Different soil types and what you can grow in them

A good gardener will know exactly what soil they have in their garden and pots, and which plants like the different types – because if they don’t, they risk disaster at worst or poor growth at best.

It’s important to know the different soil types and what you can grow in them, because your soil provides food, water, aeration and structure to your plants.

Those soils may look similar, they might even sometimes feel similar, but their characteristics can vary enormously, based on the size and texture of the particles and the chemical composition. There is more information on this at agrarianorganics.com/

The smallest elements are found in clay soil; at least a quarter of the composition will be built up of particles less than 0.002mm in size, which can be both a bonus and a hindrance.Anyone who has ever owned a clay pot will know how compacted and cracked the material can become. As the Royal Horticultural Society says: “Clay soils are easily compacted when trodden on while wet and they bake hard in summer, often cracking noticeably. These soils often test the gardener to the limits, but when managed properly with cultivation can be very rewarding to work with.”

Treat your soil by working in some organic matter before planting, and then go for it – trees such as Japanese Maple, crab apple and magnolia; shrubs including hydrangea, roses and lilac; and perennials like foxglove, bluebells, and peonies, can all thrive in clay. The next type of soil to consider is silt, which comprises particles up to 0.05mm and is very similar to clay soil in that it can be fertile, but again can be compacted easily into ruin.

The other extreme is sandy soil, which feels…sandy. Light and loose, it’s easy to identify with its coarse, gritty nature, and easy to work.But because the particles are bigger, rain and water can soon slip through the gaps and drain away what little nutrients are contained within, so again it is worth treatment with organic material to compensate.

Lavender and buddleia shrubs will benefit from sandy soil, as will various herbs such as rosemary and thyme, and wallflowers.The other element of your soil to consider is its pH value, which signifies whether the soil is acidic or alkali, or somewhere in-between. Plants which like high acidic qualities will not like alkaline, and vice versa.

Sandy soils are often acidic, while ‘chalky’ soils which often contain white lumps of visible stone are alkaline. Clay, perhaps unfortunately, can be either.

Kits exist to test the pH values of soil, but a quick way of telling is to take soil mixed with a little water into a muddy consistency, and pour vinegar over the top. If the mixture fizzes, it’s alkaline. Alternatively add a little baking soda, as if that fizzes the soil is acidic.

There is little point in trying to change the acidic make-up of your soil, so stick with the type, and if necessary grow your plants in large containers using compost.

Your soil may be a mix of several quantities and qualities of the different types such as in loam, a blend of clay, silt and sand which is regarded as a ‘gardener’s best friend’. But remember the consistencies and percentages of the various soils may change across just a few feet.

So touch and appearance may help you identify your material – but experience will help your success rate as well.

What Brings me Absolute Joy?

Each day I wake up to the same routine for two weeks in a row; Aj needs his specific morning routine and breakfast ready for him. My youngest needs his scrambled eggs or toast or cereal whatever he finally decides upon after 15 minutes of being indecisive. My daughter, the eldest of three, wakes up groggy but always has a slight smile on her face when she gets a hug from Mama. Each morning I wake up to children happy, healthy and thankful for their Mama who wakes up each day bringing them joy, but what I get in return is nothing money can buy.

February Vacation with my Kids

Each day I get a new perspective on life, as I am working to ensure Aj’s day goes as planned, that there isn’t any kinks to offset him before school to get him frustrated. Each day I wake up ensuring each child’s needs are met, for when my children’s needs are met, so are mine.

My job is Mom.

Being a Mom has brought me absolute joy. Being a Mom has brought tears to my eye. Being a Mom has left me tired at an early hour. Being a Mom has left me wondering, “am I doing this right?!” Being a Mom has opened my eyes to the world through children. Being a Mom has brought me absolute joy.

When I can begin each day with hugs, kisses and I love yous and end each day the same; that to me is my success story.

What Brings me Absolute Joy?

It doesn’t matter what falls in between; the normal chaos of raising a middle child who thrives on his day to go as planned and structured the same each day while also juggling his two siblings that are more free spirited like their Mama. It doesn’t matter how drained I can feel at times and want to curl up and cry over the fact that my middle child is struggling. You see, my middle child may be struggling but he doesn’t see it that way. My middle child sees himself as a loved boy, with parents who adore him and work hard to ensure his life is lived to the fullest. My other children see a brother who struggles but is a joy to play hide and seek with or pretend play MineCraft or Sonic. My family sees each of us for the love we have together, because together we bring each other absolute joy.

This is my happy place, my safe zone and it is also that for my children. So when asked what brings me absolute joy, my reply is simple;

Being a Mother.

