How to control weeds in the garden

Hints & Tips for weed control in the garden

One: Get to work on weeds as soon as they appear. Try not to let them flower as this means they’re there for the long haul!

Two: Cover empty ground with mulches and a suitable weed control fabric. This will prevent weeds from growing in the first place.

Three: Ready to use weed killers are the most convenient as no mixing is needed. For large areas, choose one with a nozzle.

Four: If the weeds have flowered then put the roots in the bin, otherwise they’ll find a way back to your garden.

Five: If you’re struggling for time, make sure you remove flowering weeds first to prevent them setting seed.

What is weed control fabric?

DIY Matters Weed Control Fabric is a black UV stable nonwoven material, specially designed as a porous, breathable weed suppressing membrane for use under organic mulch, decorative gravel, bark or for lining planters in the garden.

Weed Control Fabric only lets water and nutrients through to your plants, whilst suppressing the growth of unwanted weeds.

Weed Fabric helps to keep the ground moist and protects from extreme temperatures, whilst reducing the need for watering of plants.

Where can I use Weed Control Fabric?

DIY Matters Weed Control is ideal for borders, flower beds, under decking and gravel paths.

It can be finished with bark, mulch, light weight gravel or slate to enhance your outside living space.

What roll sizes is Weed Fabric available in?

Weed control fabric’s come in a variety of sizes.

1m x 10m
1m x 15m
1m x 20m
1m x 50m
1m x 100m
2m folded to 1m x 10m
2m folded to 1m x 20m
2m folded to 1m x 50m
2m folded to 1m x 100m

How do I install Weed Control Fabric?

Step One
Prepare the ground, remove any stones and make sure the area is free from weeds. Rake the soil to a smooth surface.

Step Two
Roll out the weed control fabric over the area & cut to size. For large areas please ensure that there is a 75mm (3″) overlap.
Secure any overlaps with ground pegs.

Step Three
For new plants, cut a cross in the material and pin back where you intend to place the plant. Dig out the soil below and prepare the ground as instructed. Return the Weed Control as close to the base of the plant as possible.

Step Four

Cover with at least 50mm (2″) of bark or mulch.
The fabric can be cut around existing plants, shrubs or trees and underneath hedges.

DIY Matters, a company set up as a subsidiary to one of the largest UK suppliers of non woven landscaping materials. This gives DIY Matters unique access to the finest, most innovative gardening fabrics sourced world wide at unbeatable prices, offering you wholesale prices delivered direct to your door. We have a complete range of weed membrane and driveway control, woven ground cover and Geo-textile ground stabilisation materials supplemented by frost protection fleece and a range of handy DIY and gardening wipes. Added to this is a BBA accredited weathertight roofing membrane and a range of damp proof membrane polythene products. This diverse range is sourced with quality and value for money in mind, ready to be converted and packaged in a UK factory, to offer the best service and flexibility.

Organic Pest Control Recipes

Find Organic Pest Control Recipes and Products That Really Work

The true impact of using chemical pesticides is a concern for many gardeners. What are the long-term effects of gradually adding toxins to your plants, neighborhood, family, health and the environment? By using organic, you can avoid this type of collateral damage. Organic pest control recipes and products don’t contain chemical pesticides or man-made chemicals. They rely on natural ingredients that do not persist in nature the way chemical pesticides do. In fact, organic products will help improve your soil, because they are in greater harmony with the planet.

Is your garden out of control? Are pests literally eating the fruits of your labor?

You have basically two options if you want to grow an organic garden. You can listen to the experts and purchase an effective organic pest killer, or you can experiment with organic pest control recipes.

Organic pest control recipes, as well as commercial products, are a safe, clean and eco-friendly option for decreasing the unwanted guests in your garden.

A Word to the Wise…

Organic pest control recipes are a short-term solution to your pest problems. Their effectiveness depends on the severity of the infestation and the type of pests you’re trying to control. Care should be taken when using multiple organic pest control recipes; you may accidentally kill your beneficial insects, as well as damage your ecosystem. Today, there are many effective insect killers on the market that help control a wider spectrum of pests while safeguarding your soil, plants and the environment. In addition, commercial organic products offer faster and long-term results.

