Thursday, 28 April 2011

Admissions Time

Ok, let's get it out in the open.
No missus, not that!
Yes, a cheat. Here's why:

There are some things in gardening you have to do carefully and by the book. Root division, applying weedkiller,pruning Clematis and others but there are areas when a little corner cutting can be beneficial.

1.Weeding large areas of an allotment or even flower border can be back breaking work and even an endless task if the weeds are rife and the beds long or large enough so using a good weed cover membrane is acceptable. It helps to keep moisture in the ground at the roots too.
2. Many plants produce thousands of seeds in every fruit pod or seed head. When you buy a packet of seeds, there is a minimum price that can be charged to cover the costs of production. Putting fewer seeds in won't cut cut costs so you often end up with more than a hundred seedlings when you only want half a dozen plants.
In those cases, buying those plants may be more sensible and less wasteful than growing from seed.
3. Some seeds require specialist treatments to germinate and sometimes to get them past the early stages of growth. The cost of equipment for these exotic delights can run rather high so, again, buy plants unless you really want to specialize.
4. Onion sets. Not quite seed, not really plants. Grown to bulblet size then heat treated to suspend growth, these little beauties allow a head start for autumn planting and to avoid the risks of getting from seed to small plant stage.
5. Watering is vital especially with containers and during the hotter months. It is also a hard, long and wearing task when you have a lot of containers or a large plot to water. Water retaining gel has been designed to hold some of the excess water from watering and to slowly release it over a period of time. This allows plants to access essential moisture when they need it, not just when you are able to provide it. This saves the plants a lot of damaging drought stress. Great if the weather changes while you're stuck in an office or away from home for the weekend. For the cheat, it can mean watering more but less frequently.
6. Got a few large , deep planters to fill? Using shallow rooted plants? Don't like wasting compost or struggling to move big heavy tubs? Half fill the bottom of the container with polystyrene beads then fill as usual. The water will drain as normal but the tub won't be as heavy and the compost won't cost as much.
Good policy for anyone planning a roof top garden as the weight will always be a consideration.
7. Organic gardening is a very worthy and healthy choice but faced with a plot of head high brambles and bindweed it may seem  the wrong choice. Glyphosate won't poison the soil and will make a quick job of an uphill task and give the gardener a little hope and a clean canvas to start off with.
(I know many hardened organic gardeners will argue with the last tip: Let your conscience be your guide.)

Try a few of these cheats yourself, add some of your own if you know of more. Sharing isn't cheating!

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