We dream of a big garden but we do not usually have the chance to live in a spacious outdoor that will provide us with a huge space for gardening. Thus, we have to settle with a small garden but with the right small garden designs we can create the trick to make it look big.
The objective of creating an illusion of big space will require specific challenges. While it is possible to create a beautiful simple garden in confined areas like rooftop, balcony, a fresco or patio, it is more overwhelming to make a small space look big.
Space as a key factor for small garden designs
Space is a key when you want to create a beautiful garden. The more plants and colors in the vegetation, the more attractive the area is. But with a small space, you will think of how you can cram your desired plants and still make it look less crowded. That will require herculean effort.
When you rotate the small garden designs by 45 degrees, the space can be magnified to look larger and more interesting. A small garden design will make you allocate the corners of the garden to large planting pockets. With properly chosen plants, the pocket area can hide the patches and damages in the walls. The wall imperfections can then be disguised with cascading plants. When you add compost in this area, you can plant big flora species here to give an impression of huge space.
Suggestions in the design
You have to save space and for that, try to take note of the right proportion. A plant variety should not seem out of place. Every plant in the small garden designs should be related to one another. So, trim plants that take so much space so as not to cover the other smaller plants. If there is an empty wall, you can use this for vertical arrangement. You can have small plants on small containers or pots from the ground going up to the top of the wall. Make this your herbal garden area.
If you are creating a flower garden instead of vegetable garden, be sure to choose the right plants that will produce the desired colors of flowers. Small garden designs have suggested floral color location. In the midst of the garden orange, yellow and red colors of flowers are best. Blue and purple colored flowers planted on the garden’s boundaries will make the area appear spacious. Fence will make the space small so grow climbing plants on the fence.
Outside of the small garden, you can make paths or add steps. Walkways in the garden with curved endings can make the garden look big. The step and curves will also create an expanded illusion.
Importance of maintenance to keep the small garden design
Planning well is the secret of small garden designs. But the design must also take into consideration the requirements for its maintenance. The maintenance then of the garden should not be a hard chore to you. Instead, it should be a task that is enjoyable in order for you to keep tending your small garden. The plants have to grow healthy in order for the garden to look good. With dying plants, the smallness of the garden space will be very glaring.
It is normal for gardens to be infested with harmful pests. These insects eat and destroy the crops. The way to prevent infestation is to take them out. Kill them with pesticides but since you are backing up natural ways, your option is to take them out through organic pest control.
Organic is the way to go with your gardening today especially if you are growing edible fruits and vegetables. The use of chemical inputs like fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides exposes people and the environment to toxicity of the chemicals. That can cause diseases. This is the main reason for the switch to natural pest control, weed control and soil control.
Many people have not yet compared the advantages of organic goods over the non-organic ones. It has to be made clear that if we do not want people’s health to suffer, farmers should totally forget about the old inorganic way of farming.
Safety features of organic pest control
Pests are common in gardens; this is because insects find their foods in such places. To some, organic pest control method is still a new way to fight the pests. Geared primarily towards healthy agricultural products, the natural methods aim to produce non-toxic goods. Infestation is common in farms and gardens; these enemies have to be eradicated following the healthy organic techniques. The reason is very evident; people’s health should not be risked.
Organic pest control is a natural method against crop infestation. It is safe for human well-being. These natural pesticides work well on the pests that eat the plants. They have no chemical additives that can be toxic to cause diseases like cancer. When applied, they last long thus assuming an almost permanent benefit to the soil.
Eco-friendly attribute of natural pest control
The organic kind of pest control is eco-friendly because its use is less damaging to Mother Earth. The conventional pesticides are manufactured with chemical ingredients thus they contain toxic substance that can pollute the air. Compared to the commercial pesticides like the DDT, natural pest control’s non-emission of toxic substances does not cause any damage to the ozone layer. They too do not harm the beneficial organisms in the agricultural area. Aside from the harm the chemical fertilizers inflict on humans, they also poison the air, water, plants, animals and the planet we live in.
Effectiveness is for a longer period
The effects of the chemical fertilizers are only for a short period after they are applied. The ingredients easily evaporate. As for the organic pesticides, they continue to be effective some times after they had been sprayed. They even contribute to the fertility of the soil. Because of the long time effect, they are considered to be cost effective.
You are now informed of the different benefits from the use of organic pest control. They are safe and protective of the health of humans. They are less damaging to the environment and to Earth.