Here are a few organic pest control recipes that you can try at home. The ingredients for all organic pest control recipes can be found in your grocery store or at your local florist.

Organic Pest Control Recipe #1 – Pyrethrum Insecticide

Grow or buy pyrethrum daisies when they are in full bloom. Dry them upside-down in a dry, dark place. Once dry, crush the flowers into a powder using a mortar and pestle. Finer powder will be more effective against insects, although it deteriorates more rapidly. To create a spray, soak 1/3 ounce of powder in 3 quarts of water. Add 3 teaspoons of sesame oil to increase the effectiveness. This organic pest control recipe in spray form gives no more than 48 hours of protection. This can be effective against mosquitoes and a number of other garden pests, but results vary with any home-made solution.

Organic Pest Control Recipe #2 – Alcohol Spray

Make a spray by combining ¾ cup of isopropyl alcohol with ¼ cup of water. Test on a few plants first. If the recipe kills the pests without leaf damage, go ahead and spray further.  This organic pest control recipe can be effective against aphids, thrips and white flies.

Organic Pest Control Recipe #3 – Garlic Spray

Finely chop three cloves of garlic and place into 2 teaspoons of mineral oil for 24 hours. Then add a half-quart of water, straining the mixture into a jar. To make a spray, take 2 tablespoons of the concentrated mixture and add to a ½ quart of water, then apply to the entire surface of a plant. This can be effective against aphids, white flies and some types of caterpillars.

Organic Pest Control Recipe #4 – Salt Spray

Add 2 tablespoons of salt to 1 gallon of water and apply to plants. Test on a few plants first. This organic pest control recipe can be effective against cabbage rot flies and red spiders.

Organic Pest Control Recipe #5 – Elder Spray

Boil 16 ounces of elder leaves with 1 quart of water. Cool, strain and dilute. Spray on plants to keep flies away.

Test All Organic Pest Control Recipes Before Using

As you can see, you might need a few organic pest control recipes to kill all the pests in your garden. You also have to use caution. Test all organic pest control recipes on a few plants before you spray on your entire crop. When mixing the recipes, be careful to add the right amount of each ingredient, especially with alcohol and salt sprays. By adding too much, you can risk damage to your plants. Some trial and error might be necessary to find an organic pest control recipe that works for your problem. Also, remember that home-made solutions need reapplied more often than commercial products.

Forget the Fuss! Purchase an Organic Pest Killer and Get the Job Done

Today, effective organic insect killers are widely available to gardeners who wish to avoid chemical pesticides. The best pest killers rely on powerful ingredients such as Pyrethrins and potassium salts.  Just one of these insecticides will kill a variety of pests plaguing your garden, including aphids, caterpillars, tomato hornworms, bean beetles, asparagus beetles and leaf hoppers. Certified organic products carry the Organic Materials Review Institute-listed®(OMRI) and USDA-approved National Organic Program seals and are safe to use up until the day of harvest. In addition, organic pest killers break down naturally into components which are beneficial to your plants and the planet.

Gardening Tips to Keep Pests Away

Rotate your crops year to year so you do not attract the same bugs and diseases.
Tidy up plant debris at the end of the growing season.
Know your enemy. Learn about common pests and how to combat them.
Know your enemies’ enemy. Introduce beneficial insects into your garden.
Use rich soil to strengthen your plants so they can fight insects and diseases.
Use homemade compost. An organic compost starter can help you get started.
Keep plants pruned.

Growing an organic garden is easier today than ever.  Try a home-made solution, or take the more effective route with a commercial product. Go organic and protect the planet! Happy, healthy gardening!

I am a senior copywriter who enjoys writing about my favorite hobbies.

Pest Control –Mild Safe And Healthy For Your Garden

Organic garden is being adopted by many gardeners and lawn owners.As a gardener or a lawn owner, one should know exactly how to deal with insects like pests in the garden.Organic gardening pest control is safe as it does not contain harmful pesticides and chemicals.There are a variety of organic pest control products available in the market and you can choose from amongst them.Gardens and lawns which have been attacked by diseases of plants generally use sulphur and copper which are not very safe and hence organic pest control has been recommended.

