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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.
What is important to gardeners, is how colors clash with or complement one another and the distinction between warm and cool colors.
Choosing Plants
  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.
  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.

flower color wheel

 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. 
  1.   Shading the soil keeps weeds from spouting. It keeps dirt from splattering onto the leaves. 
  2.   It helps keep the soil loose and as it rots away it improves the texture and fertility of the soil. 
  3.    It shades and cools the soil in summer reducing evaporation. In winter, it can reduce cold damage.
  Compost 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 grow.
  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.
  Compost  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.
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