One of the most discussed gardening topics is what makes a plant infected by diseases. Or in other words, how a plant can get infected by disease? The question that pops up close to the heel of this question is that how to keep these diseases at bay, and how to keep the plants healthy.
The most important thing that needs to be understood is that the disease in plants can be kept at bay with a methodology that is known as disease prevention, which is also called disease triangle. Diseases can attack a plant as and when the combination of three things fall in place – the plant getting sick, the plant getting under an attack of a pathogen, and environmental conditions that are supportive to disease set in. If you can ward off any one of these factors, the probability of the infection is minimized by a considerable extent. Or in other words, you will be able to knock off one of these three factors that form the disease triangle. Let us discuss some of the ways in which this can be done.
You need to examine properly the plants that you are purchasing
Well, this is the easiest way to ward off diseases from your garden. You just cannot indulge in getting a diseased plant for your garden. However, here what I would like to mention is that, one of the most difficult things in the world of gardening is getting to know how a healthy and disease-free plant should look like. Here I must say that it is a huge subject, and it entirely depends upon the type of the plant in question.
Winterizing garden – this is something that needs to done very carefully and this is the topic on which people keep on asking me questions after questions and very rightly so. This is something that will make your garden ready to face the upcoming long winter months. There is a specific way to do that. Let us look into some of the techniques:
- Chop, cut, clip and clean: First of all, you need to tidy up your garden and help it get rid of unwanted stuffs. You need to remove the spent stalks and the debris of shrubs or dead plants or the ones that are unwanted or have grown here and there by default. Otherwise all these debris might become home or incubator for pests and diseases once the long chilly winter sets in and everything goes under snow. You need to get rid of the dying foliage as this will give your garden a much trimmer and slimmer look all throughout the winter. Also, it will help remove the grooming chores in the spring that will follow the winter, when you will be carrying out all the “good funny” things and may be planting new seeds and seedlings.
- Remove Invasives: You need to pull out the weeds or other plants that are unwanted. Here you need to take special care to get rid of the invasive plants, particularly the seed heads. You need to use a covered garbage container to remove the compost pile so that you do not mistakenly spill them while carrying. If left unnoticed, they can again be a home for the pests and diseases that will cause ‘health concern’ for your garden.
There is one aspect that helps the very practice of gardening a lot. It is the aspect of pollination. And when it comes to discussing pollination, insects play a crucial role in that. In fact, there are a few beneficial insects that help in pollination. Thus, it is imperative that you try to attract these beneficial insects into your garden. I had succeeded in doing so and I am sure with a little practice and application of thought and imagination you will be able to do the same as well. Let us look into some of the ways to attract these beneficial insects.
- Frankly speaking, attracting beneficial insects entirely depends upon planting of plants or flowers that attract insects. Some of these insects are very small and they would like to be attracted by smaller flowers like alyssum.
- You need to allow the plants to grow adequate flowers and that also as fast as possible to attract the insects and hence you would like to create situations conducive to fast growth of the plants and appearance of these flowers.
- Bees are another variety of beneficial insects and in order to attract bees you need flowers like foxglove. The lip of this particular flower acts as the landing pad for bees and provides them all the chance to collect the nectar. One thing that you need to keep in mind is that bees do not see colors as we do, though they are attracted towards blue and yellow flowers.
The first and foremost thought that crossed my mind after I decided to turn the backyard of my house into a little garden was that what am I going to do with my garden? Am I going to grow flowers or something else? My husband advised me to grow vegetables as for me that was an easier venture and there I was, growing vegetables in my backyard garden. But then again, choosing the ones to grow was a big thing. I had to opt for the ones that are easiest to grow, rather than opting for the ones that are fairly difficult to grow. Let me discuss a few vegetables that are easiest to grow in your garden, as they have been in mine.
- Lettuce and Other Salad Greens
Lettuce is something that grows fairly fast and is really simple to grow or harvest. You just need to snip off the tops from the plants or pick the leaves if and when needed. They take hardly any space to grow and they can even grow in the confined places of containers, may be accompanied by the flowers or when placed under the shades of much taller plants. I have been successful in directly seeding and growing them even in areas that are partially shaded.
It is regarded as one of the most popular and one of the most widely harvested vegetables for gardens of any size, and that had actually prompted me to grow tomatoes in my garden. You can do the same and actually you can grow tomatoes in baskets that you can hang from places or in other containers or anywhere you like. However, you need to be sure that the place you select gets a lot of sunshine. Also, do not forget to provide adequate support for their tendrils or stalks. However, if you are a starter just like I had been a couple of years back, I would recommend you to opt for the smaller variety of tomatoes, like cherry tomatoes.
Gardening in my opinion is one of the best hobbies one can practice. It is not rocket science. However, at the same time, it is not that easy a practice as well. I have learned through experience that you need to follow a certain methodology in order to grow the best produces, and for that you need to avoid a few very rudimentary, yet critical mistakes that can ruin your venture. Here are some of them.
- Under prepared Beds
This is a very common mistake that I find people ending up with, due to sheer ignorance or at times due to utter callousness and laziness. As and when the seeds or the seedlings are planted during the spring, we do this simply by digging small holes with the help of our hands or the small hand shovels, thinking that the room that we thus make will be sufficient for them. However, the fact is that when the soil subsequently dries up and becomes rock hard, the tender root tips are unable to penetrate that hard soil, leading to subsequent death of the seedling or resulting in the growth of a stunted plant thereafter. Hence, it is necessary to double-dig the garden bed and add sufficient compost and leaf mold that will make the soil loose enough for a good underground growth of the root.
They say that you need to have a hobby or two to be healthy – mentally as well as physically. How right they are! The present state of affairs in our daily life tend to take the hell out of our soul, leaving us only in a virtual vegetative state, albeit with a lifeless soul with striking similarities with a machine. That is why having a hobby comes as a fresh bout of air for the mind, body and spirit, and when it comes to gardening, it is really one of the healthiest refreshments as it has everything to do with nature and greenery and other colors that Mother Nature has in her offing for us! Believe me, I have stopped aging mentally since I took it up as my pastime and hobby, and I am only getting younger and younger. Frankly speaking, a couple of hours in my backyard garden in the morning and in the afternoon leave me utterly refreshed. Believe me, gardening as a hobby comes up with a string of benefits for you, as it has for me.
- It creates a positive impact on health
I had an uncanny propensity of suffering from lethargy before, but this hobby of gardening has changed me. Believe me, it has the same effect as doing physical exercise as it burns calories, and keeps you healthy – physically and mentally. When gardening, I conduct activities likes mowing my backyard, trimming the plants and getting rid of the unwanted shrubs and weeds, cleaning the pots and planting seedlings and plants, watering them, and taking close look and getting rid of weeds and the likes. Now all these activities need a fair amount of physical mobility, which in turn helps be to burn calories that at the end of the day helps me to stay fit.