However, the organic pest control method of plant and garden care is not perfect. It is never free from faults or downsides. The natural pesticides take a longer time to produce desired results. There are kinds that may not be really hundred percent effective. The commercial kind of natural pest control items are more expensive. In time, these negatives may be corrected as researches about organic farming continue incessantly.
Chemical fertilizers are expensive. Organic fertilizers are cost-free if you prepare the organic compost by yourself. Then aside from saving money by making your own organic fertilizer, your health also benefits for non-exposure to the adverse effect of chemicals. This is the big benefit to man for learning to make compost for their gardens.
Benefits in the use of compost as far as men are concerned can be summarized as follows:
• Men avoid exposure to chemicals that are incorporated in the traditional commercial fertilizers.
• Composting helps men control the household wastes.
• Men save money by making compost. Even if this natural compost is bought, it is less expensive.
• The use of organic fertilizer lessens the need for more landfills.
• Compost production benefits Mother Earth as it reduces methane emission from the landfills.
• It brings down carbon footprints.
Here are the benefits derived by the garden soil and plants when organic compost is used.
Organic compost increases available nutrients.
Organic compost is actually a substitute for the chemical fertilizers. When wastes and disposable organic materials are used for compost, the resulting fertilizer is among the best kinds. Soil food web is created. A beneficial community of organisms is formed. The micro-organisms such as earthworms, beetles and creepy crawling critters are vital contributors to healthy soil or humus that will improve the yield in crops.
In addition to the soil food web, the soil is improved because of the nutrients contained in the natural compost. The compost supplies the soil with macronutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium; this becomes the NPK fertilizer that is comparable to the chemically produced traditional soil enhancers. There are also micronutrients in the compost so it contains copper, manganese, iron and zinc. All these nutrients will be absorbed by the roots of the plants for distribution to all the plant parts for healthy and productive growth.
Compost improves soil pH and soil structure
The addition of organic compost to the ground will neutralize the pH level of the soil. When this happens, the soil will have optimum ability to hold the nutrients for the use of the plants.
Compost also helps improve the soil structure. The types of soil are clay, silt and sand. If the soil is clay-like, the roots will have a hard time getting the nutrients thus the plants cannot maximize its growth because it will be lacking in supply of nutrients. If the soil structure is sand, the plants grown in it will also lack nutrients because the nutrients will go with the water down under the soil and thus would not be reached by the roots.
Reduces water use
The use of natural compost will naturally fertilize the soil. Nutrient filled, the soil will be able to hold or retain moisture. As a consequence, you will need lesser amount of water for your garden. On a larger scale, the use of natural compost in high areas will help prevent soil erosion. When used in sandy type of soil, the compost will help in moisture dispersion where water can be laterally distributed to a bigger area instead of just going down the sandy soil.
Natural compost prevents plant diseases.
Soil that had been treated with organic compost tends to grow plants that are less susceptible to plant diseases and pest infestation. Compost is a way to control the diseases and thriving of insects in the plants.
In essence the organic compost has beneficial effect to man, the environment, our planet, the soil and the plants. You will notice that most of the benefits accrue to the garden soil which will ultimately benefit the crops grown on the improved ground.
Some areas in a country naturally have good garden soil for growing plants. Others lack necessary nutrients that are needed for healthy plant growth. This is natural difference that can be corrected. For small area, the texture of soil can be altered by changing the percentage of clay, silt and sand in the composition of the loam. But for large scale farming, this is hard to do. To be fertile, the soil should have sufficient amount of nutrients. With nutrient deficiency, soil must be treated with the NPK fertilizer.
Your fertilizers can be the commercial or the organic types. The former is nasty kind as it contains chemicals that are harmful to men. Today, many gardeners treat their soil with organic matters such as compost and manure.
Nutrients that must be present in garden soil
Three basic elements should be present in the garden soil. These are nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, also known as the NPK mineral fertilizer. Other necessary nutrients that must be present in the soil are calcium, magnesium and sulfur. These mineral nutrients are needed in large quantity and they are categorized as macronutrients of the soil. The nutrients that are needed in smaller quantities are known as micronutrients. There are eight micronutrients that must also be present in your garden soil. These are manganese, iron, zinc, copper, boron, chlorine, molybdenum and nickel. These are also called trace elements.
