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Container Gardening

Container gardening on a balcony.

Container gardening can be ideal for people living in apartments or rented homes without the space to plant gardens outside. Containers gardens allow for easy access to plants that enhance a space and can be moved easily to accommodate the sun exposure as the plant grows and seasons change.

Soil[edit | edit source]

Container gardens have very specific soil needs.

Rock Gardens

Japanese rock garden.


For plants, see:

Herb Gardens

An herb garden.

A herb is a herbaceous plant that does not have a woody stem and dies every winter. The broad definition of the word herb is "useful plant". The historical uses of herbs have been for medicine, cooking, and fragrances. Herbs have also been used as an ornamental manner in gardens. All herbs are classified as being annual, perennial, or biennial. Most herbs are grown during the summer and brought inside during the winter. Herb gardens have many uses with one being growing certain herbs for medical purposes. Another use of an herb garden is growing herbs for culinary purposes. The final use for herb gardens is for the recreational uses of herbs whether it be planting them for looks or for fragrances in one's yard.

References[edit | edit source]


Flower Gardens

A flower garden.

A flower garden is a garden where flowers are grown for decorative purposes. Flower gardens are usually filled with many colors and different kinds of flowers. Flower gardens are known for decorating areas. Reasons why people have flower gardens are to help bees, reduce carbon emission, relaxing purposes, and to have a better understanding of nature.

References[edit | edit source]

Color Gardens

Planting colorful plants in specific patterns can be used to great effect.

A color garden is a garden specifically planted in a certain order to display a certain design. Flower gardens are typically seen in someone's yard who is trying to decorate. Flower gardens are seen in public areas like parks, downtown, stadiums, city halls, libraries, and much more. Many flowers come in different colors, it is up to the designer to order the colors in a way that appeal to the viewer.

References[edit | edit source]

Community Gardens

A community garden.

Community gardens are used to enhance the sense of community in a certain area. Community gardens are for anyone in the community to plant and maintain. With community gardens residents of that community are welcomed to help with the garden, walk through the garden, and to hang out at the garden. The goal of a community garden is the bring the community closer together and allow member of the community to learn together.

References[edit | edit source]

Urban Gardens

Urban horticulture specifically is the study of the relationship between plants and the urban environment. It focuses on the functional use of horticulture so as to maintain and improve the surrounding urban area.[1] With the expansion of cities and rapid urbanization, this field of study is large and complex and its study has only recently gained momentum. It has an undeniable relationship to production horticulture in that fruits, vegetables and other plants are grown for harvest, aesthetic, architectural, recreational and psychological purposes, but it extends far beyond these benefits. The value of plants in the urban environment has yet to be thoroughly researched or quantified.

Salad lettuce cultivation at the Growing Communities' urban plot, in Springfield Park, Clapton, North London.
Small radish grown on a balcony in Barcelona city

Today urban horticulture has several components that include more than just community gardens, such as market gardens, small farms and farmers' markets and is an important aspect of community development. Another result of urban horticulture is the food security movement where locally grown food is given precedence through several projects and programs, thus providing low-cost and nutritious food. Urban community gardens and the food security movement was a response to the problems of industrial agriculture and to solve its related problems of price inflation, lack of supermarkets, food scarcity, etc.

Production practices[edit | edit source]

Tomato plants growing in a pot farming alongside a small house in New Jersey in fifteen garbage cans filled with soil, grew over 700 tomatoes during the summer of 2013.

Crops are grown in flowerpots, growbags, small gardens or larger fields, using traditional or high-tech and innovative practices. Some new techniques that have been adapted to the urban situation and tackle the main city restrictions are also documented. These include horticultural production on built-up land using various types of substrates (e.g. roof top, organic production and hydroponic/aeroponic production). Because of this, it is also known as roof-top vegetable gardening/horticulture and container vegetable gardening/horticulture.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Tukey, HB Jr. (1983). "Urban horticulture: horticulture for populated areas". HortScience: 11–13.

Further reading[edit | edit source]

  • Tixier, Philippe and de Bon, Hubert; 2006.Ch. 11. "Urban Horticulture" in Cities Farming for the Future - Urban Agriculture for Green and Productive Cities by René van Veenhuizen (Ed.), International Development Research Centre (Canada)
  • Garden Culture, A magazine that focuses on growing food in an urban environment.
  • Flowerpot Farming: Creating your own Urban Kitchen Garden, Jayne Neville, Good Life Press; Ill edition (June 1, 2008), ISBN 978-1904871316

External links[edit | edit source]

Elements of a Garden Location


The five elements in a garden location[edit | edit source]

Soil[edit | edit source]

Good soil is essential; most soil problems can be amended with good homemade compost. A garden will need at least one foot of good soil to grow in, more if you're planning to grow deep-rooted plants such as potatoes, tomatoes, rye, radishes, etc.

