April is usually the first month that the sun makes an appearance over the garden and probably the first time in the year that you actually feel like getting out in the garden and preparing for the coming summer. It is important to make an early start on the garden though and work that you do now in April and May will reap rewards later in the year when your garden really starts to bloom. Even though there is still a chance of a late frost, things are beginning to grow so, get in your garden now and here are ten things that you should be doing to prepare for the summer months.
1. Spring clean
If you haven’t already done so, then now is the time to clean up after the winter. Clear away any dead plant growth and any other rubbish you left out in the cold months. The ground is soft enough to hoe now so you can remove any weeds and hoe the borders before the weeds get a chance to really take hold.
You should be pruning your shrubs, hedges and trees now, before any birds begin to nest. Cut back foliage from any evergreen shrubs and prune back bushes, summer flowering shrubs and cut off any dead wood to help encourage new and healthy growth in the new season. All hedges, shrubs and trees will thank you for a spring feed, so give them a touch of fertilizer along with some Zerodour Flower Power to give them a good start to the growing season.
3. Re-pot and prepare geraniums
Towards the end of April or early in May is the time to re-pot geraniums and prepare them for their return to the outside world. All you need to do is re-pot them in some soil mixed with some organic compost, cut back any dead tips and then water thoroughly. Leave them on a sunny window sill for now and when they start to grow again, you can begin to feed them. If you add some Zerodour Flower Power, now, to the new soil and compost mix then you will reap the benefits of the water retention properties of Flower Power later on in the hot summer months.
4. Dead head spring bulbs
Dead head narcissi and daffodils, to keep them tidy, but, remember not to remove the leaves. Let the leaves die down naturally and this will help to replenish the bulb for the next season. You can also give them a feed around this time too, and that extra nourishment will be stored in the bulb for the next year.
5. Plant summer bulbs
Now is the time to start planting your summer bulbs, such as gladioli. Dig a small hole for each clump of bulbs, break up any large clumps in the soil and add some feed and Zerodour Flower Power to the mix before planting your bulbs in clumps, heads up, and then water in thoroughly. We recommend not planting all your summer bulbs in one go. Spread you’re planting over a few weeks and you will get a steady supply of colour, for longer, during the summer months.
6. Clean and repair your tools
It’s best to get these jobs out of the way too, so clean and repair your garden tools and give the lawnmower a quick service. If it’s warm enough, you can treat trellises and fences at this time of year as well, before the plants begin to get in the way.
7. Add fertilizer to the borders
The soil begins to warm up at this time of year, so, once you have weeded and hoed your borders, give your soil its first taste of some fertilizer of the year and give your plants a head start. Do this before mulching and if you add a little of Zerodour Flower Power with the fertilizer, the Flower Power will absorb some of the nutrients from the fertilizer and release it slowly throughout the summer.
Mulching at this time of year will help prevent the invasion of the weeds in the later months. Spread a mulch of bark or compost around established bushes, shrubs and trees and over borders and it will also help to retain moisture in the soil as well.
9. Plant peas
Towards the end of April or early May is the time to sow peas in your vegetable garden. Sow your peas in a sunny part of the garden, leaving about two inches between each one and this will encourage growth. Remember to add plenty of compost and a sprinkle of Zerodour Flower Power and this will help to retain the moisture in soil which is especially important for peas if we have a long hot summer.
10. Watch out for the aphids!
Green fly and black fly can begin to multiply around this time of year so keep an eye out for them and catch them early. Check your plants for any first signs of aphids and if see them, spray them with an insecticide now. If you prefer a more organic approach, a solution of water and crushed garlic will remove them.
Agriculturalists all around the world are constantly struggling to find ways to expand crop production and improve food output and they have recently been working closely with their colleagues in the field of geology to find ways of improving crop yields.
In recent years, a great deal of research effort has been directed towards the role that zeolites can play in improving soil and studies have shown that the unique ion exchange, dehydration-rehydration, and adsorption properties of zeolite materials can aid plant growth significantly in all types of soil and particularly in poor soils.
Initial research took place as far back as the 1960’s in Japan where for years, Japanese farmers have used zeolites to control the moisture content and acidity of the soil and zeolites have also been found to control the levels of ammonia in rice paddy fields when mixed with normal fertilizer.
Even though the studies suggested that zeolites could be responsible for the trapping and slow release of nutrients into the soil, these early results were only published in some rather obscure publications. Since then however there has been a growing awareness of the properties of zeolites and studies into the additive have been carried out in many agricultural laboratories around the world and scientists now recognize the huge potential of these materials in agricultural productivity.
A study in Japan showed that when zeolites were applied along with the normal fertiliser to rice fields, where nitrogen efficiencies of less than fifty percent had been previously recorded, the amount of nitrogen available to plants increased by 63% in just four weeks and in experiments carried out by the Great Western Sugar Co. In Longmont, Colorado, significant increases in the total matter production of sugar beet were reported following the application of zeolites.