There are other elements that are known as photosynthesis nutrients because they are necessary when plants undergo their food processing. These elements are oxygen, hydrogen and carbon. All these are essential nutrients and if one of these is lacking, the plants cannot grow too well.
Causes for lost of soil nutrients
The soil has the tendency to lose some of its nutrients. The soil gets depleted through overuse. The soil is not rested after harvest season causing the earth to decline in production. You will notice that after planting season, your harvest tend to decline. The soil has no more nutrients to sustain the growth of the plants.
In addition, there are crops that are heavy nutrient users. They consume more nutrients to deplete the soil faster. Examples of heavy soil nutrient users are corn, rice, sorghum and sweet potatoes. If there are heavy users, there are also plants that can be considered nutrient boasters. These crops contribute to availability of nutrients that are used by other plants.
Ways to replenish soil nutrients
There are effective ways to replenish the garden soil with the lacking nutrients.
• Bio-intensive gardening – This increases soil fertility when wastes and other garden grass cuttings are buried in the soil after harvesting the crops. These materials are left to decompose through microorganisms in the soil.
• Composting – Organic waste materials like garbage, crop and animal manure are left on the surface of the ground to decompose with the aid of soil microbes and bacteria. Garbage dumpsites had initiated composting methods and the resulting organic matters are sold and used in garden soil.
• Crop rotation – This method rotates the kinds of plants or crops planted in an area. Crops that deplete nutrients are alternated to boaster crops. After harvesting the crops, another kind of crops are planted on the same site.
• Cover cropping – This is also called living mulch. Other kinds of plants are planted in between regular main crops; these are the living mulch. This method does not only replenish garden soil nutrients; they also improve soil by controlling the growth of weeds and soil erosion. This will also help maintain the presence of organic elements in the soil.
Nutrients in garden soil can be depleted. When this happens, you cannot expect a healthy growth of the crops. However, there are ways to replenish the nutrients in the soil and eventually make the plants grow well for a good harvest.
What makes the plants grow? This is a very elementary question since we have learned this the very first time we had lessons about plant. Would you still need some garden tips on the growing needs of plants? You already learned the basic things to make plants grow. The plants need nutrients from the soil, water to transport the nutrients from the roots to the other plant parts and sun for photosynthesis or manufacture of plant foods. They do need air to take in carbon dioxide for photosynthesis.
You indeed know the basic things that make a plant grow. But there are more from the garden tips that you will read about. Plants grow under the right temperature, space sufficiency and time consideration.
Nutrient and water garden tips to make plants grow
Like other living creatures, plants need food and water in order to subsist. Human beings eat foods because they have to get nutrients; plants also need nutrients. You drink water and plants do need water. Plants utilize water to bring the moisture and the nutrients back and forth from the roots to the leaves, from the leaves to the roots also. Water as well as the nutrients is taken in by the roots from the soil. Garden tips tell us that we have to water the plants when the soil is already dry. Too much or too little water is harmful to the life and growth of any plant. So, garden tips tell you to water your plants moderately.
The nutrients come from the soil but in plenty of cases, the soil becomes depleted. There will be no enough nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K) in the soil and if not replenished the plant would not achieve its full growth. You will then need to apply fertilizer on the soil to put in the NPK nutrients. Further data in the garden tips tell a gardener the uses of the NPK. Nitrogen is for greener and healthy leaves, phosphorus is for sturdy roots and big flowers or fruits and potassium is the shield of plants to fight diseases.
Air and soil as other needs of plants
Aside from sufficiency of nutrients and moderate watering of plants, this living creature also needs air. Plants do breath or respire through their pores. They take in carbon dioxide which they need in photosynthesis, plant’s process to manufacture food. Although it is the leaves that perform photosynthesis, other parts of the plants such as stem, roots and flowers also respire. It is not only carbon dioxide that is necessary for the plant to subsist. It also needs oxygen which is drawn by the roots from the air spaces in the soil.
Healthy soil is very paramount in the life cycle of any plant. In gardening, you have to learn the soil classifications. Different plants need different kinds of soil although the usual kind is the loam. Loam is created by the right proportion of clay, slit and sand. It is from the soil that the plant gets the nutrients. Thus, the soil must also be healthy and being healthy means having the NPK sufficiently in the ground. Lack of any of these will render the plant unhealthy. As the nutrients in the soil can be depleted due to soil overuse, the application of fertilizer is the method to replenish. Today, we try to do away with the commercial chemical fertilizers. Garden tips tell a gardener to learn to make compost as this is the way to provide organic nutrients to plants. With a small garden to tend, animal or crop manure will be good substitute for compost. You mix these into the soil or you can just top your soil’s surface and leave the ground microorganism or bacteria to convert the raw manure into decomposed nutrient.
