A Beginner’s Guide to Annuals and Biennials - Essential guide for A Beautiful Garden
There are far too many people out there who are under the impression that you cannot have a beautiful garden without spending huge amounts of money. That is so not true. A little bit of planning and this fallacy is going to fall to pieces by the wayside. Those who are grown annuals for years are going to give this statement the lie gladly.
Their initial investment must have been just a packet of seeds. The next year, the plants were grown from the seeds collected from the previous years’ crop.
Do not forget that the life of an annual is limited to just 12 months and so you must not expect them to grow up and bloom again the next year, unless of course you allowed the seeds to lie in the bed without collecting them. That is when they are going to bloom up just like weeds with a little bit of rain, and with the coming of the spring.
One of the great advantages of annuals is that they are quite easy to grow and flourish in your garden over a long period. The most common are well known to even amateur gardeners who can recognize a cornflower, nasturtiums, Virginia stock and Candytuft. These are very beautiful in themselves, but every gardener is growing them in his garden.
So be a little adventurous and grow annuals that are lesser-known, whose names you will find in seed catalogs, nursery catalogs and in nurseries online.
There are two kinds of annuals – the hardy kind and the half hardy kind. The hardy annuals are sewn out of doors, either in the autumn are in the spring. The half-hardy annuals are normally raised in frames or under cloches if you are subject to a continuous frost. Half-hardy annuals may need a little bit more of extra care and coddling , but that extra is going to be worth it when you see the blossoms in your garden
Choosing the Right Soil
The land has to be well drained and deeply cultivated. Annuals hate waterlogging and want plenty of area where the roots can run unencumbered. A modern soil surveyor can talk to any gardener, very learnedly about types of soils and he can just pick up some soil in his hand and feel the texture and moisture content in it. But our priority is more to seeing the right type of soil in which our plants can flourish throughout the year. There are five main types of soil, which are spread all over the earth and go into the making up of your garden.
These are Clay, loam, sand, calcareous – also known as lime – and peat soil. These soils are going to differ according to their components and how nature made them through the different weathering processes. This weathering was caused down the millenniums by the heat and the frost, by running water and rain, and by the cracking and pounding of rocks by glaciers and so on. So down the ages, the rocks began to break up and turned into dusty soil. That is why you are going to find many varied types of soils produced all over the world, depending on the weathering processes going on in that area.
These soils are going to be different in your particular area when compared to another area, but you can also get combinations of one or more soils too. It is possible that you may have Clay-ey loam. You may also have sandy loam. You may also have the topsoil, consisting of one type and the subsoil under it of another type.
Sandy soils are going to contain less than 10% of Clay. They also have very small particles of silica and quartz. The amount of humus which is present in the sandy soil is going to alter the color and the texture of the topsoil.
Sand is considered to be light soil. It is also dry. It is one of the warmest soils because of its dry Constitution. That is why sandy soil is going to warm up much quicker in the spring.
This is why sandy soil is best utilized in producing early crops. One of the advantages of sandy soil is that it can be worked at any time of the year and it is comparatively easy to cultivate. On the other hand, it is poor in plant foods and essential nutrients, coarse-grained and does not retain moisture easily.
Best Time for Seed Sowing
As every gardener knows, the best time for sowing seeds is after the frost, especially during the spring. This works best for annuals. Any time from the end of March to the end of April, depending on the weather is going to be the time when you are going to be sowing your seeds. This time can vary depending on the soil, season and area. In some places the frost does not end till March/April. So the sowing is going to be done in early May, which means that you need to look at the season, look at the sun and then do the sowing.
Also, you can do the sowing in autumn. The plants are going to grow better and they are going to shower much earlier, in consequence. In this case, the seed is sown anytime between mid-August to mid-September, depending on the area.
It may not be possible to sow all the varieties of annuals in this way, as many of them are killed by the frost in the winter, or by the damp. That is why look at nursery websites pertaining to your area so that you can get to know all about all those plants which normally live through a harsh winter. These can blossom well in your garden, even in the winter.
This book has given you quite a lot of knowledge about annuals and biennials. So if you are an amateur gardener, you would want to start planting right now, so that your garden looks really good throughout the year.
Most of these tips are traditional and common sense tips. Many people do not bother much about gardening because they think it to be such a headache, especially when they have to maintain the garden and do the hoeing, raking and deweeding, three or four times every week. If you come in that category, it is better not to start a garden, because then you are going to feel really sad when you see your plants dying just because you could not be bothered to water them.
However, if you really want greenery around you and beautiful plants, do not take up the project of a full garden outdoors. You can grow a garden inside, in small containers. It is also easy to maintain this small garden.
But I would always suggest learning a new activity which allows you to get out in the sun and fresh air. It also helps you feel that you have achieved something at the end of the day. Who knows, one fine day you might find yourself becoming one of the avid gardeners of your neighborhood.
Live Long and Prosper!
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