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A practical guide for nutritional and traditional health care.

How To Plan A Garden Right

    Posted before Dec-31-2007

Gardening not only enables one to unwind and rest, but is also one of the most healthy hobbies. In addition, a well maintained garden enhances the splendor and allure of an individual's home. One may choose from an assortment of garden plans and designs to go with his or her preference and space. Broadly speaking, gardening is a breathing form of art that one is able to adapt and adjust in accordance with his or her liking and plans. For instance, if you are not pleased with the selection of plants you made this year, you may very well substitute the whole collection of plants or a section of them in the following year. In addition to replacing the plants, even the design of your garden can be modified according to your fascination and preference.

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Whenever you think of a garden, it brings in reflections of flowers of different colors, including wild blossoms, outlandish plants, crotons (fine-foliaged hothouse plants), ferns, stacks of tomatoes, herbs as well as varieties of vegetables. Irrespective of the fact that you have a flower garden, herb garden or a vegetable garden, you ought to have a specific preparation and design for your garden to make it beautiful as well as attractive. A garden plan is also essential for the proper growth of the plants and vegetables. For example, if one desires to have a flower garden, he or she should select a site that provides a good sight either from their preferred window or from the door - back or front. The site of the garden should be able to inspire one to take up gardening more frequently and also spend some quality time in the garden. It is not only important to garden, but spending some time in the garden is also essential, as it helps you to relax and unwind. You will be surprised to notice that when you spend some time in your garden, it helps you to de-stress after an extended and exhausting week.

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In addition to a garden plan and selecting a suitable site for the garden, it is also important to take the climate in your area into account. When you consider the climate in your region, you will be surprised to learn that how little we know regarding the details, numbers and information of the weather in the locality we reside in. In case you are unable to collect the fact and figures of the weather in your region from any local office, you may perhaps check with an online map to acquaint yourself with the statistical information regarding the climatic elements such as average monthly rainfall and temperatures. Having checked the climatic conditions in your area and decided on the type of garden you desire to have, the subsequent step would be to work out the precise plants that you would want to grow in your garden. While deciding on the type of plants that you would like to grow in your garden always take into account the plants that would be appropriate for the period of the growing season in your region and the plants that would be able to endure the usual temperature fluctuations in your locality.

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While carefully preparing for your garden, you need to consider one more aspect. It is always important to take into account the amount of shade that would be essential for each type of plant that you want to grow in your garden. At the same time, it is important to ensure that there is sufficient sunlight in all the places of your garden where you want to grow the plants.

Having done with the planning process on paper, the next step should be to initiate preparations for the different plots or sections for different plants you would be growing in your garden. This time too, you need to think about an excellent arrangement that would usher in happiness, will be easy to maintain and, at the same time, would be resourcefully utilizing the accessible space. At this stage, you need to consider where to put the plants that have the need of plenty of sunlight. Remember, the best places to plant such vegetation are the ones that are at a distance from tall buildings and high trees that usually get in the way of sunlight.

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You should also mull over which plant should be grown near the house and which ones to grow in the open space. If you like the sunlight to flow into your room through the windows, it is advisable not to plant tall and huge trees or large bushes close to the house, as they would eventually obstruct the sunlight when they grow up. In the event you decide to grow herbs and vegetables in your garden, it would be best to grow them close to the house. This is primarily owing to the fact that when such vegetation is grown near the house it is more likely that you would be making use of them in your cooking. In addition to such handiness, you ought to also contemplate on the site for growing vegetables considering the amount of sunlight they would be requiring for optimum growth. This aspect will be especially important if you plan to grow enough vegetables in the garden.

In the event you desire to have the occasional extra things in your garden, for example, a meandering pathway or a gazebo (a small roofed building affording shade and rest), you must incorporate them in the preliminary blueprint of the garden. Always remember that you are at liberty to implement any plan you want in your outdoor garden or let you creativity run riot. The only two inhibiting factors that might restrain you to some extent are the climatic conditions in your region and your lack of imagination.

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In the event you have never taken to gardening before, you are still able to care for your family and yourself by making use of the tried and true herbal medications prepared from the herbs grown and harvested from your personal therapeutic herb garden.

