Category Archives: Gardening

Why You Need To Have Soil Testing

Image result for soil testing


The quantity and quality of what you can develop in your garden is dependent upon the quality of its soil. Plants are only as healthy as the soil they are grown in. If you wish to plant a healthy garden filled with beautiful flowers and good things to eat, then you may need fertile, well-drained soil. You will have to determine what your soil needs and perhaps perform some work to help it along.

The main nutrients that are tested include phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen. Supplementary nutrients include magnesium, sulfur and calcium, whilst minor nutrients include aluminum, zinc, manganese, boron, iron and molybdenum. The testing won’t end there, for the reason that soil properties also needs to be tested. Physical properties including soil moisture, electrical conductivity, soil acidity or alkalinity, and organic soil matter all need to be observed.

One of the major issues of obtaining a garden are over-fertilization and abnormal plant growth. This can cause to dreadful diseases. While soil testing helps reduce water pollution, when nutrients are put through by plants (that they don’t require) the tendency is it is scattered through groundwater which frequently takes place during thunderstorms and torrential rain typhoons.

Based on the test, you may assess the nutritional level the test shows. In the event the test result indicated that the nutrient levels are below what they should be, then you need to fertilize your grasses. Try not to over fertilize your lawn as excessive fertilizing may cause your lawn to be burnt. Incorporating compost will help increase the nutrient level yet the release of nutrients is rather slow. You can also utilize inorganic fertilizers to boost the nutrients level.

The soil testing kit can be used to test the PH level present in the agricultural land. It’s important to be aware of the PH level within the land to present some types of crops. The PH level should neither be too low nor too high non-absorption of nutrients by the soil.

Moreover, the existence of harmful weeds as well as the emergence of pathogen is being traced in soil testing. A couple of testing kits may find out these damaging elements in order that it might help cease crop cultivation and multiplication of harmful weeds.

Testing kits to evaluate the level of nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous, moisture, saline content and PH level can be purchased today. The sample of the land ought to be collected six inches beneath the surface. It is very important never to touch the sample with your bare hands as results can vary as a result of presence of external factors. Several testing kits have a variety of accessories for conducting the tests.

Efficient Fertilizer Use Guide Soil ph

Good soil quality is vital to the success of any planting endeavor. Aside from that, having healthy soil can give better air quality and clean water.


Soil pH is a measure of the acidity and alkalinity in soils. pH levels range from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral, below 7 acidic and above 7 alkaline. The optimal pH range for most plants is between 5.5 and 7.0; however, many plants have adapted to thrive at pH values outside this range. Because pH levels control many chemical processes that take place in the soil – specifically, plant nutrient availability – it is vital to maintain proper levels for your plants to reach their full yield potential.


Soil Acidity

An acid is defined as a substance that tends to release hydrogen ions (H+). Conversely, a base is defined as a substance that releases hydroxyl ions (OH). All acids contain hydrogen ions, and the strength of the acid depends upon the degrees of ionization (release of hydrogen ions) of the acid. The more hydrogen ions held by the exchange complex of a soil in relation to the basic ions (Ca, Mg, K) held, the greater the acidity of the soil.

NOTE: Aluminum (Al) also contributes to soil acidity, but for simplicity, further discussion of soil acidity will be limited to H as the cause of soil acidity.

Source: IPNI

Desirable Soil pH for Optimum Crop Production pH Range

The desirable pH range for optimum plant growth varies among crops. While some crops grow best in the 6.0 to 7.0 range, others grow well under slightly acidic conditions. Soil properties that influence the need for and response to lime vary by region. A knowledge of the soil and the crop is important in managing soil pH for the best crop performance.

Soils become acidic when basic elements such as calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium held by soil colloids are replaced by hydrogen ions. Soils formed under conditions of high annual rainfall are more acidic than are soils formed under more arid conditions. Thus, most southeastern soils are inherently more acidic than soils of the Midwest and far West.

Soils formed under low rainfall conditions tend to …


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If you gardened before, chances are you have some seeds laying around that you never planted. You might wonder if they’re worth planting this year, or if you should just buy new seeds.


Here are some good tips for germinating seeds that are hard to start or are having trouble germinating. Have some patience though as it could take anywhere from three days to three weeks for a seed to germinate. Some of these tricks I would only use if the seed has not sprouted after two to three weeks or if you have a few seeds in reserve from a batch that haven’t germinated.

