Written with netscape composer.
Author does not claim master
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Garden Tips and Links
Watering with a water wand is a gentle way of hand watering
with a hose.
Hand watering is effective if you have the
time or only a few plants. A hose with watering wand works well.
Sprinklers cover large areas but use large
amounts of water. Some spots get more than others. The wind can cause bad
distribution and rapid evaporation. Sprinklers that oscillate are best
used for yards and large flower beds. Better coverage can be achieved by moving the sprinkler every 15 to 30 minutes.
Sprinkler hoses, with many small holes
that allow small streams to squirt out, are a little slower but give one
more control. Good for narrow beds. Large beds require many feet of hose.
Soaker hoses, with numerous small pores,
efficiently use water, but they take a long time and water only a narrow
band, about eight inches gets water. They are best used by snaking them along larger plants and shrubs.
Watering is best during cooler parts of
the day. About an inch a week is needed during the growing season.
Gardeners should take the watering requirements
of various plants, some require much more than others. Expect to water
three times a week during the hottest periods.
Pick plants that have green, healthy leaves
and stems. Smaller, denser plants are likely to adjust to transplanting
more easily. Avoid any plants that have soft or discolored places. Avoid
any that have insect or disease damage.
What is important to gardeners, is how colors clash with or complement one another and the distinction between warm and cool colors.
If you can, pull down the pot. If you
find a very dense ball of roots, the plant is root bound and won't do as
well. Look for healthy roots that don't fill the pot completely.
Plants that are just opening their buds
are a better choice than those in full bloom the color will last longer.
If a plant is showing fresh new growth
(which is usually lighter in color), it is an indication of health. If
a plant has been grown in too little light, the stems are elongated and
the leaves are widely spaced.
Choosing the colors and varieties of flowers lets you express your personality and artisitic preferences or whatever looks fun to you.
A color wheel is a diagramatic way of showing relationships between colors. Colors on the right side of the wheel are warm. Colors on the left side are cool. Colors adjacent to one another are analogous. Opposite colors are complementary.
When to Plant
Who can predict the weather? In gardening, you can only go by the
average growing season for your area. In Oklahoma City, the last
killing frost usually occurs in the first 10 days of April.
The first frost averages November 4. But those are just averages.
In 1999, the killing frost didn't happen until November 24.
The season can be extended by protecting plants on frosty nights.
You can also start early by planting indoors in pots a few weeks
before it is safe to put plants outside. Jiffy pots made of compressed
peat moss are convenient way to start early. Put starting mix or potting
soil in them, plant the seeds, water them, and set by a sunny window. When
the plants reach four inches, set outdoors. The pot will rot and the roots
will grow through it into the soil.
Plants are rated by zone
as to the winter cold they can withstand. Oklahoma City is in zone 7. Plants
rated 1-7 should survive winters there.
The back of seed packages
contains useful information.
It tells the gardener when to
plant as well as spacing and
depth for planting the seeds.
Garden fork, spade, and trowel
Dig new flower beds deeply, a foot if possible. Use a shovel
or garden fork. Remove all weeds
and be especially careful to remove every piece of bermuda grass and similar
plants that resprout from the smallest piece. Use a garden trowel for transplanting
and working in soil additives like manure.
A rake can be used to level and smooth the bed. Carefully
hand pull weeds that are close to a flower. Plant roots grow most
easily in soil that is kept loose, they need air as well as water and soil.
Sprays are also an option for weed control.
Much ado About Mulch
One of the most helpful techniques a gardener
can use is mulching. Adding a few inches of organic material such as wood
chips or grass clippings to the top of the soil has a number of benefits.
Wood chips, grass clippings, leaves and pine needles make
fine mulching materials.
Shading the soil keeps
weeds from spouting. It keeps dirt from splattering onto the leaves.
It helps keep the soil
loose and as it rots away it improves the texture and fertility of the
It shades and cools the soil in summer reducing evaporation. In winter,
it can reduce cold damage.
is the Most
It may not be nice to fool with mother nature,
but who says you can't give her a helping hand? Plants grow in soil
so it stands to reason that the better the soil the better the plant will
Most soils are either sandy or mostly
clay. The best way to improve either is to add large amounts of organic
material - manure and all that crap. It improves the fertility and helps
hold moisture as well as making the soil easier to cultivate.
is partially rotted material, manure, grass clippings, leaves, newspaper,
etc. You can buy bags of compost that contain no weed seeds from a garden
center or just make your own.
A compost pile, usually about four feet by four, is a stack
of organic material left to decompose. Keeping it slightly moist
and mixing the pile monthly speeds the process.
Expect it to take six months to a year. Mix the compost into
the bed before planting.
Trouble in Paradise
Even a perfect garden has some flaws and no
paradise is free of those wishing to spoil it. Some gardeners engage in
a carefully plotted all out war against insect
pests and diseases.
I tend to be a little more laid back.
If a plant comes under constant attack, I tend to grow another type next
year. I do launch a low scale guerilla war by trying natural techniques, and occasionally I even try chemicals.