Another safe bet when it comes to organic gardening is compost tea which is becoming increasingly popular.  Compost tea helps in getting rid of diseases in plants.  The greatest advantage of organic gardening and organic pest control is that one need not have to hire the services of a pest control authority; instead one can use the products available in one’s home.  This is light on your pocket as it helps save money and you also have the satisfaction that the ingredients are natural.

Recently, the manufacturers have become more considerate and they mix the right pesticides alongwith borax. When they are used in the right quantity, the products last for a long time and it also works out cheap.

When borate pesticides are used in smaller quantities, they effect is better and the garden or lawn is able to maintain its health.  Organic gardening has a whole lot of benefits as compared to the traditional gardening.  Hence, if you want to make a switch from simple regular gardening to organic gardening, then you are definitely making the right move.  This form of gardening is not only helpful to you but also to the entire environment.

When it comes to pests, the first thing which comes to our mind are fleas, mosquitoes, ticks and lice.  These pests can just barge into your home and garden and cause havoc in our lives.  We need to take care of our homes and the surroundings and this can be achieved by adopting the right pest control measures or else it could result in health problems.  If the house is infested with fleas or there is an insect infestation, your first duty is to get rid of them right away.  Clean up the house and garden by either using a vacuum cleaner or hire the services of a pest control authority for doing the same.

Removing unnecessary things from the garden will help in ensuring that there is less of insect infestation in the lawn.  For your home, you can use insecticides like permethrin of about 0.5% and spray it on fabrics and curtains.  This will ensure that the house remains bug free.  Fleas are a great menace and so are ticks.  If your pet has ticks, then the best thing is to ensure that the garden grass is kept short.

Troy lawn care and Troy perimeter pest control ensure that they attend to customers requirements of lawn maintenance by using the latest techniques and practices.

Garden pest control can definitely be a sensitive subject

Garden pest control has begun to chase its eminence among many people all over the world. It’s because there are various pests that attacking most people’s garden and lawn. And the most effective and efficient way to prevent the plant population from those lawn pests is through this Pest Control NJ.

This article will mainly talk about some of the garden pest control advice and tips that you should be conscious of. Currently, it’s not only the garden pest control that needs to be paid attention to, but also the garden insect control as well. The lawn pests have proliferated from several of the chemicals that are provided to the plants.

Controlling Garden Pests

Garden pest control can definitely be a sensitive subject. At times, you might feel as though you have done anything in your power to reduce those pesky insects, only to realize that your efforts are to no benefit. Also, the most important thing to know when it comes to Pest Control NJ is that to get rid of and control the insect pests in the lawn. You can begin by diagnosing the underlying growing problem which is affecting the symptom of pest attack.

On the other words, you have got to find out what you’re doing wrong with your really go away on their own, rather than just having to come up with the many pests over and over again. This is cannot control and reduce the insect pests since you’re not dealing with the crucial and actual underlying problem you are just doing it superficially. One more thing you can do is testing the pH of the soil regularly since this is frequently the underlying cause of many people’s lawn pests’ difficulty. This way, you have already done the Pest Control NJ action.

Pest Control NJ Products

There are some really wonderful and terrific garden pest controls products available out there that you can use to care for pests problem in your garden and lawn. Just to ensure that you’re conscious of the problem you’re trying to come up with so that you can choose the perfect and the best product for your requirements. Asking to the experts is always being a good choice for deciding the right garden Pest Control NJ products.

Also keep in mind that there are also numerous organic Pest Control NJ control products available out there that you can buy. This garden Pest Control NJ will be safer and gentler for your plants and the environment. Although there are numerous types of products of pest control have been sold out there, people tend to use these organic Pest Control NJ products that are free from several harmful chemicals.

Don’t be trapped in doubt. Have more knowledge about garden pest control and get yourself updated with it by clicking the links here!

