The Soundness Of Seeds

Seed may be of the right sort; it may be true to its sort; and, yet, if it be unsound, it will not grow, and, of course, is a great deal worse than useless, because the sowing of it occasions loss of time, loss of cost of seed, loss of use of land, and loss of labor, to say nothing about the disappointment and mortification. Here, again, if you purchase, you must rely on the seeds man; and, therefore, all the aforementioned precautions are necessary as to this point also. In this case (especially if the sowing be extensive) the injury may be very great; and, there is no redress.

If a man sell you one sort of seed for another; or, if he sell you untrue seed; the law will give you redress to the full extent of the injury proved; and the proof can be produced. But, if the seed does not come up, what proof have you? You may prove the sowing; but, who is to prove that the seed was not chilled, or scorched in the ground? That it was not eaten by insects there? That it was not destroyed in coming up, or in germinating?

There are, however, means of ascertaining, whether seed be sound, or not, before you sow it in the ground. I know of no seed, which, if sound and really good, will not sink in water. The unsoundness of seed arises from several causes. Unripeness, blight, mouldiness, and age, are the most frequent of these causes. The two first, if excessive, prevent the seed from ever having the germinating quality in them.

Mouldiness arises from the seed being kept in a damp place, or from its having heated. When dried again it becomes light. Age will cause the germinating quality to evaporate; though, where there is a great proportion of oil in the seed, this quality will remain in it many years.

The way to try seed is this. Put a small quantity of it in luke warm water, and let the water be four or five inches deep. A mug, or basin, will do, but a large tumbler glass is best; for then you can see the bottom as well as top.

Some seeds, such as those of cabbage, radish, and turnip, will, if good, go to the bottom at once. Cucumber, Melon, Lettuce, Endive, and many others, require a few minutes. Parsnip and Carrot, and all the winged seeds, require to be worked by your fingers in a little water, and well wetted, before you put them into the glass; and the carrot should be rubbed, so as to get off part of the hairs, which would otherwise act as the feathers do as to a duck. The seed of Beet and Mangel Wurzel are in a case, or shell.

The rough things that we sow are not the seeds, but the cases in which the seeds are contained, each case containing from one to five seeds. Therefore the trial by water is not, as to these two seeds, conclusive, though, if the seed be very good; if there be four or five in a case, shell and all will sink in water, after being in the glass an hour.

And, as it is a matter of such great importance, that every seed should grow in a case where the plants stand so far apart; as gaps in rows of Beet and Mangel Wurzel are so very injurious, the best way is to reject all seed that will not sink case and all, after being put into warm water and remaining there an hour.

But, seeds of all sorts, are, sometimes, if not always, part sound and part unsound; and, as the former is not to be rejected on account of the latter, the proportion of each should be ascertained, if a separation be not made. Count then a hundred seeds, taken promiscuously, and put them into water as before
directed. If fifty sink and fifty swim, half your seed is bad and half good; and so, in proportion, as to other numbers of sinkers and swimmers.

There may be plants, the sound seeds of which will not sink; but I know of none. If to be found in any instance, they would, I think, be found in those of the Tulip tree, the Ash, the Birch, and the Parsnip, all of which are furnished with so large a portion of wing. Yet all these, if sound, will sink, if put into warm water, with the wet worked a little into the wings first.

There is, however, another way of ascertaining this important fact, the soundness, or un soundness of seed; and that is, by sowing them. If you have a hot-bed; or, if not, how easy to make one for a hand glass, put a hundred seeds, taken as before directed, sow them in a flower pot, and plunge the pot in the earth, under the glass, in the hot-bed, or hand glass.

The climate, under the glass, is warm; and a very few days will tell you what proportion of your seed is sound. But, there is this to be said; that, with strong heat under, and with such complete protection above, seeds may come up that would not come up in the open ground.

There may be enough of the germinating principle to cause vegetation in a hot-bed, and not enough to cause it in the open air and cold ground. Therefore I incline to the opinion that we should try seeds as our ancestors tried Witches; not by fire, but by water; and that, following up their practice, we should reprobate and destroy all that do not readily sink.

