Thursday, April 22, 2010
Do you know that the Rainforests are being decimated by unlawful logging activities?
Do you know that Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere will increase hugely as a result?
Do you know that the Rainforest is home to about 70% of animal, bird, insect and plant life on Earth which are now at risk of extinction?
Do you know how important the Rainforest is to the whole Ecosystem of the Planet?
Take off those blinkers and earplugs, settle back and listen.
Fact 1. Trees provide almost 1/3rd of the oxygen we need to breath.
Fact 2. Trees convert Carbon Dioxide in the air into solid carbon and store it safely in their trunks.
Fact 3. Trees prevent soil erosion through their root systems which bind the soil together and provide protection from the wind.
Fact 4. Trees protect the Ecosystem by providing shelter beneath their foliage.
Fact 5. Trees help to reduce ground temperature.
Fact 6. At the present rate of destruction, the Amazon Rainforest will all but disappear by 2030.
It's time we stopped talking about it and did something about it! A world without trees is the ultimate nightmare scenario. Now, many people say that under-developed Nations have a perfect right to try to Industrialise urgently in an attempt to improve living standards for their people and I have some sympathy with that. I mean it is clear that in the very first Industrial Revolution in England, Nature was given short shrift and the earth was savaged for coal and iron ore, and the "dark Satanic Mills" of legend introduced the concept of mass production and Factory conditions to the World.
Isn't it a bit hypocritical that having gone through that upheaval and having created our modern civilisation, we are now lecturing the under-developed world when they are trying to follow our exampleand improve their lot? The answer is yes to that, but with this caveat. We are now more acutely aware than ever before of the dangers outlined above and what I am proposing is that at the same time as Industrialising, we should also be actively replacing the resources we are depleting.
So, alongside Industrialisation, it is possible to restore huge areas of Rainforest if we have the will to do so. By planting trees in large numbers, we can recapture Carbon, restore the Ecostructure and as a by-product, provide work for local Communities.
So how can we achieve any of this? Easy - simply visit the web site below and join our free Tree Club. Simply leave your name and e-mail address - that's it - all free and nothing else to do.
We are on a mission to help our planet restore the millions of trees that are lost each year. For every one who leaves their name we will commission the Charity "Trees For The Future" to plant one tree just for you! "Trees For The Future" is a charity that has been responsible for planting millions of trees all over the world. Our donations so far have resulted in tons of trees being planted in the name of our members. With your help, the number will grow much higher and we will reach our goal by next year.
go to http://budurl.com/plantafreetree and join us. When you have done that,
click the "Tell A Friend" button to refer a friend now! It's free.
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
That has been very discouraging I must admit. Makes me wonder if there really is anyone out there reading this at all or am I merely deluding myself? So an appeal from me - drop me a comment or two. Let me know what you think of the site. Tell me about yourself. Ask me a question. Let me know what gardening problems you need answers for! Talk to me - let me know there is someone out there taking an interest.
In short is E.T. really out there or am I wasting my time producing this Blog?
Sunday, April 04, 2010
For those of you new to gardening, the issue of soil preparation may be a mystery. Believe me it is more than just turning over a sod or two with a spade. I was talking to a friend today about PH and Lime application, and it was apparent from our conversation that this whole area is a mystery to some.
One of the most misunderstood issues in gardening relates to that magic phrase "PH" - so what's it all about? Well, all soils are generally speaking acidic in character, to a higher or lower extent, dependent in each case on a number of variable factors at work in the soil forming process for that individual "soil." Most gardeners recognise the importance of the following influences:
- The surface features or topography of the area
- The prevailing climate particularly rainfall leaching.
- The influence of time
- The nature of the soil itself
- The type of living organisms active in the soil
- The level of fertilizer use
So how do we work out soil acidity? It is obvious that we need some simple measure of soil acidity so that corrective action can be taken to reduce acidity and improve growth conditions. Well, this is where PH comes in. Without going into too much technical jargon, PH is simply a way of calibrating the level ( or potential "P") of hydrogen ions ( H+ ) in a solution of water. It gives us a measure of acidity.
By mixing a solution of soil and distilled water in a 1:1 solution, the PH of the water solution in equilibrium with the soil can be accurately recorded. The lower the PH the more acidic the soil sample. The higher the PH the more alkaline the soil sample. PH is usually measured on a scale of 1 to 14, so that at a PH of 7, the soil sample can be said to be neutral. The lower the PH level the more likely it is that metallic components are present. So below a PH of about 6.0 the incidence of metals such as copper, zinc and manganese increases to toxic levels. Above 6.0 the incidence of nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium increases to beneficial levels for plant growth.
Each plant species is suited to different growing conditions of course, and slightly acidic soil can help to keep down blight in potatoes for example. On the other hand, slightly alkali soil has a higher level of salt present which may not suit your particular crop. Generally however, gardeners tend to aim for neutral PH of around 7.0 in most cases.