Seeds are comprised of an outer hard layer and an embryo which is inside the hard shell. The reason that older seeds don’t germinatem well is that the shell has become to hard and water is unable to penetrate, this process of imbibition is the start of the germination process. The seed will swell with water and eventually the shell will pop open and a small tap root will erupt.

One thing i wouldn’t do is to germinate your seeds on a paper towel. White paper is filled with bleach and other chemicals and is not a good thing for your plants. Use small jiffy starter blocks or a light soil:

1. Dilute 10ml (roughly one tsp) of Fulvic acid per litre (33 oz) of water. 

2. Scuff the outer shell of the seed with some sand paper. Roll up a small cigar or sand paper or line a match box and gently shake the seeds over it. This will create micro abrasions letting in more water.



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Tips in Growing Indoor Orchids

Orchids are perfect flowers and enjoyed by many people from around the globe. They have a certain charm which is not usually seen from other flowers. Despite the fact that orchids do not have interesting scents like roses, lilies or lavenders, they flourish in a wide array of colors that attracts anybody who sees them.

If you’re taking into consideration growing orchids in the homes utilizing artificial light, there are particular things which you must do to guarantee your success in growing healthy and exquisite orchids. The process you’ll face is worthwhile once you see your beautiful home-grown orchids in full bloom. Here are several tips which can be done to raise healthy orchids in your house.

(C) Pinterest

• Cautiously select the type of orchids to plant and grow. There are lots of places to find the orchids. However, it is advisable that you ought to shop for the orchids at a good nursery. This is because at the nursery you’ll be provided with ample information regarding the different types of orchids available. Choose the plants with bright green, beautiful looking leaves, because they indicate healthy orchid plants.

• When you grow orchids, devote some time read on the right means of lighting, watering, fertilizations, and proper potting.

• Acquire help in raising your orchids. These are very sensitive plants that require a lot of care. Being familiar with every facet of the plant will allow you to in making them grow fully bloom. You may enlist the help of a friend who’s got prior experience of orchid planting. You may also ask a local nursery or garden center since they can help you on this, and also at the same time they can teach you about the key growing steps that you have to know.

• Providing humidity for your orchids is yet another think to keep in mind when caring for orchids indoors. This can be accomplished by placing a humidifier in the area or putting the pots on a wide container with moist gravel. Just make sure the pots are not left standing in water, as it can cause fungus, diseases and root rot.

• An orchid doesn’t need watering daily, once every five days might be sufficient, and they could survive for up to 2 weeks without water. Different orchids will however have unique necessities, so ensure you know as much as possible regarding your plant.

20 Creative DIY Plant Labels & Markers

Garden markers are small marking planted into your nursery to remind you of the seeds that you planted at a particular point. These markers are ideal in nurseries or home gardens where a mixture of seeds are planted.


Looking for some inspiration for DIY plant labels? Plant markers are quick and easy to make. Try repurposing everyday items like pebbles, bamboo skewers, corks, containers, shells, cans and even broken terracotta pots. There are loads of creative ideas and I’ve rounded up 20 low cost and decorative options to inspire you to make your own DIY plant labels.


20 Creative DIY ideas for DIY plant labels and markers | The Micro Gardener

I use labels regularly even though I can identify most plants in my patch.


My husband, however … let’s just say (kindly) that he gets somewhat ‘confused’ when so many plants look similar in the garden!


Basil & rosemary | The Micro Gardener

This must be the explanation for why he brings in rosemary when I ask for basil (are these remotely similar??)


Plant labels are a must if you:

  • are growing food (and are reliant on family members to pick your produce!);
  • have UFOs (Unidentified Food Objects) in your garden;
  • are learning to identify plants or save seeds;
  • share an allotment; or
  • want to avoid losing your bulbs every year!

Plant Labelling Tips & Techniques


1) What do you want the plant label to look like?

  • Do you prefer a decorative marker for a special plant that doubles as garden art?
  • Or just something functional and cheap? No fuss + no frills!


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6 Gardening Habits You’re Probably Doing Wrong

Gardening errors are common even amongst the prolific gardeners. Once into a certain habit it’s a bit hard to break that habit.


“Gardening is so easy!” said no one with a black thumb ever. Regardless of where your thumb falls on the green to black spectrum, it’s possible you’ve picked up some bad gardening habits over the years. Don’t worry, though. It’s not your fault. There is a ton of bad and/or outdated gardening advice floating around in the Google-sphere. So make sure you are avoiding these mistakes, and then sit back and watch your beautiful garden bloom.


