Ring in Spring With a Touch of Purple and Pink

Sowing Techniques

To raise plants successfully early in the season you will need to keep the sown seeds somewhere warm, such as in an airing cupboard linen closer or a thermostatically controlled propagator, and have somewhere frost free, such as a windowsill or heated green house, to grow them on. Seed is available in various forms, and the method of sowing varies according to the type you are growing. Always check the seed packets for details such as whether the seed needs light to germinate, its sowing depth, germination and growing on temperatures, and use this information as a guide before you start.

Adding A Butterfly Garden To Your Backyard Garden

Butterflies and hummingbirds are a pleasure to watch and you can draw them right to your own back yard with a butterfly garden. Both are attracted by the same things. It wouldn’t be hard at all to dedicate an area in your garden or yard for a small butterfly garden.

Growing Bush Fruit

Gooseberries and currants are more tolerant than many other fruit and can be grown in partial shade, although better crops and earlier harvests will be achieved in full sun. Red and white currants need a well drained site, but black currants can tolerate poorly drained soil. For best results plant bush fruits in a moisture retentive but free draining soil that does not get waterlogged in winter. They can be grown as free standing bushes, novelty hedges or as trained forms against a fence or as trained forms against a fence or other support.

Blackberries And Hybrid Berries

Although blackberries prefer a sunny spot, they are much more tolerant than other types of fruit and can be grown in shade and on any type of soil. Space plants six to ten feet apart depending on the vigor of the variety. Do not plant blackberries too deeply; the soil should only just cover the roots. Blackberries and most hybrid berries need a support. This can be constructed as described for raspberries, but the horizontal wires should be spaced just 12 inches apart, with the lowest wire 3 feet from the ground and the highest wire at about six feet.

Softwood Cuttings

Although softwood cuttings are usually taken in spring, while the plant is putting on new growth that is soft and green, material can also be taken from tender perennials in late summer. These cuttings are then over wintered as rooted cuttings as an insurance against winter losses. Choose healthy, non flowering shoots that are typical of the plant and cut off material just above a leaf joint using sharp knife or pair of scatters. Collect the cuttings early in the day while they are turgid, firm, not wilted and keep in a plastic bag to prevent them wilting.

Spring Cuttings

Many plants, including shrubs and herbaceous plants, can be propagated easily from cuttings. Spring is a good time to take cuttings as the young plants will grow quickly. It is always worth experimenting if there is a plant that you want to propagate but are not sure if softwood or basal cutting is suitable. The chances re that some will root. There are several types of cuttings that make use of plant material in its different stages of development at various times of the year. Softwood and basal cuttings are taken in spring from the new, soft growth.

Sowing Small Seed

Some plants, such as lobelias and impatiens, have dust like seed that is very difficult to sow thinly and evenly. You can make the job a lot easier by mixing the seed with a little dry silver sand before sowing. The sand will effectively dilute the seed, making it easier to sow, and, because it is light in color, you will be able to see which areas of compost have been sown. Sow the seed along the drill, taking care not to sow too thickly, to reduce the amount of thinning that will be necessary.

Planting A Fruit Garden

When choosing which fruit to grow in your garden, consider the position you are intending to plant them in. Select good specimens of reliable and trouble free varieties that you like to eat. It is important to choose healthy and vigorous specimens when you are buying fruit. Whether you buy bare root container grown plants is a matter of personal preference, most varieties are available as both. Garden centers usually offer a limited range, but for the best choice and for unusual varieties or for trained forms you will probably find that you need to visit a specialist nursery.

Pruning And Training

Plums should be pruned in summer to avoid silver leaf disease. Once the basic shape of the tree has been established, cherries and also plums need a very little pruning apart from the actual removal of the dead, diseased or congested growth. Sour cherry is actually produced on the 1 year old wood and it should be pruned after the actual fruit has been harvested. Cut back about one third of the fruiting stems to the first new shoot lower down the stem. Plum and also the sweet cherry tree, on the other hand, manufacture most of their produce at the bottom of one year older and also older shoots.

Pruning And Training – What You Should Know

Gooseberries and currants can be grown as airy, open centered bushes or as cordons against a supporting framework. Goose berries and black currants are produced on shoots that are one or more years old, so bushes will produce a crop even if you do not prune them. However, the stems will soon become very congested and picking will be difficult. After planting goose berry bushes, prune back three or four well spaced side shoots by about half to an upward facing bud. Remove all other shoots. In the following winter cut back two new shoots on each side shoots by about half to form the main framework of the bush and at the same time remove any shoots congesting the center.

Growing Other Tree Fruit

Plum and cherry trees can be grown in a number of ways, ranging from full sizes standards to pyramid bushes. They can also be trained as fans against walls and fences. Fruit trees grow best in a moisture retentive but free draining soil, so it is worth digging in plenty of well rotted organic matter before planting. Cherries, in particular, do not do well on dry or shallow soil. All need full sun to thrive, although acid cherries are more tolerant of shady conditions. Apply a general fertilizer at the rate recommended by the manufacturer, under the canopy of each peach and nectarine tree.

Aquaponics – Companions For Gardening

Gardens and ponds are two parts of the landscape that many think of as separate entities. The truth is that these two are great companions and will work together benefiting each other. Aquaponics, the combination of aquaculture and hydroponics is a method of gardening that is gaining popularity with the home gardener.

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