Garden plans and designs

It is possible to develop a multi-hued and striking garden even in a smallest plot with a fine design and preparation. If you are familiar with the idea of vertical gardening, you will know that this is being regarded as a way out to make concrete courtyards and depressing constructions livelier by way of planting plants on their wall vertically. Hence, it is not surprising that numerous government as well as non-government organizations who have huge buildings have acknowledged this notion. This is more because vertical gardens help to make the city green and, at the same time purifies the atmosphere.

Container garden

In case you do not have enough space to develop a normal garden, but still have a passion for gardening, container gardening is the most appropriate answer to your desire. In the concrete jungles that our cities have grown into, container gardening is among the most widely accepted garden plans. In this case, you will be growing plants in containers and pots instead of the actual ground. Container gardening is attractive and acceptable to many people, especially those living in condominiums or places where the soil is not suitable for growing plants. While usual gardening makes it compulsory to grow plants in a garden, container gardening enables you to grow plants in pots on the rooftop, steps, atop a porch and even indoors. When you are practicing container gardening, you may grow flowering plants, herbs, small shrubs, vegetables as well as small trees in pots and place them where ever you want to. Container gardening allows you to use your creativity to the fullest, for instance, you may plan a wildlife sanctuary for butterflies and hummingbirds in your container garden. Container gardening is a favorite with many gardeners as the pots are moveable and you may place them at the place of your choice. However, if you are growing plants in containers and using them as a part of your interior decoration, it is essential that you put the plants in sunlight at regular intervals and also get rid of the foliage timely.

Knot garden

Knot garden is a gardening concept or design that was widely accepted by people in England during the regime of Queen Elizabeth I. In fact, there was a period when knot gardens were a favorite with majority of the homes in England as well as France. The knot garden was actually planned on the lines of a rug or tapestry design. Normally, knot gardens were planned and designed on geometric models and they comprised growing petite hedges of perennial or evergreen herbs. Knot gardens are of two types - open knot gardens and closed knot gardens. In the instance of a closed knot garden the interior sections or compartments, usually containing sand or gravel, of the garden are basically inaccessible. On the other hand, the open knot garden will generally comprise a pathway and usually grow aromatic herbs like lavender, thyme, rosemary or sage. These sweet-smelling herbs are grown in the sections having geometric forms. It needs to be mentioned here that setting up, crafting as well as sustaining a knot garden is not only a time taking endeavor, but also tiresome.

Border garden

It is essential to have a special preparation and design if you desire that your garden should have a distinct and decorative border or boundary that would also double up as a fence. In this case, you have an assortment of plants to choose from to make the border garden attractive and appealing. Generally, while planning a border garden people usually chose from among moonlight garden, rose-border, mix and match, pink and purple border or yellow and green garden options. The arrangement of a border garden can be made more gorgeous by using a striking contrast border in a flower garden or vegetable garden. Alternately, if one has a vast area for gardening purpose, the border garden arrangement may well be in the heart or middle of his or her garden. The most favored plants for border gardening include Artemisia, moonflower and Japanese fern. You are free to plant any of these to make your border garden appear alluring.

Coastal garden

As is evident from the name, the concept of coastal garden is extensively practiced by gardening enthusiasts living in the coastal regions. It is important to bear in mind that if one desires to develop a stunning garden in the coastal areas, he or she should essentially grow plants that not only thrive well on sandy soil, but are also able to survive the gusty sea wind. In the instance of developing a beach garden in your seashore house, after having selected the site of the garden, you may fence the garden with laurel hedge (one of the largest and fastest- growing of all hedges). You may also plant Korean fir trees at the ends of the garden hedge to give it an attractive look. The flowering plants that are most suitable for a coastal garden include phlox, stonecrop, delphiniums and geranium.

Rock garden

Usually, rocks and stones are used as base for rock gardens, also called Alpine gardens. In addition, the plants that are grown in a rock garden are those that are indigenous to rocky or mountainous regions. In fact, bonsai may also be included in a rock garden to give it an appealing appearance. It may be mentioned here that the Japanese rock gardens are called Zen gardens by the westerners. An actual slope or a terrace is considered to be the most suitable site to plan and develop a rock garden. While planning a roof garden, it is important to ensure that there is an excellent drainage system to drain out the surplus water. In addition, it is also imperative to prepare and design a rock that will be easy to supervise and sustain. If you are keen to make your rock garden appear really striking, you may plant Snowcap rock cress, Sea pink, Burgundy glow, Blue clips, Purple gem, Yellow ice plant, Snow-in-summer and a host of other plants native to rocky regions.