Wind Circulation[edit | edit source]

A nice brisk wind will strengthen your plants, keep diseases scarce, and bring numerous beneficial insects. Too much wind will flatten your garden though, so try for a good balance and plant windbreaking trees if necessary.

Sunlight[edit | edit source]

Sunlight duration throughout the year in a garden will determine success or failure. Most (90%) of vegetable plants need at least 8 hours of full sunlight a day, though less can be workable with excellent soil and watering. Watch the sun's path through the course of a day, throughout the year, so your plants can be placed to not overshadow a sun-needy neighbor.

Water availability[edit | edit source]

Deep, irregular watering is the key to strong roots for your plants. If you water a little bit often, the roots of your plants will spread out along the surface of the soil (thatch) and be susceptible to diseases, insects, and drought. Watering deeply (drenching) but not often forces the roots to grow deep into the soil, finding nutrients and any water tables. With good mulching, most established vegetable gardens can be watered once a week, barring heat or other extenuating circumstances. Because heavy watering will be necessary, make sure that a good source of water is near your garden location.

Location[edit | edit source]

Before starting any design it's important to study views and traffic patterns so that you can enjoy vistas, aren't gawked at by passing motorists, and have enough room for both growing and maneuvering space. A garden should be someplace easily accessible. Visit your garden often, once a day or many times a week, to catch problems, harvest young vegetables, and perform regular tasks. The closer your garden to your front or back door, the better—and the better it will look and produce.

Deciding on what to grow[edit | edit source]

Planting zones[edit | edit source]

Types of plants[edit | edit source]

Annuals[edit | edit source]

These plants usually germinate, flower and die within one year. Unless prevented from setting seed, true annuals will not live longer than this. Some seedless plants can also be considered annuals even though they do not flower.

Examples of true annuals include corn, lettuce, pea, cauliflower, watermelon, bean, zinnia and marigold.

Biennials[edit | edit source]

Perennials[edit | edit source]

Shrubs[edit | edit source]

Trees[edit | edit source]

Vines[edit | edit source]

What not to grow[edit | edit source]

Work with what you've got[edit | edit source]

Planning Plant Placement[edit | edit source]

Seed Starting and Transplanting[edit | edit source]

First Steps in Planning a Garden


Growing a garden is an ancient practice we have perfected over thousands of years. However, in modern times, we are not all raised with a garden in the back yard, so it's good to approach a new garden with careful forethought and a plan to follow.

Before starting the plan, the gardener should first come up with a list of priorities for the garden, perhaps asking questions such as these:

  1. What will be the main purpose of the garden? A hobby? A place to grow food? A place to entertain? All of the above?
  2. How much time will I have to spend in the garden?
  3. How much money will be in the gardening budget?

These are all important questions, because the approach to garden planning and design will vary greatly according to how they are answered. We'll begin by going over these topics in detail.

The aims of the garden[edit | edit source]

Gardens are grown for many reasons, such as for a hobby (where the act of gardening becomes its own reward), a place to grow food for the family or the market, or as a place to entertain.

Hobby gardens tend to come about slowly, one bed at a time, and one plant at a time. Hobby gardening often verges on obsession, as the gardener learns of new plants to grow, and tries to utilize every inch of soil to its greatest potential. The best approach to a hobby garden is to start small, then expand the project as you get a feel for how much work is involved.

When growing fruits and vegetables, the primary interest is in the final products (the produce), and so the garden should be planned to get the most production from the time and space available to the grower.

When the garden is intended as a place to entertain, the planning needs to take into account how much space will be needed for your guests, what time of year it will be used, and what sort of entertaining you'll be doing.

Laying Out a Garden Bed

  • Gridding
  • Marking the edges
  • Irrigation, lighting, and drainage
  • Placement of plants

Putting a Garden Plan into Action


First things first

Double-checking the measurements
Initial preparation
Laying out
Removal of existing plants
Weedy areas
Trees and Shrubs
Soil work
Getting the materials ready
Storing and holding
Setting up the big day



In the late 20th Century, permaculture started to become used as a design tool by gardeners and farmers as a way to ecologically design gardens. Permaculture had 3 main guiding design ideas:

  1. Care for all the people.
  2. Care for the planet.
  3. Pass on any surplus created in a system. For example, if a wall retains heat, pass on the heat to a plant that needs it; if a plant provides shelter, place it on a wall that needs cooling.

See also[edit | edit source]

Raised Beds

Raised garden beds

Raised beds are garden beds which are raised above the level of the surrounding soil. They are used both in gardens and on small farms as a way of making gardens easy to work on, and as a way of preserving soil structure, since raised beds aren't meant to be walked on.