You can learn more about Pest Control NJ online. Take advantage of an informative information and what’s new that you can find by finding organic pest control on http://www.debugitpestcontrol.com.

Tips for Safe Pest Control

Pests have become a major problem in India. They have become a peril in every area of human occupation. They are a constant cause to several diseases and damage to valuable properties. So pest control in India is very necessary. A campaign at large scale should be done in India to control pests. There are several chemicals available in the market today which are often used for control the pests. But people should use chemicals carefully and utmost safety. Because there are some side effects of chemicals used in controlling pests. Generally chemical used for controlling insects etc are poisonous, so people should use them with utmost safety. Here are some important tips for using insect control. These informative tips can give you an insight into everything you need to know about safe use of insect control chemicals.

Insect control chemicals must be done with utmost care and safety. It does not matter where you are using – in your household items or your vegetable gardens. Remember, chemicals using for controlling insects are toxic so be careful. So, before using them you should use hand globe. After finishing task you should wash your hands with soaps or shampoos. I think if you do not mind on your budget you can hire a professional for using chemicals of insect control.

You should not involve your children while you are using chemicals of insect control. Keep your children far away from such chemicals.

If you are using insect killer chemicals on your household items or kitchen utensil, use them 4 or 5 hour later after washing and cleaning them well. You should wash your kitchen utensils with washing soaps or liquids of good quality.

Use insect or pest control chemicals in your vegetable gardens carefully. Don’t spread of chemicals in overdose. It may cause to damage of your vegetable plants. Use vegetables after at least one week.

Use of insect killer chemicals in furniture should be also used with utmost care. Use chemicals in appropriate quantity. Don’t use in excessive quantity.

Be sure chemicals you are going to use for pest or insect control are specifically prepared for the insects or pest you are targeting. In today market specific insect killer or control chemical are available. Such as today cockroach killer, rat killer, fly killer, mosquito killer, etc are available in the market.

You should consider substitute of chemical insect killer. For example you can use kerosene, solution of detergent powder, etc to kill some types of insects. You can use leaves of Tulsi, Neem, etc as the substitute of chemical insect killer in food grains.

To avoid disadvantages of chemical insect control you should use biological and organic insect killer. Biological or organic pest controls are safe and harmless.

So, you can make safe pest control by following above mentioned tips. Surly it will be useful for you. There are several companies in Delhi which offer services like pest control in Delhi, insect control, etc. Delhi pest control companies are well known for their quality products.

Michael John is an eminent analyst and writer. He has authored several books Pest Control in Delhi and Delhi Pest Control.

Termite Pest Control and Cockroach Pest Control

Now he is rendering his services to http://www.pestcontrolindelhi.com

Organic Crabgrass Control

Organic Crabgrass Control

There are two kinds of Crabgrass: ‘Big, Large, Hairy Crabgrass’ (Digitaria sanguinalis) and ‘Small or Smooth Crabgrass’ (Digitaria ischaemum).  

                          

                                              Big or Large or Hairy Crabgrass

What does it look like?

The big brother of smooth crabgrass, this weed is just as unappealing, and perhaps a bit more difficult to deal with. It is a warm-season, annual grass weed, light green in color with a prostrate growth pattern.

When, where, and how does it grow?

Large crabgrass is found throughout the country, growing in the spring when soil temperatures reach 55°-58°F for 4-5 consecutive days. It is very hardy, returning each year from the prolific seedbed it leaves in the soil.

One single Big Crabgrass plant growing in your Lawn will produce 150,000 seeds before the end of the season.  Many of them will be dormant and viable for several years.  Another problem with Big Crabgrass; their roots produce a toxin that tends to kill off turf grass.  As you can see the picture above, there is no other growth around the Big Crabgrass weed.

                               

                                                       Small Crabgrass Seeds

                                 

                                                          Small Crabgrass

Both crabgrass varieties require full sun (they won’t grow in the shade).   Once the crabgrass weeds have been removed (I have found that cutting the leaves and stems and digging out the root to be the best avenue).  Fill the hole with potting soil and let your grass grow and cut long.  Mowing high is important because the length of the roots is determined by the height of the Grass.  If you mow at 2 1/2 inches, the roots will grow 2 1/2 inches long.  Let the grass provide the needed shade while eliminating room for weed roots.  Higher grass with longer roots gives you weaker weeds.