Lawn Mowers – Keep The Beauty Of Your Lawn Maintained

The idea of lawn mowers was thought up by engineer Edwin Beard Budding in 1830. Being inspired by other cutting devices, he invented the lawn mower for the purpose of cutting the grass of sports grounds and gardens. After Edwin signed his first agreement on 18th May 1830, the manufacturing of lawn mowers started in the 1850s. Since then, lawn mowers have very effectively been helping us with the cutting of grass.

Lawn mowers not only cut the grass, but they make our lawns look healthy and beautiful. There are different types of lawnmowers available in the market.

These days, commonly used lawnmowers are Robotic Mowers. To use a robotic lawn mower, you have to first select the particular area to be mowed, and then you need to mark the boundary of that area.

Manual or Traditional Mowers are another type of lawn mower, which are manually operated. This lawnmower requires the physical strength of a person to operate them. They are heavy in weight and need to be pushed in order to cut the grass.

Professional mowers are another widely used lawnmower. They have a horizontal cutter to give the best result, and are generally used for big areas such as universities, stadiums or gardens.

Clipper lawn mowers are used for mowing the toughest spots. They are equipped with scissors which have long blades. Clippers can be operated manually, as well as automatically.

Here are some factors which should be considered while purchasing a lawn mower:

? First of all, look at its weight. It should not be heavy; otherwise you will face difficulties in operating it.
? Check its safety features. Check that the blades are not exposed.
? It should start easily.
? Handling should be easy.
? If you do not have a very big area of lawn, then you can select a push reel mower.
? If your lawn is a big area, then use a professional mower, otherwise it will be a lot of work.
? For trimming grass, use a mulching lawnmower, as they cut grass to a very low level.
? Go for a self-propelled lawn mower if your lawn is in a hilly area.
? If you want to purchase a lawn mower for very big lawn areas, such as a stadium or garden, then go for a ride-on lawn mower.

Operating a lawn mower is not a difficult task. Almost every lawnmower works on the same principles. Most lawn mowers which are being used these days have an inbuilt motor. They have gears with an axle to spin the wheels. The basic function of the motor is to spin the blades which cut the grass, so as to make it easy to operate.

Manual or traditional mowers are very simple to operate. In a manual mower, the blades are attached to the wheels. With the movement of the wheels, the blades spin and cut the grass. Manual mowers are very heavy in weight, so quite a lot of strength is required to operate them.

Lawn mowers provide a great help in keeping the beauty of your lawn maintained. However, it is essential that you keep in mind the size of your lawn when purchasing a lawnmower. This will help you to be able to choose the appropriate one for your needs.

Flower Gardening Tips

When you think of any type of gardening, first thing that comes to your mind is flower gardening. Flower gardening needs to be restricted just to summertime. If you plan cautiously, by planting ahead of time, you can fill your garden with plenty of flowers for most of the year. If you begin by season, the best thing for spring flowers you can do is, to plant bulbs. Any nursery will have them and when you are more inclined towards exotic flowering bulbs, there is a best chance to have them ordered specially. Favorites amid bulbs lovers are cheerful snowdrops and springtime Crocuses. Tulips are the popular of bulbs that are in demand and are preferred by most of the flower gardeners and the bulbs are available in different shades including black color.

You need to remember that all spring-flowering bulbs must be planted in mid autumn as this is the good time for them. Moving through to summer, people find that perennials are a hot favorite for flower gardening because they yield blooms constantly throughout the season. With a little care, you will find that many of your perennials will last through next year and you get the right look of your garden. You can even find that, as the seasons and years wear off, your perennials will become full and usually more bloom plentiful flowers as compared to the first year you planted them. You can go through flower gardening tips available online.

Hardy drought resistant plants like Asters top the chart amid several kinds of fall flowers available and look fabulous in late summer. Usually autumn plants grow 3-4 feet in height, have bright colors, and have variety of genteel pastel colors to select. Ornamental grasses are another best choice and will greatly complement your fall flowers. To round off your efforts as well as the year at flower gardening, do not despair since there are a number of winter blooms available. Hyacinth, Narcissus and Amaryllis are some of the most general known flowers and are available in the form of bulbs. If you want something more out of the ordinary, then you can even try Winter Jasmine.