Raised beds are usually contained with a hard border such as logs, timber, cinder blocks, or even concrete. They are usually designed to be from 3 to 5 feet wide, which allows every part of the bed to be within arms reach for planting, maintenance, and harvesting.

Raised beds are particularly useful when there are drainage issues, stumps, or other problems with the soil.

Raised beds can be created at any time of year, including winter.

Designing beds[edit | edit source]

Beds should not be too wide to reach across from either side

Inter-rows will need to be maintained. For small interrows mulches or gravel can be used. If interrows[check spelling] are to be maintained as turf, leave plenty of room for the mower, accounting for subsidence.

Logs should be as long as possible, at least 6 inches diameter.

While dumping compost, buttress the siding logs with short logs or stone. Eventually use wedges.

When possible, build the beds when the soil is frozen or very dry to avoid rutting.

Add enough soil to leave a fairly high mound, as the compost will settle over time.

When the logs rot away, either replace them or return the area to tilled soil for a time.

See also[edit | edit source]

Making Raised Beds with Tractors

Soils and Composts


Soils[edit | edit source]

Composting[edit | edit source]

Soil Improvement


Almost any soil will benefit from improvement, and the overall health of the garden both over the long term and the short will be greatly improved by having a good soil to grow from. As a rule, the simple answer to soil improvement is to incorporate composts. However, the soil may need particular improvements, as indicated in a soil test. The goal is to create a soil with good tilth, appropriate levels of available nutrients, a desirable pH, and in most cases good drainage.

General soil improvement[edit | edit source]

Improving soil in a general sense (with or without a soil test) is a physically demanding yet crucial task in the garden. As an old saying goes, "a ten dollar plant in a twenty dollar hole will grow much better than a twenty dollar plant in a ten dollar hole." That saying might be misleading in some ways (current thinking is that putting plants in "good holes" has similar long-term effects as would planting it in a container), but improving the entire garden bed will indeed make for great plants.

The best way to improve most any soil is to add composts, because a soil with lots of organic matter will be much more amenable for growing plants.

Soil improvement after a soil test[edit | edit source]


High-altitude aerial view of irrigation in the Heart of the Sahara

Irrigation is the artificial application of water to the soil in order ensure an adequate supply of water for plants. In crop production it is mainly used to replace missing rainfall in periods of drought, but also to protect plants against frost.[1] Additionally irrigation helps to suppress weed growing in rice fields.[2]

In contrast, agriculture that relies only on direct rainfall is sometimes referred to as dryland farming or as rain fed farming.

History of irrigation[edit | edit source]

Animal-powered irrigation, Upper Egypt, ca. 1840
Inside a karez tunnel at Turpan, China.

Irrigation is an ancient practice, with archaeological evidence of irrigation in Mesopotamia and Egypt as far back as the 6th millennium BCE, where barley was grown in areas where the natural rainfall was insufficient to support such a crop.[3] In the western hemisphere archaeologists have found irrigation canals in the Zana Valley of the Andes Mountains in Peru from as far back as the 4th millennium BCE. The Indus Valley Civilization in Pakistan and northern India (from circa 2600 BCE) also had an early canal irrigation system (from circa 2600 BCE).[4] Large scale agriculture was practiced and an extensive network of canals was used for the purpose of irrigation. Sophisticated irrigation and storage systems were developed, including the reservoirs built at Girnar in 3000 BCE.[5]

There is evidence of the ancient Egyptian pharaoh Amenemhet III in the twelfth dynasty (about 1800 BCE) using the natural lake of the Faiyum Oasis as a reservoir to store surpluses of water for use during the dry seasons, as the lake swelled annually as caused by the annual flooding of the Nile.[6]

The Qanats, developed in ancient Persia in about 800 BCE, are among the oldest known irrigation methods still in use today. They are now found in Asia, the middle east and north Africa. The system comprises a network of vertical wells and gently sloping tunnels driven into the sides of cliffs and steep hills to tap groundwater.[7] The noria, a water wheel with clay pots around the rim powered by the flow of the stream (or by animals where the water source was still), was first brought into use at about this time, by Roman settlers in North Africa. By 150 BCE the pots were fitted with valves to allow smoother filling as they were forced into the water.[8]

The irrigation works of ancient Sri Lanka, the earliest dating from about 300 BCE, in the reign of King Pandukabhaya and under continuous development for the next thousand years, were one of the most complex irrigation systems of the ancient world. In addition to underground canals, the Sinhalese were the first to build completely artificial reservoirs to store water. The system was extensively restored and further extended during the reign of King Parakrama Bahu (1153–1186 CE).[9]

