Gardening

Gardening is more than just a hobby. Some people take it vigorously that the art has become an academic discipline for some of us. But above all else, it is a passion that those who are truly skillful can be worthy to be called gardeners and be awarded a ‘green thumb’ badge.

For us who do not understand the beauty and fulfillment of gardening, here are things that only passionate gardeners can relate to.

Under your fingernails can be garden beds

You have used the entire area of the backyard that you are tempted to plant on your fingernails because of the dirt accumulated the entire day. It’s not that you don’t clean yourself, but the constant gardening activities do not really equate to clean hands. Despite washing your hands and scrubbing them clean after a day’s work, you find yourself in the same dilemma day after day.

You think of naming your children Rose, Lily, and Daisy

Your love for flowers manifests in the different parts of your life. As of the moment, your SNS and blog usernames and passwords contain floral words and names. You are bordering on being obsessed with these beautiful creations. Yet, you decided to bring it up another notch and plan to name your future children with flowers. This is also a way to instill the value gardening while they are young.

Going out means visiting botanical gardens and plant expos

Spending a day in the garden still does not get you enough. A couple of your dates are spent strolling down the local gardens and only those who understand this passion is truly worthy of your love and attention. Sometimes, you just find yourself driving to these places to find peace and relaxation. Also, can you remember the time when you went out to buy grocery, and find yourself buying plants instead?

You can whip mean recipes from plants grown in your yard

You learn many things simply by growing plants and flowers. Incidentally, you learn patience and nurturing skills. More importantly, you learn practical abilities like cooking using fresh produce from your garden. You can perfectly whip out a dish, dessert or drink made from edible flowers and organic plants. Talk about a healthy diet.

You can name flowers better than you know the name of your cousins

While you love your family, you cannot match the names of your cousins to their faces. But with blooms, you could never go wrong. You devote most of your time growing them that you can name even the rare ones.

Gardeners are a different bunch of interesting people. There are realities that only they can understand. So, once in awhile, you may want to spend time with one and learn more than just planting and watering plants.

 

Gardening

I will be discussing the benefits of Aquaponics gardening over conventional soil based gardening.

So firstly we will look at the benefits then we will go into what you need to look at before you start your Aquaponics backyard garden.

The benefits of an Aquaponics System are:

1. Due to the fact you will not be using soil there is no weeding.

2. Watering is eliminated because water is circulated automatically from the fish pond to the grow bed. Aquaponics use about 10{22ee91a3880f4769bf4ac718830cf5564ad2e019ae11eed3b37bc7cd434b671c} of the water used by conventional gardening.

3. All fertilizers are supplied by the fish waste being circulated through the grow bed.

4. Soil pests are eliminated, no soil is used in an Aquaponics grow bed.

5. Your fruit and vegetables will grow at least twice as fast as conventional gardening.

6. Energy use is a lot less, estimated 70{22ee91a3880f4769bf4ac718830cf5564ad2e019ae11eed3b37bc7cd434b671c} saving.

7. More plants in the same area, up to 10 times.

8. All fruit and vegetables are totally organic.

9. Extremely low cost of growing your plants.

10. You have fresh organic fruit and vegetables to pick as you use them

Now what do you need to take into account when you are planning your DIY Aquaponics Garden?

1. What do you want to grow? It is important you know what plants you are going to grow so you know what size grow bed you need and how many fish you need to supply the nutrients required for you plants to grow healthily.

2. Where you are going to build your garden? It is important you know how much room you have so you can build your Home Aquaponics Garden to a size that will suit and choose the right design.

3. What is your budget? Aquaponics is very scalable and can be a very small indoor garden right through to commercial systems. If you are on a small budget there is a system for you.

4. The type of system you will use? This will be determined by many factors. Budget, space, what you want to grow, the area you live in and many other factors. It is very important you research and understand which suits your needs.

Probably something you really should consider is if you will start from scratch and build your own Aquaponics Garden. There is great deal of research involved in planning your DIY Aquaponics which is very time consuming. It can also be very expensive if you get it wrong. Why reinvent the wheel when there are people out there who have already done this. They have developed Aquaponic Gardens of all types and know exactly what to look for and how to put them together. Consider getting professional plans to guide you through planning and building your aquaponics system.

 

Gardening

I have made it my determination never to use pesticides. This was not a decision that I made based on philosophy or even environmental consciousness. On the contrary, I bore witness to the extraordinary ease and effectiveness by which natural predators dispose of the most pernicious and damaging of garden pests.

In the mid-2000s, I began my first serious attempt at a large garden. I did the research about how to do as little work as possible. In the early fall, I put materials over the lawn to kill it. I dumped leaves into my beds instead of tilling. Allowing the biological process of decay do the work would invite a sturdy network of fungi to help bring nutrients to the plants. Finally, I used a technique called wintersowing to sow my seeds outside during the winter. I only planted native varieties, the idea being that they would be a boon to natural pollinators. Native plants would be able to care for themselves once established.

The real work came in the spring. Planting, watering new plants, only to plant and water more new plants, was a daily routine. I was sore in places I didn’t know had muscles, but the garden was doing very well. It was green, perfect, and all native.