Fairy garden

A fairy garden is basically a theme garden based on different subjects. There are many parents who are keen on developing gardens based on fairy tales for their little children. If you desire to have a fairy garden, you must first decide on the theme and the location for the garden. Having done these, you are now able to design and make preparations for the garden. In fact, a fairy garden is designed in such a manner that it gives a free rein to the children's thoughts so as to enable them to escape from the realities of life and fantasize about fairies, elves and spirits. You will find several shops in the market that sell fairy garden accessories, such as fairy bird feeder, fairy wind chimes, fairy statues, fairy cottages and houses as well as fairy fountains. These shops also supply items like fairy lamps that operate on solar energy and radiates till late into the night ushering in a mystique touch to the fairy garden. All such things actually help to virtually transport the children to the magical and enthralled world of the fairies. Apart from these unique accessories, there are a number of plants that are most suited for growing in a fairy garden. These plants include pink roses, hollyhocks, tulips, rosemary, foxgloves and narcissus. You may also grow vegetables such as peas, pumpkins, cherry tomatoes and carrots to offer an exquisite appearance to the garden. In addition, you may use cobblestones to cover the pathways inside the fairy gardens.

Shade garden

When the backdrop of a garden is out of the sun, not many plants will usually thrive well. Nevertheless, there are numerous plants that especially grow well in shady conditions. This gives rise to an opportunity to develop a shade garden where you may select and grow plants according to the extent of shadow they require to thrive well. Shade garden have a special effect on us as it helps us to cool ourselves as well as to keep the atmosphere around the house breezy. There are many attractive plants that grow well in shade and these include toad lilies, money plant, various hues of Christmas rose, Japanese painted ferns and Jacob's ladder. The other optional plants that are most appropriate for growing in shade gardens comprise epimedium, hostas, foxgloves and geraniums.

Seasonal garden

Seasonal gardens are best suited for those who would like to have blossoms and greenery round the year. Having planned a seasonal garden, the next step should be to select the plants that you would like to grow in different seasons of the year. Extensive planning and hard work are required to have an attractive and well-maintained seasonal garden. You not only need to plan in advance regarding which flower you would like to grow in a particular season, but also need to make adequate preparations for it. For instance, if you desire to grow tulips in your garden during spring, you ought to plant the bulbs of the plant prior to the commencement of winter. Among the plants that blossom during the summer are Dame's rocket, larkspur, delphinium and lamb's ears. On the other hand, you may grow plants like Asiatic lily, ornamental onion, purple cornflower, wormwood, creeping phlox and Siberian iris during the fall months. Tulips, daffodils, poppies and pansies blossom during the spring and give your garden a multi-hued appearance. As mentioned earlier, you must have some idea as well as plan well before the onset of a particular season regarding the plants you would like to grow in that season. If your planning is good, you will be able to have varieties of flowers and greenery in your garden all through the year. While planning a seasonal garden, you may also add a few interesting plants like orchids, ferns and bamboo to give your garden an alluring appearance.

Vegetable garden

Advance planning is important if you wish to have an excellent vegetable garden. It may be underlined here that selecting the right site is the most important aspect while planning a vegetable garden. It is advisable to select a location which receives lots of sunlight throughout the year. At the same time, you need to make certain that the quality of the soil as well as the drainage system at the site is excellent. Try to keep away from any location that is windy, as strong winds not only break and uproot the plants, but also soak the moisture out of the soil making it dry. When you are planning your vegetable garden always bear in mind that having a small and well looked after garden is better than having a large, but uncared for garden. In addition, you should always have a strong fencing around your vegetable garden to keep off animals such as dogs and rabbit from destroying the plants. If you intend to cultivate tomatoes, beans and peas, the fencing would also come useful as a trellis or lattice work that would support the climbing plants. Normally, everyone would like to grow vegetables that their family members like to eat. However, it is important to follow the crop rotation method to preserve the fertility of the soil.

Water garden

Water gardens or water gardening plans are the latest fashion among gardening enthusiasts. In fact, a water garden is a water body or pool inside your flower or vegetable garden where you grow aquatic plants and have water animals, especially various types of fishes. Two aspects are important while planning a water garden - the size of the water body available for aquatic gardening and the gardener's skill in maintaining the water garden. If you have a small space, it is advisable to construct a little pool, which could either be a concrete structure or a plastic tub filled with water. Depending on the space available for water gardening as well as the form of the background selected by you, you are free to add additional features like rockwork, waterfalls, fountain, lighting and other accessories related to ponds to your water garden with a view to make it more attractive and lively. The most common aquatic plants used in water gardens include lotus, water lily, watercress and others.