The oldest known hydraulic engineers of China were Sunshu Ao (6th century BCE) of the Spring and Autumn Period and Ximen Bao (5th century BCE) of the Warring States period, both of whom worked on large irrigation projects. In the Szechwan region belonging to the State of Qin of ancient China, the Dujiangyan Irrigation System was built in 256 BCE to irrigate an enormous area of farmland that today still supplies water.[10] By the 1st century AD, during the Han Dynasty, the Chinese also used chain pumps that lifted water from lower elevation to higher elevation.[11] These were powered by manual foot pedal, hydraulic waterwheels, or rotating mechanical wheels pulled by oxen.[12] The water was used for public works of providing water for urban residential quarters and palace gardens, but mostly for irrigation of farmland canals and channels in the fields.[13]

In fifteenth century Korea the world's first water gauge, woo ryang gyae (Korean: 우량계), was discovered in 1441 CE. The inventor was Jang Young Sil, a Korean engineer of the Choson Dynasty, under the active direction of the King, Se Jong. It was installed in irrigation tanks as part of a nationwide system to measure and collect rainfall for agricultural applications. With this instrument, planners and farmers could make better use of the information gathered in the survey.[14]

By the middle of the 20th century, the advent of diesel and electric motors led for the first time to systems that could pump groundwater out of major aquifers faster than it was recharged. This can lead to permanent loss of aquifer capacity, decreased water quality, ground subsidence, and other problems. The future of food production in such areas as the North China Plain, the Punjab, and the Great Plains of the US is threatened.

Types of irrigation[edit | edit source]

Basin flood irrigation of wheat

Various types of irrigation techniques differ in how the water obtained from the source is distributed within the field. In general, the goal is to supply the entire field uniformly with water, so that each plant has the amount of water it needs, neither too much nor too little.

Surface irrigation[edit | edit source]

In surface irrigation systems water moves over and across the land by simple gravity flow in order to wet it and to infiltrate into the soil. Surface irrigation can be subdivided into furrow, borderstrip or basin irrigation. It is often called flood irrigation when the irrigation results in flooding or near flooding of the cultivated land. Historically, this has been the most common method of irrigating agricultural land.

Where water levels from the irrigation source permit, the levels are controlled by dikes, usually plugged by soil. This is often seen in terraced rice fields (rice paddies), where the method is used to flood or control the level of water in each distinct field. In some cases, the water is pumped, or lifted by human or animal power to the level of the land.

Localized irrigation[edit | edit source]

Localized irrigation is a system where water is distributed under low pressure through a piped network, in a pre-determined pattern, and applied as a small discharge to each plant or adjacent to it. Drip irrigation, spray or micro-sprinkler irrigation and bubbler irrigation belong to this category of irrigation methods.[15]

Drip, or trickle irrigation[edit | edit source]

Drip Irrigation - A dripper in action
Drip Irrigation Layout and its parts

Water is delivered at or near the root zone of plants, drop by drop. This type of system can be the most water-efficient method of irrigation, if managed properly, since evaporation and runoff are minimized. In modern agriculture, drip irrigation is often combined with plastic mulch, further reducing evaporation, and is also the means of delivery of fertilizer. The process is known as w:fertigation.

Deep percolation, where water moves below the root zone, can occur if a drip system is operated for too long of a duration or if the delivery rate is too high. Drip irrigation methods range from very high-tech and computerized to low-tech and relatively labor-intensive. Lower water pressures are usually needed than for most other types of systems, with the exception of low energy center pivot systems and surface irrigation systems, and the system can be designed for uniformity throughout a field or for precise water delivery to individual plants in a landscape containing a mix of plant species. Although it is difficult to regulate pressure on steep slopes, pressure compensating emitters are available, so the field does not have to be level. High-tech solutions involve precisely calibrated emitters located along lines of tubing that extend from a computerized set of valves. Both pressure regulation and filtration to remove particles are important. The tubes are usually black (or buried under soil or mulch) to prevent the growth of algae and to protect the polyethylene from degradation due to ultraviolet light. But drip irrigation can also be as low-tech as a porous clay vessel sunk into the soil and occasionally filled from a hose or bucket. Subsurface drip irrigation has been used successfully on lawns, but it is more expensive than a more traditional sprinkler system. Surface drip systems are not cost-effective (or aesthetically pleasing) for lawns and golf courses. Netafim,Jain Irrigation Systems, Chapin Watermatics, Eurodrip, Plastro Irrigation Systems are major manufacturer of Drip Irrigation Systems. In the past one of the main disadvantages of the subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) systems, when used for turf, was the fact of having to install the plastic lines very close to each other in the ground, therefore disrupting the turfgrass area. Recent technology developments on drip installers like the drip installer at New Mexico State University Arrow Head Center, places the line underground and covers the slit leaving no soil exposed.