There are many chemical/synthetic herbicides and pre-emergent weed treatments that control weeds, but at a cost to your grass.  They kill off the natural soil bacteria and enzymes that keep your grass healthy.  Chemical/synthetic fertilizers do the same.  For a healthy, flush lawn go organic.  Organic products are healthier for you, your kids, pets, and the environment.

Crabgrasses are the most common annual grass weeds in most lawns. Both the smooth and hairy types of crabgrass are classified as summer annual weeds. These grass weeds are considered undesirable in quality lawns because of incompatibility with desirable turf grasses.     

Pre-emergent herbicides are chemicals that prevent the germinating weeds from establishing in the lawn. These herbicides control annual grass weeds by inhibiting cell division in the young root system. The failure of the root system to develop results in the death of the young seedling weeds shortly after germination.

Lawns with thin stands of grass that do not provide 100 percent cover may require yearly applications of a pre-emergent herbicide to prevent the invasion of crabgrass and other annual grass weeds. Dense, high-quality lawns may not need yearly applications since crabgrass only occasionally establishes in lawns with good density.

Pre-emergent herbicides are generally only effective if applied before the annual grass weeds emerge. Therefore, early spring applications are essential if satisfactory weed control is to be achieved. Herbicide applications should be completed and the herbicide watered-in at least 7 days prior to the initial germination date to allow time for the herbicide barrier to be established in the soil.

Pre-emergent herbicide applications for annual bluegrass control should be made in late summer or early fall.

If you have a pre-emergent herbicide applied to your lawn in the spring, you cannot reseed easily until the fall. Should the occasion arise where it is absolutely necessary to apply seed after a pre-emergent herbicide has been applied, rake the area thoroughly to help break the chemical shield in place. Apply some peat moss and rake in, then reseed.

I use Gluten-8 Organic Liquid Fertilizer is one of nature’s best organic fertilizers and, it is also one of the best pre-emergent weed controllers.  This product offers excellent weed control without the harmful effects of chemical/synthetic herbicides.

90 common lawn weeds with picture identification

Visit out site for all your organic lawn and garden needs and tips

 

The author has been involved in lawn care for over 25 years.  Owns and operates Stout Services Lawn Care Plus in South Carolina. 

He can be contacted at (843) 639-5229 or emailed at store@swstout.com.

Product Web Site:http://www.theorganiclawncarestore.com/

Organic Weed Control

Weeds are a problem for almost everyone. Controlling them without harming pets or the environment can be done if you use certain techniques. Organic weed control is becoming more and more popular because it is cheap, safe for the environment and it works!

The most obvious way to get rid of weeds in your yard or garden is to simply remove them by hand. There is actually a technique to this that will help you better control weed growth. If you simply pull the weed out, you can break off roots, allowing the weed to grow right back. Using a shovel or spade does the same thing. Cutting roots can actually allow each root to grow its own plant, causing the weeds to only multiply. Use a small forked garden tool to gently work the roots up out of the soil without damaging them and the weed will not grow back.

If weeds are in your lawn, there is a very simple and safe solution. Mow your grass before weeds have a chance to seed. You may have to be very dedicated to mowing on a schedule, even twice a week, to avoid maturing weeds that can spread. One good thing about weeds is that they add drainability to the soil. This will help your grass to quickly choke out cut weeds. As weeds are eliminated, nitrogen will return to the soil making your grass more aggressively take over future weeds. Make sure that your mower is on a high setting so that your grass will keep cut weeds shaded. Weeds need a lot of sun and cannot grow if the grass is high. Grass that is left longer will also grow slower because it is not in a hurry to make more nutrients for the roots.

You may notice that weeds shoot up after a rain. They love water and can quickly take water from your grass. Make sure that you spot check your lawn after a rain and get rid of any new weeds. Do not water your lawn unless your grass starts to wilt over or seriously dry out. This will help starve out weeds that are waiting to spring up.

