The large majority of us live in urban settings, and so have very little space for a vegetable garden. And yet somehow we all need to heed the counsel that “every family should have a garden”. How can we do that? Container gardening is the solution, and here are several important principles to guide your gardening efforts.
First off, you must have full sunlight and adequate water to have a successful vegetable garden, so find an all-day sunny spot before you do anything else. Make sure you have at least 6 hours of direct sunlight, and more is better. Also you need to have all the necessary tools and equipment for proper maintaining your garden. One of my favorite tool is garden lopper that is use to cut down all the unwanted branches and roots and make your garden look attractive and well maintained. We will be discussing how you can choose the best garden lopper for pruning in UK later in this article.
And be prepared to water every day. Light weight container soil mixes have good drainage, which is good, but it means they are less forgiving of lapses in the application of needed water. Remember that a plant is a water pipe and needs moisture at the root zone constantly. Otherwise it will begin to wilt and die.
The next issue you’ll face is the details of how to build, fill and fertilize your containers.
Opinions differ widely regarding the answers to the following key questions about creating a container garden. The right answers, if followed, will go a long way toward assuring your success in growing a bumper crop of healthy and tasty vegetables.
- Should top-soil be used, either by itself or mixed with other materials?
- Should manure and compost be used for the planting medium or soil-mix?
- What is the best ratio of materials to use for a container vegetable garden?
- Is it important to use organic fertilizers in addition to the soil mix?
- What size is best, in order to maximize yield in the minimum amount of space?
- How deep does the container need to be to provide adequate space for roots?
First of all, top soil is NOT recommended for use in containers, because it 1) is heavy, 2) is difficult to work with, 3) does not drain as well as other options, and 4) often contains one or more of the 3 “baddies” – disease, weed seeds, and bugs.
Every gardener should also consider the following three issues very carefully before using manure and compost in containers, raised-beds, or any other type of vegetable garden, especially as the main or only ingredients in the soil-mix.
- As much as 90% to 95% of the composted materials available to the typical family gardener have NOT been sterilized, or even heat-treated in the composting process. Why is this important? Because in order to have clean materials they must be composted at 140 degrees or more for about 3 weeks, which is the time it takes to thoroughly compost organic materials aerobically, and that’s the only sure way to remove diseases, weed seeds, and bugs.
- In addition to the great potential for problems with disease, weed seeds and bugs, using manure and compost, even just for fertilizer, leaves you guessing as to what nutrition you are giving your plants. You never see a list of plant nutrients or their percentages on a bag of manure or compost, because no-one KNOWS them. One thing we do know is that the manure or compost contains much less nutrition than the plant from which it came, because 1) the animal received some, 2) some is lost in the urine, 3) some is leached out by rainfall, and 4) some (especially nitrogen) is volatilized into the air.
- And the third reason you need to be careful is that using manure and compost can lead to a salinity problem and burn your plants. For example, applying two to three inches of manure to the planting area of a soil-bed or container (200-300#) adds 7#-10# of fertilizer salts – all at once – to the soil in a 30’-long bed or box. That’s more salt than the soil should have in an entire growing season! Imagine the effect of applying that manure to the entire garden, or worse yet making it 25-50% of the entire soil mix!
Rather than using manure and/or compost in your container garden you will be wise to use two or more CLEAN ingredients for your soil-mix, including 30 to 35% sand (by volume) mixed with any combination of the following – sawdust, pearlite, peat moss, ground-up pine needles, coconut husks, coffee hulls, rice hulls, or vermiculite – depending on cost and availability.
Plants cannot “eat” animal excrement or compost. Both must fully decompose and their organic parts must revert to water-soluble inorganic minerals before plants can access them. It is the decomposition process of organic materials that requires red worms, bacteria, nematodes, etc. in the soil – not the plants themselves.
The only things plants need besides sunlight, air, and water are small amounts of 13 natural mineral nutrients, dissolved in water and absorbed through the root hairs over the entire course of their growing cycle, rather than a large application of salts at one time. I recommend applying only about 7 OUNCES of a balanced formula of water-soluble natural mineral salts per week to a 30 foot-long bed or box. Give your plants exactly what they need for sustained healthy growth.
Now let’s discuss ideal sizes for your containers. Any length is fine, depending on available space. But the width of both the container and aisles is important. You do not want to waste precious space in your garden, but plants need light and air, so the ideal width of beds is either 18” or 4’, with aisles between them of at least 3’. Here’s why:
An 18’ width allows two rows of most plants, with room for light and air, plus feeding, watering, weeding, and harvesting between the rows. And a 4’-wide bed allows 4 rows of most plants or 2 rows of very large or climbing plants grown vertically. Details on growing vertically are the subject for another article, but suffice it to say that you can at least double or triple your yields in the same space by growing vertically.