Sprinkler irrigation[edit | edit source]

A travelling sprinkler at Millets Farm Centre, Oxfordshire, UK

In sprinkler or overhead irrigation, water is piped to one or more central locations within the field and distributed by overhead high-pressure sprinklers or guns. A system utilizing sprinklers, sprays, or guns mounted overhead on permanently installed risers is often referred to as a solid-set irrigation system. Higher pressure sprinklers that rotate are called rotors and are driven by a ball drive, gear drive, or impact mechanism. Rotors can be designed to rotate in a full or partial circle. Guns are similar to rotors, except that they generally operate at very high pressures of 40 to 130 lbf/in² (275 to 900 kPa) and flows of 50 to 1200 US gal/min (3 to 76 L/s), usually with nozzle diameters in the range of 0.5 to 1.9 inches (10 to 50 mm). Guns are used not only for irrigation, but also for industrial applications such as dust suppression and logging.

Sprinkler irrigation of blueberries in Plainville, New York

Sprinklers may also be mounted on moving platforms connected to the water source by a hose. Automatically moving wheeled systems known as traveling sprinklers may irrigate areas such as small farms, sports fields, parks, pastures, and cemeteries unattended. Most of these utilize a length of polyethylene tubing wound on a steel drum. As the tubing is wound on the drum powered by the irrigation water or a small gas engine, the sprinkler is pulled across the field. When the sprinkler arrives back at the reel the system shuts off. This type of system is known to most people as a "waterreel" traveling irrigation sprinkler and they are used extensively for dust suppression, irrigation, and land application of waste water. Other travelers use a flat rubber hose that is dragged along behind while the sprinkler platform is pulled by a cable. These cable-type travelers are definitely old technology and their use is limited in today's modern irrigation projects.

Center pivot irrigation[edit | edit source]

The hub of a center-pivot irrigation system.

Center pivot irrigation is a form of sprinkler irrigation consisting of several segments of pipe (usually galvanized steel or aluminum) joined together and supported by trusses, mounted on wheeled towers with sprinklers positioned along its length. The system moves in a circular pattern and is fed with water from the pivot point at the center of the arc. These systems are common in parts of the United States where terrain is flat.

Center pivot with drop sprinklers. Photo by Gene Alexander, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Most center pivot systems now have drops hanging from a u-shaped pipe called a gooseneck attached at the top of the pipe with sprinkler heads that are positioned a few feet (at most) above the crop, thus limiting evaporative losses. Drops can also be used with drag hoses or bubbler's that deposit the water directly on the ground between crops. The crops are planted in a circle to conform to the center pivot. This type of system is known as LEPA (Low Energy Precision Application). Originally, most center pivots were water powered. These were replaced by hydraulic systems (T-L Irrigation) and electric motor driven systems (Lindsay, Reinke, Valley, Zimmatic). Most systems today are driven by an electric motor mounted low on each span. This drives a reduction gearbox and transverse driveshafts transmit power to another reduction gearbox mounted behind each wheel. Precision controls, some with GPS location and remote computer monitoring, are now available.

Lateral move (side roll, wheel line) irrigation[edit | edit source]

Wheel line irrigation system in Idaho. 2001. Photo by Joel McNee, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

A series of pipes, each with a wheel of about 1.5 m diameter permanently affixed to its midpoint and sprinklers along its length, are coupled together at one edge of a field. Water is supplied at one end using a large hose. After sufficient water has been applied, the hose is removed and the remaining assembly rotated either by hand or with a purpose-built mechanism, so that the sprinklers move 10 m across the field. The hose is reconnected. The process is repeated until the opposite edge of the field is reached. This system is less expensive to install than a center pivot, but much more labor intensive to operate, and it is limited in the amount of water it can carry. Most systems utilize 4 or 5 inch diameter aluminum pipe. One feature of a lateral move system is that it consists of sections that can be easily disconnected. They are most often used for small or oddly-shaped fields, such as those found in hilly or mountainous regions, or in regions where labor is inexpensive.

Sub-irrigation[edit | edit source]

Sub-irrigation also sometimes called seepage irrigation has been used for many years in field crops in areas with high water tables. It is a method of artificially raising the water table to allow the soil to be moistened from below the plants' root zone. Often those systems are located on permanent grasslands in lowlands or river valleys and combined with drainage infrastructure. A system of pumping stations, canals, weirs and gates allows it to increase or decrease the water level in a network of ditches and the control the water table thereby.