Architectural Landscapes in your Back Garden

Almost every homeowner dreams of having a architectural landscape in their back garden. Landscape design is now more popular than ever, with some very exciting trends to look forward to this year. It doesn’t matter whether you are attempting to do it yourself or leave it to the professionals; it’s about bringing out the best of what your garden has to offer. Here we look at the top landscaping trends you should consider to make you back garden stand out this year.

Eco-Friendly Designs

Now that the economy is finally getting back on track, people are ready to start investing in their gardens again, with annual growth expecting to grow over the next few years. Homeowners want to invest in their outdoor spaces with high quality and eco-friendly products. One of the top trends in landscape design in Denver is using trees to create natural shade for your home, in order to reduce energy costs and produce fresh air. So, not only is it about making your back garden beautiful, but it’s also about finding ways to make nature work for you.

Plight of the Bees

Everyone has heard about the threats facing the bee population and people are really taking this into account when considering landscape design. More and more homeowners have been making sure they include plenty of plants, trees and flowers that are rich in pollen to create a haven the bees can enjoy.

Let There Be Light

This year is all about creating a dramatic effect in your backyard, through lighting. Some people are opting for natural flames, with the use of torches or an outdoor fireplace. These striking features will really set your garden apart, while maintaining a cozy feel. If you are feeling a little more adventurous, you can try out the LED lighting trend. Using LED light will help to lower running costs and newer designs can even be controlled via apps.

Low Maintenance

You may dream of an architectural landscape, but maintaining your beautiful new garden can be hard work, especially with all the changes in weather. People are opting for low-maintenance plants and flowers that are better able to tolerate dramatic changes in weather. This will make it easier to maintain your garden, keeping costs low.

Edible Gardens

We are experiencing a move away from turf grass, with vegetables, herbs and fruit coming in to replace it. Not only will these help to feed your family, again helping you to save money, but they can have an ornamental function as well. Instead of veggies being planted in neat little rows, we are seeing vegetable patched set up in squares. Planting them close together means that water will evaporate slower and the moisture will hold for longer in the soil.

As you can see, this year landscape design is all about creating an eco-friendly environment that can help you cut down on costs while also helping the environment. It’s about making the most of your back garden, while still giving yourself a beautiful space you can go to and sit back and relax.

This article was written by Amanda Walters, an experienced freelance writer and regular contributor to Huffington Post. Follow her here: @Amanda_W84

The Ultimate Gardening Calendar

It may be winter, and you may not want to be in the out in the cold harsh weather, but now is the time to begin thinking about your garden! Get ahead in the winter months to ensure your garden flourishes this summer. You can even get kids involved in growing their own vegetables and allow them to have their own section where they can see their hard work blossom in to something beautiful.

Use the following graphic to ensure you are on the right path and get your gardening calendar organised…

Spalding Gardening Calendar
Brought to you by Spalding Bulb

The Ability To Landscape, Because you Own a Home

The best part about us moving in together into a new home for us all is that it’s a home that is owned, not rented. That means we can all have fun landscaping and growing plants that we want to keep forever. The first step we took was to work on the front yard where there were fern type plants grown and old mulch. We placed new mulch and weeded out the ferns best we could to make the appearance POP more than it was doing with old, worn out mulch and weeds through out.

Growing a New Blended Family

Later on we decided to take the kids to a local garden shop to possibly choose a cheap outdoor plant for them to plant in our yard. We also wanted to look at shrubs and get ideas for other landscaping options for the exterior design of our home and yard. The kids chose 2 herbs and one flower. The flower is all K-man’s and does he look proud of his plant or what?

Raising Outdoor Kids (1)

This kid was so proud of his plant that he could not wait to get his hands on the shovel and dig the hole to place this pretty flower out front…

Raising Outdoor Kids (2)

While K-man was digging his hole for his flower, the other two kids were working together to plant their Peppermint and Chocolate Mint herb plants. There really was no sure place for me to have them plant these so I just chose a spot that I had hoped would work for now and the two kids went at it working together to plant their herbs.

Raising Outdoor Kids (4)

What I love best about this story and all of these pictures is that, as a parent, I enjoyed watching my kids work together as a team to plant their own things outside without complaint and without arguments with each other. I love moments when I can just sit back and watch my children be happy together and work together positively.

Raising Outdoor Kids (3)

After the kids were done with their perfection of planting each plant and flower they  moved onto the back yard where they worked together to pick the blueberries off of the blueberry plants we have in our yard…

Raising Outdoor Kids (5)

While we went from having a home with six acres to play on down to about half an acre, it does not seem to be a huge difference. We are enjoying our yard and landscaping as well as being excited that we own two blueberry bushes now too!

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