeks before spring.
When they are matured to four weeks, transplant them to the bed.
Broccoli requires fertile soil, full sun light and lots of water.
Allow spacing of 18-20 inches between each plant.
When the florets that are around the head begin to loosen, you can harvest.
Carefully cut the stems at a right angle and refrigerate immediately.
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