Gardening is an activity that consists of growing and maintaining a vegetable or pleasure garden. It should be a source of pleasure, amusement and satisfaction. Minimum knowledge of technical know-how is required to obtain a better vegetable crop and produce beautiful flowers. In this field, passion should be combined with patience to make the work easier.

It is nice to have pretty flowers and beautiful trees at home and enjoy the taste of fruits and vegetables from one’s own garden. Gardening is a process that involves several steps.

Tillage

Before planting, it is necessary to test the soil to know what type of culture is appropriate. The test involves taking a handful of earth and moulding it into a shape. If it tightens and forms a ball, it is a clay soil which responds more slowly to the effects of the sun and retains water to a certain limit. Since the particles tighten, the soil becomes stuffy and therefore oxygen does not reach the roots. But if the soil passes through the fingers, it is sandy. This type of soil is well-ventilated and warms with the sun’s luminous intensity. The best type of gardening soil comes in the particle form and does not pass through the fingers when squeezed in one’s hand. This type of soil, called arable land, is characterized by a dark colour and has a pleasant smell of earth. The production of compost is not a difficult task for a gardener. Simply collect kitchen or garden waste, such as leaves that are not affected by disease, leftover vegetables and other organic substances. The compost must not contain any plastic, metal or glass material. Start compost-making three to four weeks prior to building the flower bed.

Sowing and planting

Any plant passes through the seedling stage. A gardener needs to know what type of seed must be used to achieve best possible results. One must also know the appropriate time period to ensure the seedlings’ survival. Some species need to be put in containers before being planted in the ground. This is true of plants that like heat or that have a hard time growing. Specific soils for planting seedlings in containers are available and ready for use in nurseries. Once the embryonic leaves grow, the plant will be placed in new soil. Some plants are directly grown in the ground. The seeds are either manually buried in the ground or by using a tool such as a rake. Furrow or row planting is recommended for vegetables that will not require transplanting, but instead remain in the same place until harvest. It is the simplest means of cultivation. It is the recommended practice if one ignores the shoots’ appearance. This makes weeding easier. Finer seeds should not be pressed very far into the ground, while the larger ones will be buried a few inches beneath the surface. A mixed culture also ensures space-saving: certain different species can live and help each other within the same area as is the case, for example, of carrots that repel insects harmful to onions.

Garden maintenance

The biggest mistakes are usually made when watering plants. A gardener that does not know the proper amount of water required by plants may kill them instead of feeding them. Prior to sowing, the ground needs to be watered because the soil’s nutrients are only released if the ground is wet. Watering plants takes place in early morning. It is also necessary to be able to care for plants, making sure that leaves or stems are not affected by pathogens. If such cases arise, the gardener has to resort to pesticides.

Fruit and vegetable harvest

This is the reward for months, or even years, of efforts. Certain factors should be taken into account when harvesting such as degree of ripeness of fruits and vegetables, the weather … Make sure the fruit has reached maturity by taking it in your hand and rotating it. If it is easily detached from the branch, then it is ripe, otherwise you should leave it to ripen more. Fruiting vegetables such as tomatoes or bell peppers are harvested in summer. Once they reach maturity, they are fragrant and have a pleasant flavour. Crops must be stored in boxes in a cool cellar.

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Published in Garden maintenance by Alexander on 06 Jul 2011