Sub-irrigation is also used in commercial greenhouse production, usually for potted plants. Water is delivered from below, absorbed upwards, and the excess collected for recycling. Typically, a solution of water and nutrients floods a container or flows through a trough for a short period of time, 10–20 minutes, and is then pumped back into a holding tank for reuse. Sub-irrigation in greenhouses requires fairly sophisticated, expensive equipment and management. Advantages are water and nutrient conservation, and labor-saving through lowered system maintenance and automation. It is similar in principle and action to subsurface drip irrigation.

Manual irrigation using buckets or watering cans[edit | edit source]

These systems have low requirements for infrastructure and technical equipment but need high labor inputs. Irrigation using watering cans is to be found for example in peri-urban agriculture around large cities in some African countries.

Sources of irrigation water[edit | edit source]

Sources of irrigation water can be groundwater extracted from springs or by using wells, surface water withdrawn from rivers, lakes or reservoirs or non-conventional sources like treated wastewater, desalinated water or drainage water. A special form of irrigation using surface water is spate irrigation, also called floodwater harvesting. In case of a flood (spate) water is diverted to normally dry river beds (wadi’s) using a network of dams, gates and channels and spread over large areas. The moisture stored in the soil will be used thereafter to grow crops. Spate irrigation areas are in particular located in semi-arid or arid, mountainous regions. While floodwater harvesting belongs to the accepted irrigation methods, rainwater harvesting is usually not considered as a form of irrigation. Rainwater harvesting is the collection of runoff water from roofs or unused land and the concentration of this water on cultivated land. Therefore this method is considered as a water concentration method.

How an in-ground irrigation system works[edit | edit source]

Most commercial and residential irrigation systems are "in ground" systems, which means that everything is buried in the ground. With the pipes, sprinklers, and irrigation valves being hidden, it makes for a cleaner, more presentable landscape without garden hoses or other items having to be moved around manually.

Water source and piping[edit | edit source]

The beginning of a sprinkler system is the water source. This is usually a tap into an existing (city) water line or a pump that pulls water out of a well or a pond. The water travels through pipes from the water source through the valves to the sprinklers. The pipes from the water source up to the irrigation valves are called "mainlines", and the lines from the valves to the sprinklers are called "lateral lines". Most piping used in irrigation systems today are HDPE and MDPE or PVC or PEX plastic pressure pipes due to their ease of installation and resistance to corrosion. After the water source, the water usually travels through a back flow prevention device. This prevents water in the irrigation lines from being pulled back into and contaminating the clean water supply.

Controllers, zones, and valves[edit | edit source]

Most Irrigation systems are divided into zones. A zone is a single Irrigation Valve and one or a group of sprinklers that are connected by pipes. Irrigation Systems are divided into zones because there is usually not enough pressure and available flow to run sprinklers for an entire yard or sports field at once. Each zone has a solenoid valve on it that is controlled via wire by an Irrigation Controller. The Irrigation Controller is either a mechanical or electrical device that signals a zone to turn on at a specific time and keeps it on for a specified amount of time. "Smart Controller" is a recent term used to describe a controller that is capable of adjusting the watering time by itself in response to current environmental conditions. The smart controller determines current conditions by means of historic weather data for the local area, a moisture sensor (water potential or water content), weather station, or a combination of these.

Sprinklers[edit | edit source]

When a zone comes on, the water flows through the lateral lines and ultimately ends up at the irrigation sprinkler heads. Most sprinklers have pipe thread inlets on the bottom of them which allows a fitting and the pipe to be attached to them. The sprinklers are usually installed with the top of the head flush with the ground surface. When the water is pressurized, the head will pop up out of the ground and water the desired area until the valve closes and shuts off that zone. Once there is no more water pressure in the lateral line, the sprinkler head will retract back into the ground.

Academic resources[edit | edit source]

  • Irrigation Science, ISSN: 1432-1319 (electronic) 0342-7188 (paper), Springer
  • Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering, ISSN: 0733-9437, American Society of Civil Engineers Publications

