Part 2 Of Gardening Techniques.

By: Susan Sportman


Here is part Two of my mini series on gardening techniques.

Dibbing In:
Dibbing in is an easy and fast planting technique compared to using a trowel. The standard dibber is usually a stout wooden or metal spike bought from a garden shop or made at home from an old spade handle. These dibbers are for large seedlings. For pot culture and for small seedlings outdoors use a pencil or dowel. The tip of your dibber should be rounded rather than sharply pointed.

Dibbing in (or dibbling) entails inserting the dibber sufficiently deeply into the soil so the roots will fit comfortably. Place the plant into the hole and then firm the ground by re-inserting the dibber point about 1 - 2 inches away from the stem. Move the dibber towards the plant in an effort to press the soil around the roots.

This is an excellent technique for planting vegetables which have been raised in a seed bed. Brassicas, such as Cabbages, Brussels Sprouts etc, are well known examples. It is also widely used for planting cuttings, but in all cases you must make certain that the hole is no deeper than necessary. The role of dibbing in is restricted - use a trowel and never a dibber for large size planting material like bulbs or tubers, and donít use a dibber in heavy, wet soil.

Disbudding:
Normally, flower buds in the garden are allowed to grow and open naturally to produce the maximum display. For exhibitors however, and others interested in the size of individual blooms, the flower stems are disbudded. This involves pinching out side buds the minute they can be handled, leaving the central bud to grow to be a sizable specimen to catch the eye of the judge or earn the envy of the neighbours. Chrysanthemums, Dahlias and Carnations are frequently treated in this way for show purposes. Many Hybrid Tea Roses produce more than one flower bud at the end of each shoot. With this flower it is nearly always desirable to get the maximum size, so disbudding of side shoots is advisable. Delay removing the side buds if you want to keep back flowering for the day of the show. If the Rose variety produces very full blooms which spoil badly in wet weather, reverse the process and pinch out the terminal bud so that your side buds develop.

Earthing Up:
There are several reasons for earthing up, this means the drawing up of soil towards and around the stems. Potatoes are earthed up to avoid the tubers being open to light. When the haulm is about 9 inches high a draw hoe is needed to pile loose soil against the stems to create a flat-topped ridge. The greens (Broccoli, Kale, Brussels Sprouts etc) are earthed up for another reason - soil is drawn up all around the stems of well developed plants to boost anchorage against high winds.

The stems of Celery and Leek are blanched by earthing up. This begins with Celery when it is about 1 foot high - with Leeks this is done in stages, the height being increased a little bit at a time by drawing dry soil around the stems.

Earthing up is vital on the vegetable plot but it has a place in the herbaceous border. Shoots may appear prematurely during a mild spell in early spring, it is advisable to draw loose soil over them with a hoe so as to prevent damage by severe frosts which may come later.

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I have been involved with the Do-It-Yourself and Gardening industry for over 30 years. So I think now is the time to spread the word a bit about Home Repaircontractors within companies operating in the UK.

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