So, faced with an acidic soil, what can the gardener do to improve soil quality? Well, this is where lime comes in. You can raise soil PH by applying Lime to the soil. Lime is made by crushing limestone or chalk, whose main active ingredients are calcium and magnesium carbonates and oxides. ( Don't worry - you can buy it at your local Garden Centre ). On application, a chemical reaction occurs which changes some of the hydrogen ion concentration into water and carbon dioxide - in effect diluting the hydrogen ion level and raising the PH measure to a more alkali friendly number. Liming in this way can provide a source of calcium, improve water penetration and increase bacterial activity. Be careful to understand however that Lime is a chemical and overliming can be harmful too.
Lime can be applied throughout the year, but most gardeners will apply it during Winter or early Spring. Remember that Lime is insoluble in water so thoroughly mix the lime with the top soil. Once moisture is applied the lime will start to chemically react, so thorough mixing in dry conditions is very important.
Don't forget that different plants thrive in different soil conditions, so make sure you know which PH level your plant needs before deciding how much or how little Lime to apply.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
I was strolling through our local park today basking in the Sunshine. The clocks went forward at midnight last night and there was a real feel of Spring in the air. A cold gusting wind was blowing, but nevertheless, the sight of the Sun in a blue, almost cloudless sky, raised my spirits enormously. It has been a long, dark, cold winter, (whatever happened to global warming!) and we in the North of England desperately need some warm weather to cheer us up.
Trudging along, my eye was attracted to a splash of colour dotted about on the grass and on further inspection, this turned out to be a carpet of Crocuses, in a profusion of yellow, purple and white colours. God must have been having a good day when he created the Crocus. There is nothing more guaranteed to raise the spirits than the sight of a profusion of Crocuses spreadeagled across the grass. I just love the seemingly undisciplined way they grow - no straight lines, just a myriad of colours waving at me in the wind. It is as though someone has taken a paintbox of colours and sprinkled them haphazardly in a carpet across the grass.
The Crocus, or Saffron is one of the Lily family, and is a hardy perennial plant which is believed to have originated in the Mediterranean area where it was first harvested, so legend has it, on the Island of Crete! As one of the first flowers to bloom in spring, crocuses are of course immensely popular. The plants grow from corms and their cup-shaped, solitary, "salverform" flowers taper off into a narrow tube. Their flowers and leaves are protected from Winter snow and frosty conditions by a waxy cuticle and it is a wonderful sight to see them pushing their way up through a sprinkling of snow.
Cultivation of the plant is no trouble at all, as they can be left very much to themselves to develop, although they do need regular cutting back as they seed abundantly. They thrive in light, sandy, gritty, well drained loam, flowering usually at the beginning of March in the UK. They should be planted in a sunny position, although some species do prefer shadier sites. The corms should be planted about an inch and a half to two inches deep.
So if you want to create a brilliant and uplifting display in your garden for next early Spring, take my advice and plant Crocus flowers, you won't be sorry!
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Well my friends, today is Mothering Sunday in the UK - Mother's Day. Sadly I lost my Mother some years ago - in 1969 to be precise - and still miss her dearly. Funny isn't it how you always regret the things you shouldn't have said or done and remember the things you should have said and done when they were with us.
Sadly that's the human condition I think - we never know when the Grim Reaper will appear over the horizon. Think about it, we are all of us merely one heartbeat away from meeting our God - (whatever or whoever that is for any individual). Concentrates the mind doesn't it. In this modern world we are so mollycoddled through our addiction to Consumerism that we seem to have forgotten that we are after all human and our time on this Earth is finite.
In earlier years, an acceptance of death was part of our daily living experience. We in the West didn't have the wonders of modern Science to protect us - modern drugs and medical advances have wiped out so many of the diseases that claimed lives so cheaply in earlier centuries, certainly in Western Society. I think we have forgotten that man, like plants is subject at the end of it all to the demands and strictures of Nature. We all have an allotted time and when it is up, we have to go!
Anyway, I simply wanted to say that I took some flowers to my Mother's grave this morning and chose to take a bouquet of Carnations. And that prompted me to put some notes together about that flower, which is extremely popular in the UK.
If sowing from seeds you should sow Carnation in cutting boxes round about now, in March. Set out the ensuing young plants as early as possible and nip off the centre of the plants so that they can branch out without restraint.
Carnations will also grow well from cuttings which are best taken round about Autumn time. Cuttings taken from the plant base are usually best and you should pot them and maintain them in a cool environment, about 45 to 50 Degrees F. Nip off the tops while growing in the pot, and keep them secure until it comes time to plant them out , usually early in April. Keep them moist while potted.
