Daily Gardening Tips May 2012
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Day Topic Tip Photo Photo caption More 31 Garden tools Garden tools is the name of section 4 of the Eagle Rock Wiki seminar: Start your own garden. 21 common garden tools are shown and some explanation is given. You'll have more fun in gardening when you apply the right tool for each job. The photo shows a garden tool, a kind of garden fork, 'grelinette' in French, that i let be made by a blacksmith. It's a variation to the normal 'grelinette' which has five pins. This one-pin grelinette goes deeper into the soil. It easy to work with as the handle works as a lever and you can push or hang on it with your entire weight to drive the grelinette into the soil and then to loosen the soil. Garden tools 30 About Zinnia The photo shows left Zinnia plants that i planted today. These flowers originally come from South America and the American Southwest. They blossom in a range of colors and the flowers are excellent as cut flowers. Butterflies like zinnias and it is also a good nectar plant for bees. Zinnias like fertile soil, rich of humus, and full sun. Zinnia young plants and flowers Zinnia 29 Some science for the gardener Section 3 of the Gardening Seminar:Start your own garden explains some basic scientific principles that are useful for the gardener. Topics: Photosynthesis, Nitrogen cycle, pH. Diagram of photosynthesis Some science for the gardener 28 Designing your garden Section 2 of the Gardening Seminar:Start your own garden is about designing a garden. Shown are several elements that you can apply in your garden and also about my personal approach in designing a garden is explained, that is to create different 'spheres.' Flow forms Designing your garden 27 When seeds didn't germinate well Sometimes you sow a crop and the seeds don't germinate well. There can be various reasons for this, sometimes bad weather circumstances, or old seeds, etc. In my case, voles dug tunnels underneath my winter carrots. In such a case it is often best to add new seeds in the line. Of course, there should still be enough time in the season for those seeds to grow to full maturity and a good harvest. Photo left: young plant. Photo right: flowers Sowing 26 Section 1 of the Gardening Seminar:Start your own garden. The seminar gives practical guidance for who want to begin their own garden. In this first section of the seminar: - A garden as a gate to the cosmos - Different types of gardens (with images) - Your garden as a source of health A garden and a house belong together. A garden shapes the environment of a house. This painting is by August Macke. What is a garden 25 Chrysanthemum carinatum and some of its uses Chrysanthemum flowers are boiled to make a sweet tea in some parts of Asia. The resulting beverage is known simply as "chrysanthemum tea". Chrysanthemum tea has many medicinal uses, including an aid in recovery from influenza. Young shoots can be eaten raw or cooked. Pick them before the plant flowers when they are 12 cm or less. Photo left: young plant. Photo right: flowers Chrysanthemum carinatum 24 Potatoes in cold frame To have an early harvest of potatoes i plant tubers of a fast growing variety in a cold frame in the first half of April. These potatoes can already be harvested in the beginning of June. This variety of potatoes cannot be stored long. But they taste much better and are healthier than old potatoes harvested the year before. When the weather gets hot, open the cover of the cold frame as the tubers stop growing as soon as the soil temperature reaches 80 °F (26.7 °C) Fast growing potatoes early in the season ca 6 weeks after planting Potato 23 Hilling or earthing up potatoes In order to prevent new potato tubers to be exposed to the light, potatoes can be hilled. I do this with a common rake, as soon as the first leaves of the potatoes appear and again a few weeks later. Tubers exposed to light become green and develop the poisonous solanine. Earthing up potato plants also has the advantage that many early weeds are controlled and the plants grow better as they have more fertile and loose soil. Young potato plants earthed up with a rake Potato 22 Some general pruning rules These tips come from a book written in 1910 (link below) but the rules are still valid. For [most fruit trees] a pyramidal form will be desirable. To secure this, four or five side branches with three or four buds each, should be allowed to grow and the center shoot should be cut off at a height of 10 to 12 inches. After growth has started, the trees should be occasionally examined and all surplus shoots removed, thus throwing the full vigor of the plant into those that remain. For most fruit trees a pyramidal form will be desirable. Pruning, section Some general pruning rules 21 Common water-crowfoot (Ranunculus aquatilis) This plant grows well in our pond. I found this plant in nature. The flowers are 7 to 20 mm. This plant adds oxygen to the water, an advantage when you have fish in your pond. Both the leaves under and on the water can be eaten fresh or dried. White cabbage just planted Common water-crowfoot 20 Planting cabbage and giving extras Today i planted white cabbage plants. They were pre-sown in the greenhouse. Cabbage can suffer from infections by a single-celled organism called Plasmodiophora. The disease is called clubroot and can affect species of the mustard family, Cruciferae, such as cabbages, radishes and turnips. Clubroot causes tumors in the roots and can block growth of the plant and even cause death. Clubroot can easily be prevented by adding a handful of agricultural lime to the planting hole. I always dig a hole some 50 cm deep and fill that with a half a bucket of compost, a handful of lime, a handful of bentonite and a handful of lava dust. The organism that causes clubfoot doesn't like lime, but cabbages do. Originally cabbages come from a wild species that grows at beaches near seas and oceans. White cabbage just planted White cabbage 19 Planting pumpkin on the compost heap The danger for night frost is over so time to plant out warmth-loving crops. I have this big compost heap that i don't need to use in the coming season. It's the perfect place for growing pumpkins and similar plants such as cucumber and melon. So i planted two pumpkin plants on the south slope of the compost heap. Pumpkins and cucumbers and melons belong to the gourd family (Cucurbitaceae) and they all like much sun and a humus-rich soil with lots of nutrients. Just one pumpkin or cucumber plant can either give you a big harvest or entirely disappoint you when the conditions or the weather aren't right. 1 - Pumpkin plant (Uchiki kuri), 2 - Chard, 3 - Lettuce, 4 - Barley, 5 - Calendula. 2/5 grew by themselves from seeds that were in the compost heap. Pumpkin 18 Companion plants onions and carrots Carrots can be affected by carrot flies. Crop damage is caused by the up to 10 mm long larvae (maggots) feeding on the outer layers of the carrot root. Onions can be affected by onion flies which resemble houseflies. They lay their eggs in groups on the shoots, leaves and bulbs of host plants and on the ground nearby. The larvae create large cavities in bulbs. But onion flies don't seem to like the smell of carrots and carrot flies don't like onions. So onions and carrots make perfect companion plants. I always plant bulb onions in the lines of carrot seeds, each one or two hand widths an onion. I've never had problems with either carrot flies or onion flies but heard of many gardeners who had this problem. This method also has the advantage that you can see where you sowed the carrots. Carrots take long to germinate but bulb onions sprout fast. The photo shows another method of planting onions and carrots together. Carrot & Onion 17 Sorrel Dock leaves or sorrel leaves (Rumex) are a traditional remedy for nettle stings. Dock leaves are edible too. A gardener's cultivar of sorrel Rumex