Timber Decking Kits – An Introduction

Timber Decking
Decking has witnessed increased interest from the home DIYer of late, due in part to it’s relatively low cost and simple instruction. A well designed deck can provide your garden with a thoroughly practical, usable space, which is both easy on the wallet and aesthetically pleasing.

The process for constructing a garden deck is actually quite straightforward. In fact, almost any home DIYer or practically-minded individual should be able to construct a basic patio deck with just a few hand tools and a set of instructions.
The process begins with the preparation of the floor space within the garden where you wish the deck to be constructed. The first job is usually to remove unwanted plant life and weeds, plus and rocks or other obstructive elements found on or near the surface.

The next step in constructing the garden deck us to lie down a weed membrane fabric to help stop plant life growing from underneath the deck once it has been completed. Use steel ground hooks to secure it.

Now we’ll look at sourcing the timbers for your decking kit. One must always ensure that ethically sourced timbers are used wherever possible. There are a huge number of ethically-managed forests out there, so check with your supplier before purchasing. Most deck boards are constructed from softwood – Scandinavian Pine in the majority of cases – although some are made from Balau Hardwood. Board widths tend to vary a little between suppliers, most are between 9cm and 15cm, with 12cm being the most common. Many are grooved on both sides, giving the DIYer the choice of either 4 or 7 grooves, sometimes more. The grooves are important, as they will provide much-needed grip in wet weather.

Once the timber has been sourced, we may begin the construction process by assembling the joist frame. C16 grade timbers are most common, and are used in conjunction with metal post anchors in a lot of cases. With the subframe timbers in place, fixing them together will create a solid, long lasting base onto which the actual deck boards may be fixed. In many cases it is wise to allow around 0.6cm between each of the boards so that the wood can expand and contract according to the prevailing weather conditions.

If you wish to install a handrail, you’ll probably wish to use either metal spikes or a bolt down metal brace to hold the vertical posts (called Newels) in place. The overall cost may increase through the use of a handrail system, but the aesthetic value added is immense – they really do look the part. There are a number of cheap decking supplies in the UK, although not all can cater for this type of deck.
Similarly, you may wish to raise the deck above ground, depending on the ground underneath. For sloping landscapes, a raised timber deck kit will help create a flat, usable and easy-on-the-eye solution to uneven ground. It will also do this at a far lower cost than many alternatives such as block paving.

Finally, with the deck complete, be sure to treat all the deck boards with a high quality stain (Sadolin is a very good product). You will also need to oil the deck on a regular basis, particularly any sawn ends, to prevent rot.

How to Create a Hanging Garden of Tomatoes

Finding good tomatoes at the supermarket can sometimes be difficult. If you are someone who enjoys fresh tomatoes in salads, then searching the perfect tomatoes can be a burden. Fortunately, you can grow tomatoes in your garden or grow upside down tomatoes. Upside down tomato planter gardens are becoming very popular lately because they involve less work than the traditional gardening, which often requires digging and weeding.

If you are planning to grow upside down tomatoes, you will need at least 5-gallon buckets or containers with tight-fitting lid, moist soil that will fill up your buckets, tomato plants, drill, coffee filter/fabric/cheesecloth, heavy-duty string, or chain, and secure hanger.

Prepare the containers first by drilling a 2-inch diameter hole in the center of the lid and in the bottom of each bucket. Then, with the buckets in upright position, cover the bottom holes with a coffee filter. Fill them with moist soil. Tap the bucket to remove any air pockets. When you have finished filling the containers, cover the buckets with the lid.

Turn each bucket carefully then gently insert your tomato plant through the hole. Water your tomatoes and wait for about two weeks. You have to wait for at least two weeks before hanging the tomatoes upside down. This will allow the roots to fully develop and the plant to hold on to the soil.

While waiting, have some carpentry done in your yard to create hangers for your tomatoes. The hangers need to be sturdy since buckets with soil can be very heavy. After the second week, hang your plants on a sunny area. If you find your first batch of upside down tomato planters a success, plant another five in upside down planters until you have a hanging garden of tomatoes. You can also place your hanging tomato garden in the porch, balcony, fire escape, or inside a sunny window.
Growing you own tomato hanging garden is fun and easy. At the same time, you are sure that your garden will produce are generally fresher, juicier, and tastier. Start to grow tomatoes upside down now.

