Soil, being the basic component of your garden, determines quality, health and volume of growth you can have in your garden. Hence before you start experimenting with anything else to make your garden lush and thriving, it is a good idea to spend some time and effort to improve your garden soil. The following are a few tips to improve sandy garden soil.
Lush Home Garden, Image from topdesigninterior.com
A sandy, light and granule soil is good for growing a wide range of plants. However, too sandy soil can make your gardening experience a tough job. It drains off moisture very quickly and forms a crusty surface preventing essential moisture from getting down to the roots. If you are living in coastal areas or near mountain range, you probably have a higher proportion of sand in the soil.
Improving sandy soil is not very difficult but it does require a lot of organic portion added to it. You can add well rotted compost and manures to correct the sandy soil. If you are preparing ground for plantation, the best way is to dig the organic matter into the soil several weeks before plantation.
If you already have an established garden with sandy soil, add gradual layers of organic matter as mulch. As a layer breaks down and becomes part of the soil, add a new layer and allow it to break down and become part of the soil. This continuous process may take some time to form a perfect soil however the results are satisfactory – lush and thriving garden.
Window gardens are easy to maintain and can instantly give an entirely new look to your home especially if you do not have a lawn or live in an apartment. A window garden usually requires low maintenance and can be set up with relatively lower cost.
Before you begin with your first window garden, here are a few tips that would definitely help you with your window garden experiments.
Select a Location
Select a location for your window garden and observe its exposure to light, temperature, water, fog etc. Also make sure that the windows are easy to access as you would need to visit your window garden frequently for watering, fertilizing and weeding. Once you determine the type of climate, narrow down your choice of plants to the varieties that can be grown easily in your window garden.
Select Plants for Window Garden
Determine what type of plants you want to grow in your window garden. There are a lot of options ranging from flowering perennials to evergreen shrubs and from cacti and succulents to climbers or hanging plants. As a general rule, select a mixture of trailers and compact upright plants that grow tall enough to be seen without blocking the window, filler plants, and bulbs.
For a better show, choose plants that contrast with the background, for example, select bright plants against light background and pale flowers against dark brick walls. For beginners, here is a list of recommended plants for window gardens.
Alyssum, a fragrant trailer available in white, cream, pink, and purple colors, is easy to grow and fills in the space beautifully.
Caladiums add a lush, exotic look to a window garden. They are easy to grow and are available in a variety of colors and combinations. You can grow caladiums with flowering perennials to give a dramatic effect to your window garden.
A perfect choice for window gardens, offers showy flowers in variety of colors and quickly fill gaps between permanent plants or other annuals.
Excellent choice for a spectacular summer show, petunia offers wide, showy flowers in a range of bright colors.
With nice fragrant flowers, dianthus makes a good choice for any window garden.
Another excellent choice for window gardens. English ivy is a hardy trailing plant and can tolerate a range of temperature.
Bred to stay small in size, miniature roses come in a variety of types and colors. Despite their small size, miniature roses are hardy and can be grown easily in a window garden.
Cacti & Succulents
There is a large variety of cacti and succulents that you can experiment with in your window garden. With a little creativity, you can mix verities of cacti and succulents to grow a unique, year-round miniature garden.
Select Containers for Window Garden
Select containers for your window garden. These days, garden containers come in a lot of colors, style and materials. You can buy plastic, terra cotta, wooden, metallic or concrete containers in almost any color or shape. However, you should select the container that matches your windows and all the requirements of the plants that you want to grow in your window garden.
Most important factors are size and the material that the container is composed of. Pay special attention to the size. The container should allow sufficient room for the plants to grow. Since you will not be replacing your window gardens very often, the container should be sufficient for the plants for at least a year or two. Also select the material that is suitable for the plant and the climate. Normally, garden containers made of plastic do not survive broad spectrum of temperature. Similarly, terra cotta containers have a limited life. Moreover, there are certain materials that you not good for certain plants. Consider all these factors before purchasing containers for your window garden.
Mount Containers and Pot Plants
Fix your containers firmly and provide protection from rains, storms, birds, sunlight according to the requirements of plants that you want to grow in your window garden. As a general rule, position your container slightly below the window (normally 6 inches below) especially if the window opens outwards. Always mount the box before planting.
There are a number of options for potting plants in your window gardens:
You can put them directly in the container. This method is suitable if you are planting evergreen shrubs that do not need frequent re-potting.
You can put potted plants in the container; this method if suitable when you plan to frequently change plants in your window garden, for example, flowering perennials.
Alternatively, you can put plants in a plastic or metal liner that fits inside the container. With this method, you can easily change the liners or soil and add fresh plants.
Maintain Your Window Garden
Window gardens do not have any special maintenance requirements. You just have to make sure that the plants are provided with suitable conditions and are protected from insects, storms etc.