Space, time, temperature and light as factors in plant growth
Space is also a factor in the growth of plants. According to garden tips, overcrowded plants can suffer from plant diseases. The airflow is restricted to hamper growth such that plants become small and stunted. Keep distance from one plant to another.
It takes time for plants to grow. Some require more number of days to become mature enough for the flowering stage to commence. Plants need the sunlight; it is through the sun’s heat that plants manufacture their food. Sun is the source of plant’s energy. Finally, temperature is considered in most garden tips. There are plants that need cooler temperature and there are those that live well during the summer season. However, the rule of thumb is that plants grow best during spring. The temperature during this time is the best for most varieties and species of plants.
Technological innovations had been implemented in agriculture and aquaculture. Plants are no longer exclusively grown in soil. Experiment on easy to grow vegetables were tested and among those that can be grown through the indoor hydroponic system are leafy greens. This is very beneficial if you have very limited space for planting vegetables.
What is hydroponics? This is the method of growing plants sin use of soil and instead, they are submerged in nutrient-rich water. This method had been proved to be effective in farming a wide array of vegetables, herbs and other plant types. However, not all plants can be cultivated with this method. Most plants that are found suitable to grow hydroponically are likewise suitable to more advanced hydroponic method known as aquaponics. With this method, the hydroponic is combined with aquaculture, the raising of aquatic animals like fish. Grown together in the same environment, a symbiotic relationship exists between the planted plants and raised fish. The plant supplies food to the fish while the waste of the fish serves as fertilizer to the plant. What an amazing product of man’s ingenuity!
With hydroponics, the plant needs three things, namely water or moisture, nutrients and oxygen. There are different kinds of systems and the one suitable to beginners is the raft hydroponic system for easy to grow vegetables.
Raft hydroponic system and easy to grow vegetables
For a novice in hydroponic technology, the raft system is the advisable method. This is also known as “deep water culture” or “lettuce raft”. This is a perfect method for beginners as it is easy to construct and it does not cost too much. In fact, this makes you harvest more quickly than through the conventional gardening. In choosing the vegetable, see to it that the variety can survive excessive moisture and that it does not grow too big to overload the raft.
The concept behind this system is very simple to follow. You merely allow easy to grow vegetables to be planted in a raft that is made of rigid Styrofoam. This raft will float in nutrient rich pool of water. The raft consists of the reservoir, the aerator and the raft. The reservoir is the container of the water and the Styrofoam raft has to fit into this. The aerator functions to circulate the nutrients in the water.
Lettuce as best vegetable to grow hydroponically
The system is commonly referred to as “lettuce raft” simply because lettuce is the best choice of easy to grow vegetables that survive in the raft hydroponic. The lettuce does not require too much attention. When the outer leaves are big, you can harvest them. The inner leaves will grow fast to replace the harvested leaves. You then will have a continuous supply of the green leaves. You can plant different varieties to provide you with a variety of lettuce harvest. The most common though for this gardening method are Romaine and Bibb varieties. In this water culture, you do not plant seeds, you plant seedlings. Before you submerge in water, ensure that the roots of the seedlings are already long enough to reach the water they are planted in otherwise you seedlings will die.
Other leafy greens suitable to hydroponic farming
The raft hydroponic gives you pleasure of experimentation with other green leafy easy to grow vegetables. Just like lettuce, spinach is adaptable to hydroponic gardening. Planting spinach this way lets you avoid the presence of sandy grit in it. You can snip the needed quantity and leave the plant to keep growing and producing the nutritious leaves. But here is a precaution. Do not let them grow too big for your raft because the plants will be overcrowded to lack needed air circulation.
As there is enough room to experiment on other leafy easy to grow vegetables, you can also try your “green thumb” with kale, aragula, chard and mustard greens. All these greens are nutrient-filled to provide you a healthy diet. Actually, you can experiment on many lightweight crops using the hydroponic technology. Herbs like parsley, chives, basil are also good options. What you just have to bear in mind is to avoid heavy plants like melons, beans, tomatoes and cucumbers. You do not only grow vegetables through this method, you can also have a water garden of flowering plants.