Container Gardening – 3 Quick Tips to Make That Container Garden a Success

It is a good feeling of a job well done, so you should start with preparing for the job making sure you have everything you need before you start. Choose your container, making sure there is proper drainage in the bottom.

The soil choice should be of good composition with a percentage of sand, silt, and clay, plus the ability to drain and penetrability to water. Soils to be used may be a combination Pro-mix or soil-less mixes. Hard compacted soils do not produce healthy plants, as roots have trouble growing and taking in nutrients.

Whether you choose a combination of flowers and vegetables for your container, maybe all one color, or all one variety always plant the taller to the middle and cascading plants to the sides.

Fertilizing your container is important and should be done weekly, unless otherwise specified. Being in a restricted space, the plant is relying only on you, as its roots cannot seek further than the sides of the container. Nitrogen being water soluble, the container can be watered from the top giving the roots a good feeding straight through with dissolved nitrogen coming out of the bottom.

A good source of trace nutrients for plant growth is a fish-emulsion with seaweed, Miracle Grow or Shultz. Depending on plants in your container other fertilizer can be used such as slow release granules mixed in the soil or new potting mixes cam be purchased with fertilizers already in the soil mix. Some fertilizers are formulated for certain types of flowers, fruit or vegetables.

According to the plants in your container, some require more water than others. It is important that the water makes its way all through the container to the bottom at each watering to reach all the roots. There can be a tray placed under the plants to catch the extra.

Step-By-Step Guide On Designing Your Own Shed

Have you always wanted to build your own shed but didn’t know where to start? Did you always feel you needed some extra space in the form of a garage but did not know what to do about it? Did the choices that so many contractors and manufacturers give these days confuse you into giving up on buying a ready-made shed? If you have answered with an affirmative in any of the above questions, then its time for you to seriously think about getting yourself a new shed. And there’s no better way to work for your needs than working directly towards them by yourself. That’s right, you need to learn some quick tricks and tips and start about building your own shed! Well, although designing your own shed can be an extremely tiresome and frustrating experience, lucky for you that we have had all our experts talk here about the basic steps that go into making a new shed, all by yourself!
So here are the basic steps that you can follow to ensure a seamless Do-it-Yourself (DIY) experience.

1. Cleaning up: First of all, make sure you clean up all the things unnecessary and extraneous junk from your house. Although you might no feel like parting with some of the useless junk, but remember, if something hasn’t been useful in the last 20 years, there’s a good chance it won’t be useful for the next 20 either!

2. Estimation and Planning: After disposing off the unwanted stuff, take a good look at the quantity of all the remaining things that you want to put in a storage shed. Have a rough estimate and star planning the amount of space required in your new garage. Always keep at least a 35% margin for the things that are yet to be stored in the coming years. Start drawing up architectural plans, floor plans, and profile views using a basic pen and paper approach, or perhaps with the aid of some software on a computer.

3. Classification: Based on an item’s usefulness, frequency of usage, emergency requirements, hazardous content for children, etc., make sure you classify all the items to be stored in the shed. Based on these you can decide if a hazardous item can be kept at a higher level, out of reach of children, or emergency equipments like fire extinguishers etc right within the reach of anyone and everyone. Frequently used items could be kept nearer to the door for easy retrievals and replacements.

British Garden Birds – The Goldfinch

Goldfinches are one of the UK’s prettiest birds distinguished easily by their brilliant colours.

Goldfinches are approximately 14cm long with a wingspan of up to 16cm and they weigh about 20g. They have distinctive red faces, with a white patch at the side of their heads and black towards the back. The body is brown with yellow marks on the wings, and black tails.

Goldfinches have sharp pointed beaks ideal for eating seeds, as well as dandelions and thistles. Young goldfinches are fed on insects.
Goldfinches are found all over Europe, North Africa and some parts of Asia. They have also been introduced to the America and Australasia. You will find them in a range of habitats including woodland, orchards, parks, gardens and other areas occupied by humans.

