Garden Dubai: Soil preparation, adding Perlite, removing weeds, fertilizer tips, organic fertilizer, mowing, woodwork varnishing
Garden: It is easier to maintain your garden if you take the following steps.
1. Garden: Soil preparation
Healthy soil preparation will allow the garden to grow well. Mixing 40 % perlite, 40 % sweet soil and 20 percent peat moss or potting soil will allow the soil to be very healthy.
With the harsh ambient temperatures and salty sand, most garden maintenance companies will remove about 10 – 30 cms of soil. Sweet soil is added to get a better PH level. Shrubs need about 40 cms of sweet soil and trees require 1 m x 1 m of good soil.
2. Garden: Adding Perlite
Perlite when added to the soil
• Helps plant roots to penetrate through heavy clay
• It prevents compaction and water from collecting in places improving aeration and drainage
• Prevents your plants’ root damage
• Does not decompose and lasts for years
• Stimulates root initiation and vigorous growth
• Insulates and minimizes temperature fluctuations
• Has an almost a neutral PH level
• Holds moisture and does not become soggy
• Is free from diseases, weeds and insects compared to normal soil
3. Garden: 6 Tips to remove weeds
Weeds don’t just mar the beauty of your garden beds but they also force desirable plants to compete with the weeds for water, sunlight and nutrients.
• Adding mulch to your garden beds kills weeds and keeps new ones from popping up. Mulch prevents weed seeds from germinating.
• You don’t need poisonous chemicals to ward off weeds. Household staples, such as salt and vinegar, work just as well. In order to use salt as a weed killer, combine 1 cup of table salt with 2 cups of water, stir the mixture well and then pour it directly on weeds. Some weeds can’t tolerate the acidity of vinegar.
• Pour some white vinegar or apple-cider vinegar into a spray bottle, and then spray weed stems and leaves with the vinegar. If a weed has flowers, spray the blossoms before they go to seed. Pour more vinegar into the soil around the weeds to kill their roots. If it rains before the weeds die, then reapply the vinegar.
• Surprisingly vodka helps controls weeds by destroying the waxy coating on their leaves. The plants then dehydrate and die. Combine 1 ounce of vodka, 2 cups of water and several drops of liquid dish-washing soap in a spray bottle. In the afternoon of a sunny day, use the mixture to spray weed leaves until the solution drips off them.
• When weeds pop up in your sidewalk or driveway cracks, sprinkle them with one handful of baking soda, and sweep the baking soda into the cracks. The baking soda will destroy the roots that you can’t reach by hand or with a tool.
• Borax also kills weeds and keeps them from re-growing. Apply it in the same way as baking soda.
4. Garden: Tips to fertilize it
In Dubai, most companies use only NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potash or Potassium) fertilizer.
Understanding the effects of Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potash or Potassium on your lawn and plants is important. This will help you to decide which type, if any, fertilizer is appropriate for your garden and landscape.
In most cases, aerating and composting are much better for your garden than using chemical fertilizers. Also note that higher NPK levels don’t necessarily mean healthier plants.
Nitrogen helps plant foliage to grow strong. Phosphorous helps roots and flowers grow and develop. Potassium (Potash) is important for overall plant health.
Be aware that high nitrogen fertilizers will make for quick growth but weaker plants that are more susceptible to attacks by diseases and pests. Fast, showy growth is not necessarily the best thing for your plants.
5. Garden: Organic fertilizing
Bokashi is a uniquely simple way of turning your kitchen waste into an organic compost soil conditioner.
Developed in Japan, the Bokashi Compost Kit converts your organic waste into a high-grade soil conditioner. It uses microbes or Bokashi – a Japanese word meaning “fermented organic matter” to do this.
You can discard fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, dairy and even bones right in your kitchen without the requirements of turning it like you do outdoor compost, and without creating unpleasant odors.
The kit supplied is all you need. This consist of a uniquely designed bucket, the special bran and easy to use instructions.
In Dubai you can buy these bins at:
Domestic bins, commercial bins and bran can be bought at The Change Initiative
Contact: 800 824
Location: Al Barsha 1, Sheikh Zayed Road (service road near Ibis Hotel).