Hydroponics garden

Hydroponics gardening is one of the gardening plans that is a fashion these days. In fact, hydroponics gardening denotes cultivating plants in a very nutrient rich water or a water body that is adequately oxygenated. Hydroponics gardening is different from all other forms of gardening as in this case the water is enriched with water solutions containing fertilizers and organic substances. In fact, the Aztecs and the Incas made use of this method in the primeval period. Currently, the technique of hydroponics gardening is commonly used in biological investigations. If anyone is keen on developing a hydroponics garden, they may avail the hydroponics gardening equipments from the market. Cabbage, baby carrots, green onions, broccoli and several flowering as well as herbal plants are best suited for hydroponics gardens.

Herb garden

When any individual allocates a plot in his or her garden to grow herbal plants it is called herbal gardening. During the medieval period or Middle Ages, monks and nuns farmed herbal plants. Herbs are not only used for therapeutic purposes, but also in cooking. The most common herbs grown in any herbal garden include thyme, bay, parsley, mint, rue, sage, marjoram and basil. While the popularity of herbal gardens is on the rise worldwide, presently, several Ayurvedic health centers promote their individual herbal gardens.

Garden landscaping

Creating a garden in your backyard or the front yard of your home is generally known as garden landscaping. Garden landscaping is one of the various methods to enhance the view of your flower or vegetable garden. In effect, a landscaped garden not only enhances the attractiveness of a house, but also brings in a breezy effect to the open-air living area. While garden landscaping is a favorite hobby for many garden enthusiasts, it is also a profitable profession for others.

Culinary herbs

For those engaged in herbal gardening, herbs that are used in cooking or culinary herbs are possibly the most valuable and useful as such herbs have potent aromas. Thus, these herbs are usually utilized in petite amounts to give essence to your food. Parsley is one herb that is grown in the biggest quantity and it is primarily used for garnishing or decorative value to delicacies. After parsley, the herb that is most popular in culinary is sage, which is crucial in adding essence to pork sausages. Thyme, chives, marjoram, savory, basil and mint are among the other culinary herbs that are well accepted by the chefs. It is important to mention here that the most extensively used herbs usually grow in the Northeast region. Anyone having space may possibly cultivate herbs as a portion of their vegetable garden. Nevertheless, you may also choose to cultivate herbal plants in a completely different area, especially the herbs that are perennial in nature.

Herb garden size

If you want to have a herbal garden, it is important to first settle on the size of the proposed garden as the variety of herbs you wish to grow in your herbal garden would depend on this aspect. Usually, a normal kitchen garden may cover an area of 20 feet by 4 feet and creating separate plots each measuring about 12 inches by 18 inches in that area should be enough to grow individual herbal plants. It would be wise to cultivate some of the more multi-hued and regularly used herbs like parsley and purple basil as a border of the herbal garden. In addition, it is advisable to grow perennial and annual herbal plants individually. In order to help you and others to identify the herbs as well as their benefits, you may put up a small map of the kitchen garden along with tags for the different plants.

Site and soil conditions

It is of utmost important to take into account the fertility of the soil and the drainage system while deciding on the location for an herbal garden. In fact, a good drainage system is considered to be the key for a thriving herbal garden. It must be borne in mind that no herbal plant will grow well in a moist soil. Thus, if the garden site selected by you has a poor drainage system, you ought to change the soil to improve the drainage system and thereby the prospects of growing herbs successfully. In order to improve the drainage system of your planned herbal garden site, take out the soil of the area to a deepness of around 15 inches to 18 inches. Next, make a three inch high bed at the bottom with crushed stone or any related material at the hollowed out ground as this will enable the excess water in the garden to seep out. Having prepared the bed, mix the excavated soil with a quantity of manure or sphagnum peat (a plant of a genus that comprises the peat mosses) and sand with a view to lessen the texture of the soil and then put the mixture back in the dug out area. While refilling the dug out ground, ensure that the beds are a little raised compared to the original level and allow some time for the soil to settle down.

