Saturday, October 6, 2007

Using modern techniques for gardening

Gardening techniques are constantly evolving. Each year, dozens of new developments make it possible to garden more efficiently or with better results. The easiest way to keep up to date is by subscribing to a gardening magazine. Choose one that regularly features new products and techniques, and that has an extensive small ads section at the back. This is the best place to find manufacturers of new or specialized products, which are often only available by mail order.

Many new products and techniques can save hours. For example, mini-plants called 'seedlings', or the larger 'bloomers' or 'potted color', will allow you to raise the latest and best plant varieties with¬out having to grow them from seed. This saves time and avoids the expense of having to buy specialized facilities, such as seedling trays or a propagator, to raise seedlings.

Vegetables can also be bought as small plants, and you can eliminate a lot of hard work by growing them using the no-dig bed system. Instead of spending time spraying with pesticides, you can protect your crops from pests by covering them with fine, insect-proof mesh (fly wire), or by using biological control.

Elsewhere in the garden, you can almost eliminate weeding by planting through mulch matting covered with gravel or bark chippings for a decorative, low-maintenance finish. You can also avoid watering your pots by hand, one of the most time-consuming summer tasks, if you mix water-absorbing crystals into the potting mix before planting. Power equipment makes light of heavy work such as digging. You don't even need to buy and look after machinery - hire it when you need it, or pay a professional to do the job for you.

Even shopping for the garden has been made more convenient. Garden centers offer a basic range of plants, but you will have to buy from a specialist nursery if you want something a little unusual. Nurseries are increasingly selling by mail order and going 'on-line' so that you can look up suppliers of unusual plants and place orders on the Internet. Information on the websites should tell you whether the plants you want to order are suitable for your climate, give their mature size and tell you if they have any special maintenance needs.

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