Part 1 Of Gardening Techniques.

By: Susan Sportman

A vegetable-growing technique which has used for hundreds of years. Light is excluded from some or all of the growing parts of certain types of vegetable, as a result the natural green colour does not develop. There are several other possible effects - lower fibre content, improved flavour, reduced bitterness and enhanced looks. The role of blanching is to achieve a number of of these responses. The stems of Celery and Leak are covered with earth but the heads of Chicory and Seakale are blanched by covering it with a light-proof pot.

Cutting blooms and attractive foliage from flower and shrub borders for arranging indoors is, of course, a basic part of the gardening scene. In this way the fruits of your labours can be enjoyed at any time and in any weather, but there are pitfalls to keep away from. Obviously, the whole beauty of the flower bed or border is diminished, and in the case of newly-planted perennials the loss of stems and green leaves can harm next years growth. For those who have the space and are keen flower arrangers it is a great idea to have a separate bed where plants for cutting can be grown.

In the shrub border this kind of spring and summer pruning in general does no harm, but take care during pruning the first year. A newly-planted shrub needs all the stems and green leaves it can muster, so only cut one or two flowers and try not to remove many leaves. Roses are perhaps the most widely used of all cut flowers - do not remove more than one-third of the flowering stem and always cut just above an outward facing bud.

Dead- Heading:
The removal of dead flowers has several rewards, it helps to keep the bed or border tidy, it increases the flowering season by preventing seed formation as well as in a few cases it induces a further flush later on in the season.

Use garden shears, sharp knife or finger tips. Be careful not to get rid of too much stem. You must not dead-head flowers grown for there seed pods. It is quite impractical to take off the dead blooms from some annuals and perennials and from most trees and shrubs. There is a few large flowering woody plants, however, which have to be dead-headed. The faded trusses of Hybrid Tea and Floribunda Roses need to be removed and the dead flowers of Rhododendrums should be cautiously broken off with finger and thumb. Cut off flower-heads of Lilac once the blooms have faded, but the large heads of Hydrangeas are an exception - remove these in March.

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