Using the right fertilizer can help keep weeds under control. If you have a lot of dandelions, chances are your soil pH is too high. Adding a thin dusting of lime will bring the pH back down to where your grass likes it and the dandelions do not. Use organic compost or organic fertilizers to avoid creating a perfect weed habitat. Weeds generally pop up where grass has a short coming. Creating the right environment for grass will help ensure that weak spots do not occur.

Check with your local nursery to identify weeds. Change your lawn according to which weeds are thriving and your grass can take over. Keep items picked up off of your lawn to avoid creating a weak spot where weeds can grow. For example, leaving your garden hose lying on the ground can block out light, killing grass and creating a perfect spot for a weed to take hold. Use a hose reel to keep your water hose up off of the ground and neatly stored away. When your soil is right, your lawn will be right, without the use of harmful chemicals.

About the Author: Stacy Pessoney is an award winning author and writer of web content for many different web sites. She is well versed in many different areas, including gardening, hose reel, lawn care and landscaping.

Community Gardens Fertilizing and Pest Control Part 4

If you have been following this series on Community Gardens, you have thus far read about what community garden is, how to organize one in your community garden, what types of rules and concepts need to be decided upon before putting your organization together and how to choose your gardening site. You also have read about the amount of chores required to prepare a garden site and maintain it.

This article will focus on how to keep your garden site fertilized correctly as well as protect it from pests.

To start, one must understand some basics of gardening. If you are creating a community garden, it is most likely you already understand this. For those who are reading this article and are interested in participating in a community garden, who have never gardened before –this information is for you.

When it comes to growing healthy plants and food, you must have healthy soil. Soil requires a certain blend of nutrients to feed your plants. One way to maintain healthy nutrients in the soil is to not plant the same plants over and over in the same place. Why? Certain plants require a lot of one type of nutrient from the soil and can deplete the soil before long, if not rotated out.  For example, corn requires a lot of nitrogen. Planting corn over and over again, without feeding the soil, could deplete it of the nitrogen it could need the next growing season.

Your garden soil must maintain the three major nutrients, which are nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), and potassium (K). Adding fertilizer can help sustain these nutrients and replenish them year after year. There are four basic types of fertilizers used for this, they include composts, animal manures, natural or organic fertilizers, and chemical fertilizers.

How do you know what your garden soil needs? You can take a soil test and the results will show you what you may be lacking. These tests can be very effective when conducted in the Fall.  If you add your fertilizer or needed nutrients before winter, they will have plenty of time to be absorbed before the spring planting. Manure, in particular, which has not been composted, should never be applied when vegetable or fruit plants are mature, because it can infect plants with bacteria that could make you sick if you consume them.

Chemical or artificial fertilizers should be avoided if at all possible, because the regular use of them can actually impede the soil’s ability to hold nutrients. Overuse of chemical fertilizers in conventional agricultural practices and turf grass management has also been proven to have negative effects on soil and water resources. For healthy plants and people, ditch the chemicals!

Now for pest control.  While there are many beneficial insects that your plants rely on to keep them healthy and productive, there are also some insects and animals that will harm your garden by attacking the leaves, fruits, or roots of your plants. Each state and region is different in regards to the pest problems they might face, so check with your local gardening associations, or agricultural agencies to find out what garden pests are most common.

Once you discover what you are facing, there are only a few methods you will use to protect your plants. These include physical control, cultural control, biological control and chemical control.

Physical control means that you have to physically keep pests out of your garden with barriers and traps. You can also remove pests by hand on a one-by-one basis.

For large pests such as deer and rabbits, you can install fencing or mesh and wire barriers. The mesh and wire will also help protect your seedlings from birds.

Companion planting is another natural way to practice pest control. This is one of the oldest and most well known types of control. For example, you can plant marigolds to ward off flying pests and nematodes, but many other plants can do the job as well. Chives, coriander, and nasturtium can help ward off aphids; rosemary and sage keep carrot flies at bay; hyssop, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme keep cabbage moths out of your garden.