And you only need container frames 8″ high. If possible it’s good to set them on existing soil, so your plants’ roots can go into the native soil and get additional nutrients, but it’s not necessary. You can even grow healthy plants on a driveway, deck, or a flat roof! Remember you’re feeding them everything they need with the natural mineral nutrients.
Garden Loppers – What you need to look for
The first thing you will notice when looking at the different kinds of Loppers in the market is that they come in different sizes, designs, and prices. They’re essentials tools for anyone who wishes to maintain their treed property and keep back those unruly branches. This is what pruning is all about. Hand Loppers With Light Weight Aluminium Handle Construction Design makes this Lopper Light in Weight and Strong for Lifetime Use. Therefore, the kind of Lopper you will select for yourself should be determined by the exact kind of activity you will be doing, your strength, your body size, and also your budget constraints.
- But there are so many models to choose from.
- You carefully remove parts of the plant – even healthy parts – to make it healthier still or more attractive, or to improve other qualities, such as its fruit-bearing ability.It’s important to point out that the emphasis here is on improvement, not removal.
- It Provides More Comfortable Pruning and Helps to Reduce Arm Fatigue during Longer Pruning.
- When growers are just starting their home’s landscaping, they may consider buying a mini lopper because the tool is easy to store and perfect for cutting small diameter debris.
- And how do you know which is the best lopper for your needs?
- While tools like chain saws can be effective pruning devices, they are principally designed for large-scale removal.
Anvil vs Bypass Lopper
Rust Resistant, Low Friction, Premium Quality Garden Tool That You Can Enjoy Using For Years. The mini lopper will cut branches that are up to 1 ¼ inches in diameter while the hooknose style prevents the debris from slipping out of the end. How can you tell a good lopper from a poor quality one? This article examines shearlike pruning tools meant for improving your plants. Bypass loppers are best used on softer green material. Gardeners can find the tool produced in carbon steel with a Teflon coating. The best tree loppers would allow you to cut small to medium sized branches with ease and illuminate the need for a ladder, thus, creating a safer environment in which to do yard work. Use bypass pruners on living stems ½ inch or less in diameter, as when cutting fresh flowers, pruning roses or raspberries, or snipping herbs from the garden. Since it creates a cleaner cut than anvil loppers, it promotes quicker healing.
Loppers for pruning
Their diminutive size makes them useful for hikers, hunters, and campers as the tool will easily store in small spaces such as backpacks. But let’s break it down even further than that. These cuts must be as clean as possible to maintain the plant’s health, so keep the blade sharp. If bypass loppers are used solely on green materials, they will rarely need sharpening as the blade doesn’t come into contact with anything that will cause dulling. The advantage of a compound pruner head is that the tool easily switches into a saw.
They resemble a pair of pruners or secateurs with long handles. Removing dead flowers, leaves and wood will not only keep your garden looking beautiful, but it will also keep your plants, bushes and shrubs healthy and encourage future growth in years to come. If bypass loppers are used on thick and dense dead wood, they will dull quickly. If the branches you’re trimming are bigger than the pruner can handle, this is great feature. There are various types in the market classified according to the type and style.
Types of loppers
Whether you’re looking to deadhead flowers in the garden or lop overhanging branches from a large hedge or tree, our guide will help you find the right tools to suit your gardening needs. There is a large range to suit your hand size and pruning requirements. The disadvantage is that the saw can get in the way if all you are using is the pruner. So I will help you pick the best according to the type of pruning you will be doing and according to your budget. Unless you lose them these secateurs really will last your lifetime.
It can also be damaged if you are using it in a dense tangle of branches. Bypass loppers are suitable for cutting living branches. Model no 2 are the original ones. On the plus side, the saw blade comes off, after a bit of a wrestling bout, with a wrench. Anvil loppers are more suited to dead, hard wood.
Later model no 8 was introduced with a more ergonomic handle. Using bypass loppers on deed wood could bend the lopper blade and break the bolt mechanism. Some loppers are also telescopic, meaning they can extend in length to reach high branches. Anvil loppers work with a crushing action. The extension length varies depending on the tool, but can make a 10-inch difference.
A heavy central blade pushing directly onto the “anvil” for the cutting action. Whether gardeners want pruning tools for trimming away dead flowers on houseplants or pruning shrubbery to encourage growth, some research can help to find the right lopper for the job.