The use of zeolites in agriculture is also proving to be of great interest in developing countries. The materials unique properties reduce the amount of expensive fertiliser that needs to be applied to the soil and greatly improves moisture retention.
Scientifically proven to enhance plant growth, zeolites are now also available for the garden. Even in good soil, their absorption and slow release properties retain moisture in the soil and so reduce the need for frequent watering. Their ability to absorb and slowly release nutrients also reduces the amount of costly fertilizers that need to be applied.
Dr. Peter Leggo, an eminent expert in the field at Cambridge University and author of studies on the properties of zeolites recently summed up the benefits of applying zeolites to the soil by answering the question why should you use zeolites in his simple response; ‘To reduce the use of fertilizer or amendments and to reduce the amount of water necessary for growing’.
Dr. Leggo found that when mixed with organic matter such as compost, Zeolites produce a very effective bio-fertilizer by increasing the population of nitrifers in the mix and, as zeolites are a naturaly occurring substance, this makes them an ideal soil improver for organic gardens too.
Do you remember that little piece of paper in your chemistry lessons at school? The one that turned red for acid, blue for alkaline and purple for neutral? Well that was a litmus paper which is used as an indicator of PH levels and PH levels in your soil can affect how well your garden will grow and which types of plant are best suited to your soil.
PH or ‘Potential Hydrogen’ is an indicator of the balance of hydrogen ions against hydroxide ions in a solution such as soil. If the ions are balanced then you are said to have a natural PH soil, if the hydrogen ions are greater than the hydroxide ions, you have an acidic soil and if the hydroxide ions outweigh the hydrogen ions, you have an alkaline soil.
To give you an idea, each unit on the PH scale shows a tenfold increase or decrease in the acidity or alkalinity of your soil. In fruit for example, a lemon which has a PH of 2.0 is one hundred times more acidic than an orange which has a PH of 4.0.
The PH of your soil is important in gardening because it is a good indicator of the nutrients available in the soil that can be absorbed by your plants. For the nutrients to be absorbed they must first be dissolved and the PH affects this solubility of nutrients.
When planting your garden it is important to know whether your soil is alkaline or acidic as different types of plants need different types of soil to flourish. For example, camellias and lilies prefer an acid soil while lilies and hollyhocks thrive in more neutral soils with a PH of around 7.0. Most vegetables and plants grow best in soil in the range of 6.0 to 7.5 where the optimum level of nutrients becomes dissolved in the soil.
You can easily test your soils’ PH with DIY soil testing kits which are readily available from most garden centres or you can send a sample of your soil to a laboratory for more detailed analysis. This will enable you to either plant the types of plant in your garden that you know will thrive or you can modify your soil by adding lime to increase the PH or, to make it more alkaline, you can add acidifying materials such as elemental sulphur.
As different plants thrive in different types of soil; it’s always advisable to check the PH of your soil before planting. Either plant the plants that are best suited to your soil type or you can amend your soil PH by the methods mentioned above.
Soil preparation, whatever pH your soil, is always an important factor in ensuring success in your garden. Adding compost and soil treatments such as Zeradour Flower Power will help to bring the soil PH into balance as the zeolites in Flower Power act as an excellent buffer against soil PH fluctuations. Having a balanced PH soil will mean that a much wider variety of plants, flowers and vegetables will flourish in your garden
See the difference when you add Zerodour Flower Power to your flower beds along with your fertilizer or manure; bedding plants, perennials and annuals will all benefit from the improved water retention, improved structure of the soil and the slow, controlled release of nutrients.
Increase your crop yields by mixing Zerodour Flower Power into the soil of your vegetable garden and make sure to mix well below root level to encourage healthy growth.
Keep your grass greener for longer; aerate your existing lawn and spread Zerodour Flower Power along with your fertilizer to keep moisture and nutrients locked in until they’re needed and promote the healthy growth of a new lawn by mixing through the root zone before laying new turf.
Planting Trees and Shrubs
Adding spread Zerodour Flower Power at the bottom of the planting hole and mixing with the infill soil will permanently increase nutrient retention and the water holding capacity of the soil.
Zerodour Flower Power can help with the compost heap as well by retaining moisture and nutrients within the compost. Zeolites also have the added benefit of being a natural deodoriser to keep unwanted smells from your garden.
Adding Zeolites to your garden this year will improve soil structure, aid water retention and store, then release slowly, those all-important nutrients that your plants need to thrive. Zerodour Flower Power comes in handy 25g packages and can be purchased in boxes of 15 packages. The product is 100% natural and biodegradable so it’s kind to your plants and kind to the environment too.
Ever heard of Alibaba?
Last year two of Alibaba’s portals together handled 1.1 trillion yuan (170 $ billion) in sales, more than eBay and Amazon combined.
Alibaba is on the track to become the world first e-commerce firm to handle 1 trillion $ a yer in transaction.
Soon afterwards, Alibaba.com is expected to announce details of its initial public offering (IPO) possibly even bigger than Facebook’s listing.
Estimates of the likely valuation of Alibaba range from 55 $ billion to 120 $ billion.