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Tuesday, 21 September 2010


One usually hope that the compost to be used will be filled with beneficial nutrients and bacteria. It makes no sense to spread it lightly over the surface of shrubberies or vegetable gardens and the expect it to make any difference to the quality of the soil. In that way you will only be wasting your time and money. For the best effect, it is recommended to apply compost to small areas one at a time.

1.       If you plan to replant a bed with annuals, perennials, bulbs, etc spread a layer of compost approximately 20cm thick, and dig it in with the final soil preparation before you start planting.

2.       If a new bed is planned for various plants, a layer of compost approximately 10cm thick will suffice, because there are no feeder roots in the bed yet. Also, each hole will receive additional compost when it is prepared for planting.

3.       In a bed with established plants compost will be used as mulch. Dig the area over lightly, apply the correct fertilizer and then spread a layer of compost of between 10 and 20cm. This usually does not need to be dug in.

4.       If you are planting new plants, the hole for the new plant should be at least twice as wide as the pot or plant bag, and approximately one and a half times as deep. You need to remove at least one third of the soil from the freshly removed soil, and replace it with compost. Mix the soil and compost well, also add the correct fertilizers at the same time. This mixture is then put back into the hole and the new plant is planted directly into the mixture.

5.       If you leave compost to lie around for an extended period you need to keep it moist, otherwise it will lose most of its nutritional value.

This will hopefully assist you in attaining the results that you desire for your garden.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Moss and Algae and the removal of it

Moss is the furry green growth found growing on shaded riverbanks, paving and south facing brick wall that are permanently damp. There will often be ferns growing with it. Lichen is a type of fungus, and algae is a micro organism.

1.       Moss on pots and paving can be cleaned off with a stiff brush

2.       Using dry swimming pool chlorine, moss can be dusted lightly, and then scrubbed off later

3.       By scattering coarse salt on paving, growth of moss and algae can be discouraged.

4.       Algae can be cleaned by using a diluted mixture of pool algaecide. Usually mixed in a ration of 1:5 with water.

5.       Lichen on trees and rocks does not harm the plants. It just gives you an indiscation that the area is moist and shaded.

Moss and algae can provide an ‘ageing’ effect on walkways which landscapers sometimes include in their landscaping plans. But the negative side of this is that it can make the walkway slippery. When it does become slippery it is best to remove it.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Three types of Fertilizer

Lets have a quick look at the three different basic fertilizers.


This type of fertilizer is obtained from plants and animal, or human waste (actually sewage sludge). It is a "balanced fertilizer" but it has a drawback in that it is slow-acting and it does not have a lot of kick. It usually has a formulation of 1-1-1. This slow action actually can be beneficial since you usually can't burn out the grass with too much nitrogen.

Prices of organic fertilizers are generally lower than the man-made materials, which can be an advantage if you have time for the slow organic reaction. Organics work best in warm weather; unfortunately, warm weather is not the time most lawns should be fertilized.


These fertilizers can be recognized by the label: "WIN," which stands for water insoluble nitrogen. They have a very high percentage of nitrogen-enough to burn grass. However, since the chemical is slowly released, it is really not a problem (if properly applied, of course) since the nitrogen doesn't release into the plant in one sudden surge.

The big advantage of slow release fertilizer is that you can cover your lawn with a large amount of the fertilizer at one time so you don't have to come back often for re-application. WIN, in spite of its high nitrogen content, does not green grass fast, because of its slow-release feature. So remember that we you go out and by fertilizer.


There is a lot to like about this type of fertilizer. But first lets look at the negative points: You will most probably have to apply the fertilizer more often because a normal lawn requires a certain amount of nitrogen annually so you have to spread more to meet requirements. Now the positives of this type of fertilizer is, if applied properly there is no fertilizer burn; if the fertilizer is overlapped when applied, there is danger of fertilizer burn. Make sure the lawn is dry during the application, and watered well after the application, otherwise there can be trouble with fertilizer burn.

Fortunately these fertilizers are not cost prohibitive-in fact, they are competitive among manufacturers. The fertilizers are predictable in that you know before you apply them what the results will be. They are easier to handle than other fertilizer types. They can be applied with a spreader or they can be sprayed on the turf grass.

I have been in the Garden Maintenance Service Industry for a couple of years and have worked with all these types of fertilizers. My advice is to consider what you need from the fertilizer before you go out and buy it.

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