It is not necessary that the soil of the plant beds need to be very luxuriant, and, hence, you should use only a small amount of fertilizer to it. Usually, much enriched soil is likely to turn out surplus quantity of foliage or undergrowth and will have an inferior aroma. Herbal plants like fennel, chervil, summer savory and lovage need reasonable quantities of nourishment. It needs to be remembered that when you add heaps of peat or manure to every 100 square feet of garden area will aid in enhancing the soil condition and keep the desirable humidity.

Sowing herb seeds

It is possible to grow almost all types of herbal plants from seeds. Another good thing about herbs is that (barring mint which is affected by rust) only some insects, contagions or infections are able to assault herbs. Red spider mites may possibly be found on low-height herbal plants in a hot and arid weather, while anise, dill, caraway and fennel may be infected by aphids (a particular kind of bug).

It is often necessary to restrain some herbal plants like the mint to thwart them from engulfing the entire garden. In order to contain such herbs, you need to plant them in No. 10 size canisters or large enough buckets. You may make a number of openings just a little above the base rim of the bucket or can to allow drainage of excess water. You may also place a clay pot, drain tile or a cement block below the can or the bucket and submerge them into the ground. Adopting this technique will enable you to restrict the random growth of the plants for more than a few years.

Apart from cultivating herbal plants on the ground, you may also grow them in pots, window boxes or even hanging baskets. However, growing herbs in these methods necessitate additional care, particularly watering.

It is always preferable to sow the herb seeds in not to deep boxes during the latter part of winter. After the seeds germinate, you may relocate the seedlings outdoors sometime during the spring. However, if you want to grow the seedlings indoor for a while, it is advisable to use a loose, properly drained soil. While sowing the seeds you need to exercise additional caution to ensure that they are not buried too deep into the soil. Usually, the better the quality of the seed is, the shallower it should be sown. In case you want to grow coriander, anise, fennel and dill, it is better to sow their seeds directly in the garden as it is extremely difficult to transplant them.

If you plan to grow biennial herbs, it is better to sow their seeds directly into the ground sometime around the latter part of spring. Before sowing the seeds of the biennial herbal plants you need to prepare the soil well so that the surface has an excellent texture and it is also damp to some extent. Next, you need to sow the seeds in not too deep rows and cover them with soil. Never sow the herb seeds very deep into the soil for they will never germinate if care is not taken. If you mix the delicate seeds of marjoram, thyme or savory, they will spread more consistently in the soil. On the other hand, the relatively larger seeds of herbs may be covered with around one-eighth of an inch of soil. If you are sowing delicate seeds, cover the plant beds with damp burlap (cloth or gunny) or thick paper to maintain the humidity of the soil all through the germination period. Watering of the beds should be done in the form of light spraying to check the soil from being washed away.

Cutting and division

Apart from growing herbal plants from their seeds, you may also use the cutting and division methods to propagate some specific herbs. Besides, when the seeds take too long to germinate and grow, cuttings may be a useful way to propagate the plants rapidly. On the other hand, there are a number of herbs that grow so quickly that division is the best method of propagating them. While lavender plants need to be cut, tarragon, mint and chives should be propagated through division.

Harvesting herbs

While harvesting herbs, it is advisable to pluck fresh leaves the moment the plants have sufficient foliage or undergrowth to sustain their growth. In order to make sure that the herbs yield high percentage of oil, collect the leaves or seeds of the plants only after the dew has evaporated, but essentially before the sun becomes hot enough. If you want to use the herbs dry, especially during the winter, collect the leaves prior to the blossoming of the flower buds. Pluck the seed heads only when their color transforms from green to brown or gray. Having collected the leaves and seeds, wash them in cold water to remove the dirt and drain out the water carefully before putting them out for drying.

Winter protection

All perennial and biennial herbal plants ought to be protected during the winter months. Several herbal plants have very shallow or superficial roots and this makes them vulnerable to heaving (climatic change from frost to warming of the soil causing the soil to buckle upward) all through the spring thaws or warming at the onset of spring. To shield the herbs during winter, prepare a protective covering about four inches deep with oak leaves, straw, or any perennial branches. Make use of the mulch or protective covering only when the ground is ice-covered in early winter. Keep the covering intact until the plants again show signs of growth with the onset of spring. Remember that removing the mulch any earlier may cause damage to the plants from frost.

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