Last is chemical. Chemical controls should only be relied on as a last resort, because they can harm the soil and the beneficial insects that you need in your garden. Chemicals are also expensive, and will be washed off of your garden when it rains where they can pollute groundwater and waterways like streams and rivers. Use chemicals only if you can find no other way to cope with the pests in your garden, and then do so sparingly. Insect-specific chemical treatments, like slug pellets or Japanese beetle traps, will have little or no impact on the beneficial insects in your garden, but these can still have negative environmental consequences. Always make sure to read instructions carefully, and use only the minimum amounts recommended.

Gardening takes time and care, but it can be done easily with a little information and some practice. Keeping a journal of your gardening experiments, noting what works and doesn’t work can also be beneficial as you progress with your community garden.

About the Author: Pamela Ravenwood is a freelance writer, journalist, and writing coach who lives in the desert. In addition to spending her days writing, she also loves to tend to her organic garden where she grows as much of her own food as possible. In this, she counts on her cord reel to keep her hoses from drying out from the desert heat.

Community Gardens Fertilizing and Pest Control

If you have been following this series on Community Gardens, you have thus far read about what community garden is, how to organize one in your community garden, what types of rules and concepts need to be decided upon before putting your organization together and how to choose your gardening site. You also have read about the amount of chores required to prepare a garden site and maintain it.

This article will focus on how to keep your garden site fertilized correctly as well as protect it from pests.

To start, one must understand some basics of gardening. If you are creating a community garden, it is most likely you already understand this. For those who are reading this article and are interested in participating in a community garden, who have never gardened before –this information is for you.

When it comes to growing healthy plants and food, you must have healthy soil. Soil requires a certain blend of nutrients to feed your plants. One way to maintain healthy nutrients in the soil is to not plant the same plants over and over in the same place. Why? Certain plants require a lot of one type of nutrient from the soil and can deplete the soil before long, if not rotated out.  For example, corn requires a lot of nitrogen. Planting corn over and over again, without feeding the soil, could deplete it of the nitrogen it could need the next growing season.

Your garden soil must maintain the three major nutrients, which are nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), and potassium (K). Adding fertilizer can help sustain these nutrients and replenish them year after year. There are four basic types of fertilizers used for this, they include composts, animal manures, natural or organic fertilizers, and chemical fertilizers.

How do you know what your garden soil needs? You can take a soil test and the results will show you what you may be lacking. These tests can be very effective when conducted in the Fall.  If you add your fertilizer or needed nutrients before winter, they will have plenty of time to be absorbed before the spring planting. Manure, in particular, which has not been composted, should never be applied when vegetable or fruit plants are mature, because it can infect plants with bacteria that could make you sick if you consume them.

Chemical or artificial fertilizers should be avoided if at all possible, because the regular use of them can actually impede the soil’s ability to hold nutrients. Overuse of chemical fertilizers in conventional agricultural practices and turf grass management has also been proven to have negative effects on soil and water resources. For healthy plants and people, ditch the chemicals!

Now for pest control.  While there are many beneficial insects that your plants rely on to keep them healthy and productive, there are also some insects and animals that will harm your garden by attacking the leaves, fruits, or roots of your plants. Each state and region is different in regards to the pest problems they might face, so check with your local gardening associations, or agricultural agencies to find out what garden pests are most common.

Once you discover what you are facing, there are only a few methods you will use to protect your plants. These include physical control, cultural control, biological control and chemical control.

Physical control means that you have to physically keep pests out of your garden with barriers and traps. You can also remove pests by hand on a one-by-one basis.

For large pests such as deer and rabbits, you can install fencing or mesh and wire barriers. The mesh and wire will also help protect your seedlings from birds.

Companion planting is another natural way to practice pest control. This is one of the oldest and most well known types of control. For example, you can plant marigolds to ward off flying pests and nematodes, but many other plants can do the job as well. Chives, coriander, and nasturtium can help ward off aphids; rosemary and sage keep carrot flies at bay; hyssop, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme keep cabbage moths out of your garden.

