Sand vs. Eggshell Red Wigglers are WET

Softwood Cuttings

Although softwood cuttings are usually taken in spring, while the plant is putting on new growth that is soft and green, material can also be taken from tender perennials in late summer. These cuttings are then over wintered as rooted cuttings as an insurance against winter losses. Choose healthy, non flowering shoots that are typical of the plant and cut off material just above a leaf joint using sharp knife or pair of scatters. Collect the cuttings early in the day while they are turgid, firm, not wilted and keep in a plastic bag to prevent them wilting.

Spring Cuttings

Many plants, including shrubs and herbaceous plants, can be propagated easily from cuttings. Spring is a good time to take cuttings as the young plants will grow quickly. It is always worth experimenting if there is a plant that you want to propagate but are not sure if softwood or basal cutting is suitable. The chances re that some will root. There are several types of cuttings that make use of plant material in its different stages of development at various times of the year. Softwood and basal cuttings are taken in spring from the new, soft growth.

Sowing Small Seed

Some plants, such as lobelias and impatiens, have dust like seed that is very difficult to sow thinly and evenly. You can make the job a lot easier by mixing the seed with a little dry silver sand before sowing. The sand will effectively dilute the seed, making it easier to sow, and, because it is light in color, you will be able to see which areas of compost have been sown. Sow the seed along the drill, taking care not to sow too thickly, to reduce the amount of thinning that will be necessary.

Planting A Fruit Garden

When choosing which fruit to grow in your garden, consider the position you are intending to plant them in. Select good specimens of reliable and trouble free varieties that you like to eat. It is important to choose healthy and vigorous specimens when you are buying fruit. Whether you buy bare root container grown plants is a matter of personal preference, most varieties are available as both. Garden centers usually offer a limited range, but for the best choice and for unusual varieties or for trained forms you will probably find that you need to visit a specialist nursery.

Pruning And Training

Plums should be pruned in summer to avoid silver leaf disease. Once the basic shape of the tree has been established, cherries and also plums need a very little pruning apart from the actual removal of the dead, diseased or congested growth. Sour cherry is actually produced on the 1 year old wood and it should be pruned after the actual fruit has been harvested. Cut back about one third of the fruiting stems to the first new shoot lower down the stem. Plum and also the sweet cherry tree, on the other hand, manufacture most of their produce at the bottom of one year older and also older shoots.

Pruning And Training – What You Should Know

Gooseberries and currants can be grown as airy, open centered bushes or as cordons against a supporting framework. Goose berries and black currants are produced on shoots that are one or more years old, so bushes will produce a crop even if you do not prune them. However, the stems will soon become very congested and picking will be difficult. After planting goose berry bushes, prune back three or four well spaced side shoots by about half to an upward facing bud. Remove all other shoots. In the following winter cut back two new shoots on each side shoots by about half to form the main framework of the bush and at the same time remove any shoots congesting the center.

Growing Other Tree Fruit

Plum and cherry trees can be grown in a number of ways, ranging from full sizes standards to pyramid bushes. They can also be trained as fans against walls and fences. Fruit trees grow best in a moisture retentive but free draining soil, so it is worth digging in plenty of well rotted organic matter before planting. Cherries, in particular, do not do well on dry or shallow soil. All need full sun to thrive, although acid cherries are more tolerant of shady conditions. Apply a general fertilizer at the rate recommended by the manufacturer, under the canopy of each peach and nectarine tree.

Aquaponics – Companions For Gardening

Gardens and ponds are two parts of the landscape that many think of as separate entities. The truth is that these two are great companions and will work together benefiting each other. Aquaponics, the combination of aquaculture and hydroponics is a method of gardening that is gaining popularity with the home gardener.

Growing Apples and Pears

Apples and pears can be grown in a variety of ways, ranging from free standing specimens for the middle of lawn or border to nearly trained types for growing against a fence or a wall or other type of supporting framework. If you are growing more than one tree, in an orchard for example, you will need to space the trees according to their eventual size, which is dependent on the root stock. Trees on dwarfing root stocks can be planted five feet apart, while trees on vigorous root stocks should be up to 25 feet apart.

Pruning Free Standing Trees

Despite a popular belief that apple and pear trees are difficult and time consuming to keep in shape, if you buy trees that have been well trained, they will require the minimum care. Pruning is best carried out in mid to late winter. First, cut out dead or diseased stems and any new shoots that are crossing or touching. Also cut out any very upright growing shoots. Then shorten about half of the remaining new growth to maintain a well balanced overall shape. Every few years you may have to remove one or two larger branches so as to maintain the balanced shape and keep the tree from becoming congested in the center.

Training And Pruning Fans

Fan trained trees have up to ten equally spaced ribs radiating from the main stem. It is a good way of training fruit trees because the fan produces a large number of fruit bearing stems. After planting, cut back the main stem to just above the first bud which should be about two inches above the bottom wire. Tie in two bamboo canes to the supporting wires either side of the tree at angles of 45 degrees. The following summer select two side shoots and tie them into the canes as they grow.

Supporting Fruit Trees

If you do not have a sturdy wall or fence to grow the tree against, make a free standing support from fence posts high enough for the form you are training. Space the posts six feet apart and set them in concrete, with the end posts braced with an angled strut, also set in concrete. You need to string heavy duty fencing wire horizontally between the posts, using screw in, galvanized vine eyes and tensioning bolts at either end. The first wire should be twelve inches above the soil, with subsequent wires 18 inches apart.

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