1. Rocks and Pebbles a Well-Drained Pot Does Not Make

Broken plant pot pieces

You can’t throw a rock without hitting this piece of gardening pot advice: Rocks, pebbles, or broken crockery at the bottom of a pot encourages proper drainage.

However, this is not true. If you’re putting rocks or pebbles or broken crockery at the bottom of your pots, stop! It turns out not only does adding drainage material not work, but it’s probably having the opposite effect.Actual scientists discovered “water does not move easily from layers of finer textured materials to layers of more coarse textured.”

In plain English, what ends up happening is the water won’t easily drain because of the stuff you added and your plant’s roots end up sitting in soggy soil. Your best bet is to get a good potting soil. That way water has a better chance of draining.

2. Gardeners Who Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail

Every wannabe gardener has at one point or another wandered through the nearby nursery and whipped out a credit card to buy all the pretty flowers in sight. But did you know you shouldn’t go buying just any old plant willy-nilly without a plan? Before you jump the gun and buy whatever strikes your fancy, you need to consider some things first. In short, you need to plan before you plant! And this goes for any type of garden, whether it’s your yard or a container garden for your kitchen window sill.

There are many things to consider like the …


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4 Types of Sprinklers

Watering your lawn, plants, or garden is essential when it doesn’t get enough rain. There are various different ways to water or irrigate these areas and it’s important to choose the right way, so that the process is simple and easy to do. Sprinklers are one of the most common methods that individuals make use of to water their lawns and gardens because it’s affordable and easy to setup. There are several many sprinklers on the market; therefore you want to make sure that you understand how each one of these works to get the right one to suit your needs.

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Oscillating sprinklers typically have 17 holes that water is disbursed out of. It waters the lawn or garden very delicately and moves to and fro to cover a substantial area. It’s very economical, which means that anyone’s budget can afford it and it’s also very easy to put in anywhere that you choose. Oscillating sprinklers hold up well to weather and can work for a very long time.

Drip Sprinkler is yet another thing to consider for watering the plants. The benefits of have a drip sprinkler is that it’s more economic on water – it is an particularly significant point if you live in an area with really low rainfall. It is said that efficiency is over 90% as long as it’s been installed and set up the right way. Drip irrigations happen to be utilized commercially for quite some time by farmers growing vegetables etc.

Single stream lawn sprinklers are an excellent choice for big or mid-sized yards. The 360-degree arc which they travel to water your lawn will cover a wide area, to ensure that there is not any place missed. They rotate around in order that all of the lawn or garden is covered. When they are not in use, they just collapse down, so that you can easily mow the lawn, be in the lawn, or do anything you wish with no worry of tripping over the mechanism.

• An impact or impulse sprinkler is a superb choice for big fields or lawns. The sprinkler pivots on a bearing to make sure that no area is left dry. The circular motion covers a huge area and the spring-loaded arm moves it back to allow it to circle repeatedly. The long throw radius that it has ensures that it can reach an extremely large area for crop watering or lawn watering. These are resistant to sand and dirt and will last for a long time, which is why they are quite commonly used to water crops in an gardening setting.

These sprinklers are usually used in residential areas; however they can be used commercially in agriculture and more. By determining the right sprinkler for your specific area and requirements, you’ll allow your lawn or garden to withstand the harsh sun of summer with great health. Sprinklers could make watering any area much simpler on you and more efficient for your lawn or garden.

How To Help Your Crops Endure Hot Weather

While most of the nation begins to see cooler weather in September, some is often faced with hot, dry winds that make it a challenge to keep a garden green, hydrated and productive.

Using shade netting in the garden

Hot weather is tougher on plants than it is on people. It’s easy to understand why, when you consider that our bodies contain about 60 percent water and most plants are 85 to 90 percent water. So when temperatures rise, plants get even thirstier and sweatier than we do.

As with people, some plants tolerate heat better than others. Knowing which plants like it hot and which would prefer air conditioning, you can help your vegetables and flowers survive — and even thrive in — hot weather.


Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, corn, melons and squash actually need at least a month of 80 to 90 degree weather to develop a flavorful and abundant crop. As long as they don’t run out of water, these sun worshippers are well equipped to survive the heat. On hot days they conserve energy and moisture by slowing down. While resting, their foliage may appear to be wilting from lack of water, but as evening approaches they’ll perk up again. Heat loving plants are thirsty– the average tomato plant needs more than 30 gallons of water in a season. Using a combination of mulch and drip or soaker hose will ensure these plants stay healthy and well hydrated.

In the vegetable garden, it’s the cool weather crops — lettuce, spinach, arugula, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, peas, cilantro — that suffer in hot weather. (See Cool-Weather Crops, at right.) Even with an abundant and consistent supply of water, when temperatures rise over 80 degrees, these plants tend to stop growing, go to seed, or just give up the ghost.

Cool-weather crops should be grown on either side of midsummer heat. The plants will be much healthier and they’ll taste better, too. Look for varieties that are well matched to spring or fall production. Plan to sow salad greens every couple weeks to …


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Plant Pruning in your Garden

Pruning is considered as the basic maintenance formula for plants. These natural resources require constant maintenance for structural strength and outward look. However, the procedure must be carried out by people who have an understanding of plants as well as the correct way of taking care of them. Just what are the factors why you need to prune your plants?

1.) There’s always that scenario that the plants will not grow as how we want them to be. They could have disease or damages that not just affect the health but in addition their appearance. Just one example is the trees. One load bearing dead branch might cause the whole tree to come down if the branch just isn’t removed. Pruning peculiar branches helps the tree look nice in your yard or neighborhood.

2. To control the size of a plant. Through taking off old and dead limbs, you let the plant to focus more on growing its size and developing new limbs than trying to restore them. You also want to ensure you are guiding the plant to grow in the right way. This means away from buildings and other structures.

3) To prevent injury or damage to property. Remove dead or hazardously low limbs to make underlying areas more secure. Corrective pruning furthermore reduces wind resistance in trees. Prune shrubs with thorny branches back from walkways and other well-traveled areas. Have trained or certified arborists manage any pruning work in the crowns of big trees.

4) To train young plants. Train primary scaffold branches (the ones that form the structure of the canopy) to make stronger and much more vigorous trees. You may find it much easier to shape branches with hand pruners when a plant is young than to prune larger branches later. Pruning usually starts with young plants for bonsai, topiary, espalier, or other forms of special plant training.

5. More flowers or fruits. Fruit trees and flowering plants are sure to provide a higher yield of fruit and blossoms after getting the standard pruning. By taking out the spent flowers through the season, the blooming time is prolonged and a more generous crop of flowers or fruits are noticed when it comes round to reap time.

6. Rejuvenate growth. Any overgrown or neglected shrubs could be converted into a multi trunk tree by removing the lower portion limbs. This is often a basic way of digging up the entire plant and switching with a fresh new one.

In case you have experience in pruning plants, then make sure you regularly check and prune your trees. Yet, if you haven’t performed this style of work before, it is advisable to hire a professional that may help you prune your trees.

14 High-Tech Farms Where Veggies Grow Indoors

Indoor gardening provides consumers with an opportunity to cultivate their own flowers, herbs and vegetables throughout the year. People who live in apartments or colder climates, most times indoor gardening will be the only practical option.


In the 21st century, a significant change is underway in the food industry: farming is moving indoors. The perfect crop field could be inside a windowless building with controlled light, temperature, humidity, air quality and nutrition. It could be in the basement of a Tokyo high-rise, in an old warehouse in Illinois, or even in space. Just look at our collection of awesome indoor farms, where the sun never shines, the rainfall is irrelevant, and the climate is always perfect.

Basil, arugula and microgreens.

A worker checks crops at the FarmedHere indoor vertical farm, in Bedford Park, Illinois, on February 20, 2013. The farm, in an old warehouse, has crops that include basil, arugula and microgreens, sold at grocery stores in Chicago and its suburbs.

Photo: Heather Aitken/AP

Your endive grows in total darkness.

Red endives at the California Vegetable Specialties indoor farm in Rio Vista, California (April 20, 2006). The growing process is long and fragile, with the endives’ roots grown outside first and then moved in, where they are left for up to 11 months to grow into mature endives in total darkness.

Photo: Jeff Chiu/AP

Under fluorescent lights.

Toshihiro Sakuma checks the condition of plants under fluorescent lights at a greenhouse built inside a Tokyo building on July 1, 2005.

Photo: Shizuo Kambayashi/AP



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