The bees and butterflies came, but so did everything I had failed to anticipate. My new ‘serious’ garden began to be eaten before my eyes. There were all sorts of native leaf chewers: Aphids, slugs, and caterpillars to name a few. Leaves were mined and skeletonized and fell off. Flowers and buds were being sucked into oblivion.

However, the damage that really hurt my feelings was to the roses. When the Japanese beetles arrived, my roses were denuded of both foliage and flower. That was when I first felt the desperate fury that comes when a gardener is faced with crop failure. Up until now, I wanted nature to do the work. This time I felt like I had to do something.

However, the idea of spraying the roses still repelled me. I simply did not want to have roses that you had to keep out of the reach of children for fear they would ingest them. Therefore, I turned away from that idea and began looking for organic ways to help. There was not much I could do. Picking the beetles off the bushes with my hands and putting them in a bucket of soapy water was the best most had to offer. I got to work.

It did not help. I did not get a single rose that year. At the end of the season, I read that Fall and Winter would be a good time to solicit natural help in the form of birds. I put up a wren house, I put out the bird seed, and I put out water all winter long.

The fate of the Japanese beetles – and every other garden pest – was sealed the day I decided not to spray the roses. Predators had already moved in in numbers! But they weren’t at the right life stage to help. Syrphid flies, many wasps, and other insects are only predators as larva. However, because I didn’t spray, they laid eggs all over the garden.

I got an avian resident. A male house wren stuffed sticks in the wren house and sang until he attracted a female. The females are the ones who choose the nest site, and she chose my garden. In a few weeks, when the days were warming and I was fearing another attack by the pests, she laid seven eggs.

I am no expert on bird fertility, but it wouldn’t make much survival sense for her to be so fertile in the presence of little to no food. It was likely that both these wrens were already present in the garden and their bodies knew how many babies they could afford. Because I didn’t spray, I got to see them diving from the house, straight down into the leaves and running around like little feathery wolves and returning with all manner of caterpillars. They did this every day, all day long, the entire season. The wrens had to have devoured thousands, maybe even tens of thousands of insects.

The syrphid fly larva got to work on the aphids that were attacking my new growth. Centipedes got to work on the snails and slugs, as did the firefly larva who are surprisingly voracious and active hunters for worms. The snails and slugs would later attract garter snakes and a mole and a toad. Robins nested and had three chicks on the curve of my downspout. The wasps returned for the flowers and stayed for the hunting. They made off with plenty of insects, bringing them back to larva to eat. Spiders moved in. There were so many green crab spiders that I called the zinnia flowerbed the “Spider Condominiums”. Every zinnia flower and a spider in it.

There were so many predators that my pest problems vanished. I concluded that my ‘Garden Salad’ had turned into the ‘Garden of Death’. Pests who managed to survive long enough to chew and lay eggs would only have their eggs and larva eaten by something else. The lucky few who did manage to breed were inconsequential.

Gardening without pesticides takes time and, in my case, a crop failure, but I put away the mask and the gloves and the sprayer. Using them would have made things harder for myself, and easier on the pests. I learned that gardens need time to get established to thrive. Pesticides delay or prevent the garden from ever moving on from the “Garden Salad” stage to a healthy population of predator and prey. They are an expensive hindrance and can kill or discourage natural resources that help the garden be self-sustaining.

A pesticide-free garden continued to grow in variety of species of insect and served as a wonderful classroom for young children and adults who wanted to learn from what the plants attracted. Once a gardener experiences the joy of a garden free of pesticides, he will never be able to return to using them.

 

Gardening

You may think that plants only need water but the truth is that they need much more. There are different ways to look after your garden without using thousands of litres of water per day. Here are some ways that you may find helpful.

Covering your garden in compost not only gives the plants maximum nutrients they need to survive but it also locks the moisture in. If there is moisture in the sand you don’t need to water it every day. Plus, over-watering plants could drown them and kill them.

Any water that does not contain heavy duty cleaning chemicals will be satisfactory for your garden. So you can recycle the water if you don’t want to throw it down the drain. Dishwashing liquid isn’t harmful to your garden and you can use that water to feed your grass every day.

You can also recycle water you use for your cooking. Water used to clean your vegetables is the safest since the most irritating component is the sand from the leaves. This only bothers your taste buds and is not harmful to plants. Water from boiling food such as pasta and vegetables is also harmless. Just make sure that the water is no longer boiling hot when you pour it into your garden.

If you plant flowers closer to each other, less water will be used in one area. Although plants need space to grow roots, small spaces can bring your bill down by quite a bit.

If you have trees in your garden, make sure that you plant your seeds in the shade of the tree. If your garden is cool and doesn’t have constant sunlight drying it up, less water is needed to keep them alive.

Collecting rain water will be useful to water your garden. If it were to rain you will have enough water for another day. Keep a barrel close to any drainage systems and gutters. You will be surprised how much water you collect from the wet weather.

Buy an attachment for your hosepipe that has a larger range and uses water sparingly. The more concentrated the area to which the water goes to, the more water you are using for just one plant. With a wider range attachment less water is being used because of the built in separation system.

Create walkways in your garden or add a patio. You can add patio tiles which will require less grass to be planted and thus use less water.

With prices increasing in every area of society, it’s becoming expensive to own a garden and maintain all the plants. Save water and save money.