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Snyder, R. L.; Melo-Abreu, J. P. (2005). Frost protection: fundamentals, practice, and economics – Volume 1 (PDF). Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. ISSN: 1684-8241. {{cite book}}: Unknown parameter |booktitle= ignored (help)
  2. Williams, J. F. "Managing Water for Weed Control in Rice". UC Davis, Department of Plant Sciences. Retrieved 2007-03-14. {{cite web}}: Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)
  3. The History of Technology – Irrigation. Encyclopædia Britannica, 1994 edition.
  4. "Ancient India Indus Valley Civilization". Minnesota State University "e-museum". Retrieved 2007-01-10.
  5. Rodda, J. C. and Ubertini, Lucio (2004). The Basis of Civilization - Water Science? pg 161. International Association of Hydrological Sciences (International Association of Hydrological Sciences Press 2004).
  6. "Amenemhet III". Britannica Concise. Retrieved 2007-01-10.
  7. "Qanat Irrigation Systems and Homegardens (Iran)". Globally Important Agriculture Heritage Systems. UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Retrieved 2007-01-10.
  8. Encyclopædia Britannica, 1911 and 1989 editions
  9. de Silva, Sena (1998). "Reservoirs of Sri Lanka and their fisheries". UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Retrieved 2007-01-10.
  10. China – history. Encyclopædia Britannica,1994 edition.
  11. Needham, Joseph (1986). Science and Civilization in China: Volume 4, Physics and Physical Technology, Part 2, Mechanical Engineering. Taipei: Caves Books Ltd. Pages 344-346.
  12. Needham, Volume 4, Part 2, 340-343.
  13. Needham, Volume 4, Part 2, 33, 110.
  14. Baek Sauk Gi (1987). Jang Young Sil. Woong-Jin-Wee-In-Jun-Gi: "Woongjin Publishing Co., Ltd".
  15. Frenken, K. (2005). Irrigation in Africa in figures – AQUASTAT Survey – 2005 (PDF). Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. ISBN 92-5-105414-2. Retrieved 2007-03-14. {{cite book}}: Unknown parameter |booktitle= ignored (help)

External links[edit | edit source]

Leaf Cuttings


Possible problems

Some gels, and powders

Hydroponic cloning systems

Planting Techniques



  • Planting from seed
  • Planting from containers
  • Planting from B&B
  • Transplanting



Sowing is the simplest (and often the least expensive) way to bring introduce new plants into the garden. Seeds can be sown directly into the garden (in situ), or in containers where they are grown to a hardy size for transplanting into the garden.

In large gardens and farms, seeds are almost always sown in situ, to avoid the additional labor involved in transplanting.

Hand sowing is the process of casting handfuls of seed over prepared ground: broadcasting. Usually, a drag or harrow is employed to incorporate the seed into the soil. Though labor intensive for any but small areas, this method is still used in some situations. Practice is required to sow evenly and at the desired rate. A hand seeder can be used for sowing, though it is less of a help than it is for the smaller seeds of grasses and legumes.

In agriculture, most seed is now sown using a seed drill, which offers greater precision; seed is sown evenly and at the desired rate. The drill also places the seed at a measured distance below the soil, so that less seed is required. The standard design uses a fluted feed metering system, which is volumetric in nature; individual seeds are not counted. Rows are typically about 10-30 cm apart, depending on the crop species and growing conditions. Several row opener types are used depending on soil type and local tradition. Grain drills are most often drawn by tractors, but can also be pulled by horses. Pickup trucks are sometimes used, since little draft is required.

A seed rate of about 100 kg of seed per hectare (2 bushels per acre) is typical, though rates vary considerably depending on crop species, soil conditions, and farmer's preference. Excessive rates can cause the crop to lodge, while too thin a rate will result in poor utilisation of the land, competition with weeds and a reduction in the yield.

Among the major field crops, oats, wheat, and rye are sowed, grasses and legumes are seeded, and maize and soybeans are planted. In seeding, little if any soil is placed over the seeds. In planting, wider rows (generally 75 cm (30 in) or more) are used, and the intent is to have precise, even spacing between individual seeds in the row; various mechanisms have been devised to count out individual seeds at exact intervals.

Open-field refers to the form of sowing used historically in the agricultural context whereby fields are prepared generically and left open, as the name suggests, before being sown directly with seed. The seed is frequently left uncovered at the surface of the soil before germinating and therefore exposed to the prevailing climate and conditions. This is in contrast to the seedbed method used more commonly in domestic gardening or more specific (modern) agricultural scenarios where the seed is applied beneath the soil surface and monitored and manually tended frequently to ensure more successful growth rates and better yields.

Information about sowing[edit | edit source]

Generally, seed packets labels includes:

  • Common plant name and the botanical name (in parentheses).
  • Space and deep: how deep to place the seeds in the soil, space between plants (from one row to the other one and from one plant to the other one in the same row).
  • Height: approximate height the plant will reach when mature.
  • Soil: type of soil the plant prefers.
  • Water: It can indicate "keep the soil lightly damp", "bottom water the plant", "drench the soil with water", "daily misting of water" and "almost dry out before re-watering".
  • Sun: full direct sunlight, partial sun, diffused sunlight, or grows well in the shade.
  • Door and temperature: if the plant is best suited for growing Indoor, Outdoor or both.
  • Life: Perennial or annual.
  • Planting, germination and harvest period: a lot of plant are planted in March. This information can be indicated by months or quarters of the year.
  • Special requirements, if necessary.