Domestic bins and our 1 Kg bags of bran can be bought at The Ripe Farm Shop
Contact: 04 379 0441
Location: Street 8a, Umm Suqiem 2 (just off Al Manara).
6. Garden: How often should you mow a growing lawn?
• It’s a matter of length.
It doesn’t matter, how often you mow, as much as how long the grass is. If your lawn looks yellow and dried out after you’ve mowed it, you probably have the blade on your mower set too low.
Some people like a super-short lawn like a putting green, but doing this requires both a specific variety of grass and lots of extra care spent on fertilizing and other upkeep.
Since you’re probably not one of those people, your grass will be healthiest if you let it grow a little longer. When the lawn is looking a little yellow in patches, let it grow a little longer, then move the blade back up.
When grass is a little longer, it is also more comfortable to walk on barefoot.
• Is it beneficial to mow the lawn more often?
For a lawn to be green it must be growing. Grass pales and turns yellow over time unless it’s growing.
Second, the key factor to keeping a growing lawn healthy is mowing it according to its growth. Therefore, if it grows quickly because of fertilizer or rain then you simply need to mow it more often. The faster your grass grows the more mowing is needed.
• Most advice for a healthy lawn says to follow the “one-third rule”
If your grass is growing, you’ll be mowing. Each grass type looks best and stays healthiest at a certain height.
Use your mower to maintain that height as closely as possible to the height you want. Cutting your lawn too short can be just as damaging as letting it grow too tall.
The basic rule of mowing is to never cut more than one-third of the leaf blade. Generally, this means mowing about once a week to 10 days in the summer and probably every 15 days.
Mowing can be unhealthy for the lawn, especially if the lawn was cut too short within too short of a time period.
You want to be consistent about mowing. If the grass is too long, you should only cut off 1/3 the next mowing and then gradually reduce the height.
If you decide to mow less frequently because of the yellowing you see, you’re actually perpetuating the problem.
Grass is greenest at the top of the blade, and when you let that grow longer than it should, you cut off the healthiest part. It’s not the act of mowing that hurts it, it’s cutting too much of the blade.
Mowing the next day shouldn’t hurt at all—as long as the blade is sharp.
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7. Garden: Regular polishing of woodworks
Does your outdoor have a gazebo, pergola or other exterior wood structures? How often have you polished them? With Dubai’s harsh weather, the wood needs regular upkeep.
Protecting external woodwork is a constant challenge in hot tropical regions, especially when they are in coastal areas. Heat, ultra-violet rays and dust, all cause damage to the coating over external wood-work.
Cracks appear in brittle coating materials because of the expansion and contraction of wood during the day and night. Coating materials such as conventional spirit polish or lacquer disappear in a few months.
So regular polishing helps in maintaining your woodwork.
8. Garden: Why do we need polish, varnish or coating of woodwork?
Polish or varnish is required to
• To protect the wood against moisture. Moisture promotes the growth of micro-organisms causing bio-degradation. But that is not all; moisture even causes wood panels to loose shape resulting in difficulty in opening and closing of window panels and doors.
• For aesthetic purposes. Perfectly polished exterior wood work usually gives an impression that the wood is well maintained. However protection is the more important benefit.
• Polyurethane or Alkyd based varnishes are waterproof and able to absorb the expansion factor of wood. What is required is a coating that has elasticity equal to or greater than the expansion factor of wood. Polyurethane and Alkyd based coatings contain this property.
Polyurethane or Alkyd based varnishes have been around for many years now and the results are excellent.
Some brands also offer Ultra Violet (UV) Protection by adding a specialized chemical called the UV absorber. This absorbs the UV rays emitted by the sun preventing damage.
9. Garden: How to increase the life of varnish on external woodwork
• In order to extend the life of varnish, the woodwork must be cleaned periodically with a damp cloth to remove dust.
• The varnish heats up and melts due to intense sunlight in hot tropical regions and is absorbed by the dust present over the surface of wood work. So, dust should be removed from the external woodwork at least once a week with a wet cloth.
• Application of a fresh-up coat every year: If a fresh-up coat is applied every year, the varnish can last for years and years. No ground preparation like; scraping, staining and multiple coats are required. A fresh-up coat can be applied by only a bit of sanding on the surface to make it rough so, that the new coat gets a good grip.