Well! this 'so called' mini series might take me longer than I first thought. Third article coming up, and I have only got to letter 'F'. Never mind, with perseverance we will get there. So Here goes, No3.
During the old days farmers used to fallow fields occasionally, leaving them bare for a whole season to permit bacteria to build up fertility and to allow the weather to improve the soil structure. This system has greatly declined in agriculture and has almost no place in gardening, although the vegetable plot is mainly bare in winter therefore it can be considered a very short term fallow.
Despite the absence of true fallowing, a special form of fallow is widely used in the vegetable garden. Some forms of soil-born troubles such as, club root and white rot can live in the ground for quite a few years. Following an attack, the land has to be at least part-fallowed - that is, no susceptible plant should be grown on it for the period specified in textbooks.
Forcing is the process of inducing growth, flowering or fruiting sooner than normal. To accomplish this there has to be a change in the environment, and gentle heat is the most usual stimulant used, the factors which will force one plant on may fail miserably with another plant.
Spring bulbs are forced by keeping the planted bowls cool (40 degrees Fahrenheit) and in darkness for about Eight weeks before moving to warmer conditions 50 degrees F. and then 60 - 70 degrees F. Daffodil bulbs for extra-early flowering are primed by keeping in cold storage for a few weeks in late summer.
Rhubarb, Seakale and Chicory are forced by being kept in the dark and at a temperature rising from an initial 50 degrees F. to 60 degrees F. as growth progresses. Many other plants in pots might be forced at a very similar temperature, but require light conditions in a greenhouse or cold frame. Examples include Potatoes, Strawberries, French Beans, Roses, Spiraeas and Azaleas.
A garden fork isn’t really a digging tool, although it can sometimes be easier to dig a heavy soil with a fork as opposed to a spade. Forking is basically a method of cultivation - lumps are broken down by hitting them with the tines of the fork and the top roughly levelled by dragging the tines over the surface crust, and you have to be careful not to damage surface roots.
The garden fork has several purposes, including moving compost, lifting Potatoes and aerating lawns.
Fumigation is a method of destroying pests and/or disease organisms by means of a gas, vapour or smoke. It is almost always restricted to greenhouses, and the usual applicator these days is a firework-like cone. Doors and ventilators must be closed after lighting or much of the benefit will be lost.
This is the last of the letter 'F' in my A - Z in my mini series to aid the new gardeners of today, there is plenty more to come so keep in touch and up to date.
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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 Rated People within companies operating in the UK who can help you.
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