Last is chemical. Chemical controls should only be relied on as a last resort, because they can harm the soil and the beneficial insects that you need in your garden. Chemicals are also expensive, and will be washed off of your garden when it rains where they can pollute groundwater and waterways like streams and rivers. Use chemicals only if you can find no other way to cope with the pests in your garden, and then do so sparingly. Insect-specific chemical treatments, like slug pellets or Japanese beetle traps, will have little or no impact on the beneficial insects in your garden, but these can still have negative environmental consequences. Always make sure to read instructions carefully, and use only the minimum amounts recommended.

Gardening takes time and care, but it can be done easily with a little information and some practice. Keeping a journal of your gardening experiments, noting what works and doesn’t work can also be beneficial as you progress with your community garden.

About the Author: Pamela Ravenwood is a freelance writer, journalist, and writing coach who lives in the desert. In addition to spending her days writing, she also loves to tend to her organic garden where she grows as much of her own food as possible. In this, she counts on her cord reel to keep her hoses from drying out from the desert heat.

Community Gardens – Watering and Weed Control In Your Garden

As we continue our Community Garden series, we will now discuss the importance of properly watering your garden as well as understanding the best way to weed it. One would think these two topics are quite self-explanatory, but, there are some methods to each one can consider.

When it comes to watering your garden, to get the best saturation in the ground, one should water early morning or late in the evening. Watering during the day could lead to a lot of water that just evaporates and doesn’t go into the ground. If you live in an area where water is costly or you are cautious of how much water you use do to its scarcity, you can also consider using a drip line (a hose or tape with holes in it). Using drip lines will help you minimize water loss and deliver the water exactly to where it is needed, at the roots.

Keeping the water on the ground, rather than spraying your plants, will help keep water off of leaves, fruits and flowers. This is important when it is hot as it will do little to benefit the plant and may lead to scorching.

Other water conservation tactics include:

•    Plant only plants that are well-adapted to your area and the average rainfall in your region
•    Place mulch over the soil. This will help hold in the ground’s moisture
•    Weed regularly, because weeds will pull moisture from your plants
•    Install a rain catchments system to make the most of rainfall
•    Use drip irrigation to minimize evaporation
•    Avoid planting or transplanting during dry spells
•    Enhance sandy soils with organic mater, to improve moisture retention

When it comes to watering, each type of plant has its own moisture needs. You can do some research and find out which plants require more or less amounts of water. It would be most efficient for you to give your garden a good soaking once a week, which will penetrate deep into the soil, rather than watering just a little bit each day.

Now for weed control, which will also help you conserve water.

Weeds are problematic for every gardener, not only do they rob the ground of water but also the surrounding plants of nutrients and sunlight. To keep your weeds at bay, try to remove this as soon as they come up, typically they begin in early spring and summer. This will keep them from going to seed and replanting themselves. You may want to make sure to remove the entire weed – including its root – because some plants are able to re-grow from just a small piece of root.

If possible, weed during hot, dry periods, because the weeds will be easy to remove and will wither on the surface. When using a hoe, try to dig as shallowly as possible, to avoid disturbing the roots of your garden plants.

If you are going to use weed killer or chemicals on your weeds, follow some basic rules such as apply weed killer in the spring, when it will kill newly emerging weeds and prevent re-growth of new ones for a few months; do not apply weed killer on a windy day, when chemicals can be carried onto other plants, or cover plants with plastic sheeting during application; if you apply weed killer in the vicinity of edibles, only eat fruits and vegetables once they have been thoroughly cleansed with a produce wash.

Putting chemicals on your weeds should be your last resort as it can be harmful to your vegetables and the groundwater.

Between watering your garden properly and weeding it by the suggestions outlined above, your garden should be quite healthy and resilient whereupon you will produce large yummy vegetables to eat.

About the Author: Pamela Ravenwood is a freelance writer, journalist, and writing coach who lives in the desert. In addition to spending her days writing, she also loves to tend to her organic garden where she grows as much of her own food as possible. In this, she counts on her cord reel to keep her hoses from drying out from the desert heat.