You will notice them by their characteristic bouncy flight and are usually found in pairs during the breeding season and in large flocks outside it.
The goldfinch nest is compact and neatly built from moss, lichens and grass. They lay two or three clutches of reddish patterned eggs which incubate for 12-13 days.
In the 19th century goldfinches were often captured and kept as song birds – they call is a pretty tinkling melody but they are now a protected bird in the UK. During medieval times goldfinches were seen as a charm that could ward off the plague because they symoblised endurance and passion and were considered a ‘saviour’ bird. It is because of this that the collective noun for goldfinches is a charm.

If you want to encourage goldfinches into your garden they you may be interested in feeding them niger seed in a special Goldfinch Flocker. Niger seed is similar to the thistle seed that they naturally eat and is rich in oil and other nutrients essential for their health.

Home Vegetable Gardening – Growing Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts are a great vegetable to add to anyone’s garden. They do well in a variety of temperate climates, so regions where cold weather sets in, brussel sprouts will do just fine.

They are a great source of many minerals and vitamins that the human body required, meaning that adding them to your diet can satisfy many nutritional needs.
Here in this tutorial I give you some simple steps you can follow to increase the harvest of these wonderfully nutritious vegetables right in your own backyard.
Start by preparing your site. If you are going to grow them in pots on your porch or balcony make sure have a pot at least twelve inches deep with a diameter of ten inches filled with garden soil available from any home or garden center. For the traditional backyard garden, make sure you mix in plenty of compost or manure in the fall so the soil is ready in the spring. Get yourself a pH soil tester. They require soil to be less acidic so keep the soil pH level under 7.

When the spring rolls around it is time to put the seeds in the ground. Brussel sprouts (depending on the specific species) can take up to 100 days to reach maturity, so start by growing them indoors and then transplant them when they are four to six weeks old. Whether you start them indoors and transplant them or directly seed them into the garden space them out every sixteen to eighteen inches.
They can grow in both warm temperatures but do better in cooler climates. So don’t be discouraged if you live in a warmer part of the world if your brussel sprouts don’t yield the same amount as your cooler climate growers. Just keep the soil evenly moist and a top layer of well decomposed compost to give your brussel sprouts a fresh supply of nutrients throughout the growing season.

Harvest them whenever the buds are firm, usually a half inch to one inch in size. Many species of brussel sprouts will survive a few frosts, so keep harvesting until the plant no longer produces anymore, which could go into very cooler temperatures.

If you have never thought of growing them in your own home vegetable garden you can see by the tips above just how easy it is to do so. Add some beneficial nutrients to your diet through growing brussel sprouts right in your own backyard.

Tips For Growing Herbs Indoors

There are many herbs that you can grow inside that will do great. If you watch what you are doing, you can grow many herbs inside year round and always have fresh herbs to cook with. The biggest thing to remember with growing herbs in your house is that you have to give them the right kind of light. Herbs are often sensitive to the correct lighting conditions. If you can do this, you will very likely have a great herb garden in your home.

The type of sunlight that comes into the window you use to grow your herb garden is very important. If you are using a window facing the east, you are in great shape. You can get clear morning light that isn’t too hot. If you are using windows that face west or south, that can be good but it can get too hot in the summer. Northern light is usually not good because the light is too weak to grow many herbs.

Also, you want to be sure your herbs are close to the window. If they are more than 2-3 feet from your window and the sun, they are not going to get enough light. The only time this is not the case is when it is midsummer and your window is very hot. In that case, you would want to move the plants back from the intense sun in the middle of the day.

You might be surprised, but how clean your windows are can have an effect on how much light your plants get. If you have any curtains or blinds, this will have an effect too. So make sure you are getting enough light to your plants or you might start having some problems.

Your herbs are going to need at least 6 hours of strong light every day. The light should be strong enough to give a good shadow on your plants when you put your hand between them and the sun.

If you are not able to get enough light on your herbs inside, you always can add some lights. You can put some grow lights on timers and have them turn on for 8 hours per day when you are not even home. This should allow your plants to really grow.

Also you have to water your plants enough. A great way to judge is to stick your finger into the pot about 1.5 inches. If your finger is dry, you need to add water. If it is wet, you should wait a day. After you do this for a week or so, you will have a feel for how much water your herbs need. The watering needs of the plants may alter as you go from season to season and you start running the AC or heat.
We find that if we follow most of these basic rules, we end up with more indoor herbs than we know what to do with! This is a great problem to have. Hopefully you will enjoy them!