When you do start to plant out, plant into loose soil, which should be well manured and water in well. The plant does better in partly shaded conditions,
and you must keep pinching off the tops regularly, when they will bloom throughout the Summer months.
Flowers are usually taken up by September, when you can unearth them carefully, and pot them securely until root growth has begun. You will need to water well and moisturise the flower foliage regularly. You will add to the size of the main flowers by nipping off the side buds. All in all a plant well worth cultivating.
Friday, March 12, 2010
So for old times sake and just for you here it is again in all its glory!
How to Grow Courgettes!
Courgettes are a firm fleshy vegetable, which has grown in popularity over the years. It is in the gaud section of the cucumber family, which includes marrows, squashes and pumpkins. Courgettes are an easy crop to grow; children are fascinated with their flowers and excited by the crops rapid growth. Plants like these kindle interest in gardening at an early age which gives hope for the future, for once the passion for growing plants and good quality home grown foods has been kindled, it generally continues throughout a person's life.
Courgettes are best eaten soon after harvesting them when they are fresh and at the peak of their flavour. In cooking, courgettes can be boiled, steamed, baked, fried, grilled and roasted. They have a delicate flavour so can be cooked with herbs to add variety.
Courgettes prefer heavier soils; they do best in positions where there is shelter from cold winds and they must have a sunny site. When preparing the ground, add plenty of manure and compost where the plants are to grow. Begin by digging a trench 4 in. (101mm) deep put in the manure then dig another putting the soil from this into the first trench. This will form a ridge; the courgettes can be planted into the ridges, 3 ft. (90cm) apart.
Sowing Under Cover
Sow the seed mid March through to late May putting two seeds into the pot ½ in. (12mm) deep, at a temperature of 65 to 70 deg F. (18 to 21 deg C.) the weaker one can be removed if they both germinate. Harden off the young plants by putting the first sowing into cold frames at the end of May. Plant them out after about two or three weeks along the ridges when the chance of frost has passed.
Sowing direst into the ground where they are to grow sowing two seeds per station, this can be done in mid May until early June at about 3 ft. (90cm) apart. When the seeds have germinated they can be thinned out removing the less vigorous seedling.
Water the pots well before planting out. Avoid holding the plants by their stems as they are easily bruised causing them irreparable damage. If the weather is cool cover each plant with a cloche for the first week to give them a little warmth and protection. One of the best methods I find is to use a half of a clear plastic 5 litre mineral bottle. Cut into half, the bottle makes two excellent cloches. The top half, whilst giving protection also allows air and moisture through the neck of the bottle onto the plants. To prevent flying insects entering through the neck, I secure a small piece of fleece with an elastic band.
Courgettes require plenty of water so that they are able to grow and fully develop, soak the roots thoroughly and regularly. For extra protection against the surface roots from drying out, grass clippings can be used as mulch. They are generally trouble free if the summer is a good one, however slugs can sometimes be a problem; to be on the safe side, position a few slug traps around the base of the plants. Cold conditions could restrict the activity of pollinating insects and so the fruits may fail to set. Should this happen it may be necessary to assist with pollination by removing a male flower and gently brush it against the female flowers, which can be distinguished from those of the male, by the slight swelling behind the flower.
In a good summer, courgettes can often be cut in August; keep cutting them when they are about 4 to 6 in. (101mm-15cm) long, do not be tempted to leave them longer because the flavour will not be quite as good. The plants will continue cropping until well into September. Use a sharp knife to cut the fruits from the plants, twisting or pulling will often damage the stem and possibly the whole plant.
Varieties to Try:
'Ambassador': Good flavour with a high yield.
'Defender': Has good resistance to cucumber mosaic virus, heavy cropper.
'Gold Rush': Yellow skinned variety.
'Tondo di Nizza': Spherical fruits
Terry Blackburn. Internet Marketing Consultant, living in South Shields in the North-East of England. Author and Producer of blog http://www.lawnsurgeon.blogspot.com/. Author of "Your Perfect Lawn," a 90 Page eBook devoted to Lawn Preparation, Lawn Care and Maintenance.
I would be very interested to have your comments on this Article.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
http://www.lawnsurgeon.blogspot..com Terry's Garden Blog - a repository for over 250 Articles related to gardening. A huge variety of knowledge and experience free to dive into. Most of these Articles have been published on http://www.Ezinearticles.com - this video gives a foretaste on the Article "Ficus Ginseng Plant" which is featured on my blog!
How to Grow the Best Juicy Tasty Tomatoes Ever!
How to Build a Ridge Support for Runner Beans!
How to Start A Garden!
VideoJug: How To Start A Garden I thought today we may spare a thought for all those people out there who would dearly love to start a garden, but lack the knowledge or experience to allow them to do so. So I have put up this video to show the basics in the hope that it will encourage more people to learn to grow things.