This information can be represented graphically.

Outdoor Plants/Foliage

Perennials[edit | edit source]

  • [[../../Houttuynia cordata/]]

Outdoor Plants/Flowers

Perennials[edit | edit source]

  • [[../../Aster tataricus/]]
  • [[../../Asclepias tuberosa/]] Butterfly Weed
  • [[../../Hemerocallis/]] Daylily
  • [[../../Goldenrod/]]
  • [[../../Hardy Chrysanthemums/]]
  • [[../../Helleborus/]] Hellebores
  • [[../../Vinca minor/]] Lesser Periwinkle
  • [[../../Nipponanthemum nipponicum/]] Nippon Daisy
  • [[../../Iris sibirica/]] Siberian Iris

Outdoor Plants/Foods

  • Apples
  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Avacodo
  • Bananas
  • Beans
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cantalope
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Clementines
  • Corn
  • Garlic
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Leeks
  • Lemons
  • Lettuce
  • Limes
  • Mushrooms
  • Oranges
  • Onions
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Peas
  • Pineapple
  • Potatoes
  • Raspberries
  • Spinach
  • Squashes
  • Strawberries
  • [[../../Tomato/]]
  • Watermelon

Outdoor Plants/Grasses

  • [[../../Bamboo/]]
  • [[../../Setaria/]]





Fungi and Lichen

Fungi and lichen are rarely thought of as being part of a garden – being considered weeds if at all, though lichen especially can play a role, notably in weathering or conveying age, particularly on stone surfaces (walls and borders) and in rock gardens.

Below we address both how to grow them and how to inhibit their growth.

Mosses and Bryophites

Mosses and Bryophytes[edit | edit source]

The famous moss garden of Saihō-ji.
Golden Pond, in the center of the moss garden.

Bryophytes (non-vascular land plants), of which the most well-known are mosses, but also include liverworts and hortworts, are an ancient form of plants, suited to some forms of gardening. For similar uses, see lichen.

Particularly useful in rock gardens.

Examples[edit | edit source]

One of the most famous moss gardens is 苔寺 (koke dera, “moss temple”) of Saihō-ji, Kyoto.

See Moss#Cultivation

See also[edit | edit source]

House Plants


Flowers[edit | edit source]

Container Gardening/Flowers

Flowers[edit | edit source]

Container gardening is a super-easy way to dress up your front porch or patio, add a splash of color to shady areas, or cope with poor soil in your yard. "Many plants thrive in containers," says Barbara Wise, author of Container Gardening for All Seasons. "The most important thing is good drainage. Make sure there's a hole in the bottom of your pot so plants don't drown. Also, read the tag or talk to the nursery to learn which plants do well in your specific conditions, such as full sun or shade."

Since your outdoor potted plants will need more water than their in-ground counterparts, be smart about location. For remote spots, choose drought-tolerant plants, such as succulents. If you’ve got some thirstier plants in the mix, place them nearest to a water source. Check the soil moisture of your containers daily for the first week after planting to determine how often to irrigate. When it comes to design, we all know the container gardening adage: Choose a thriller, a filler, and a spiller. But here are a few more guiding ideas to keep in mind.

  • Pick a palette that works with the house colors and stick to it in all your containers.
  • Mix different textures, shapes, and colors to heighten visual interest. For example, choose a wide variety of flower and leaf shapes—some round, some trumpet-shaped, some scalloped.
  • Group pots of various shapes, sizes, and complementary styles too.
  • It’s okay to have only one plant per container but think in opposites: Put the spotlight on a plant's distinctive leaves by choosing a simple pot. Want to show off a cool container? Pair it with a plainer species.

Container Plants[edit | edit source]

  • Geranium

A classic for front porch containers, these cheerful plants will flower spring through summer with deadheading (pinching off spent blooms) and fertilizer. Though they like full sun, they do appreciate some afternoon shade in intense heat. Learn how to winterize potted geraniums.

Exposure: Sun

  • Iris

Yes, you can grow irises in containers, says Melissa Lallo Johnson, a Midwest-based master gardener who grows 23 varieties on her extensive property, which she shares on Instagram at @fancyflowerfarmer. “The thing I love most about irises is that after they are done putting on their show, their stunning green leaves with a bluish tint stay beautiful the rest of the season and much into the beginning of winter," she says. "When they start to brown at the tips, I cut the brown off and cut them to a point. That usually stops the browning and keeps them looking picture perfect.”

Exposure: Sun

  • Hibiscus

This tropical bloomer makes a striking accent in a grouping of containers, especially when you have one with a braided trunk. It's also long-lived as long as you protect it from the cold. "I keep mine indoors over the winter,” says Johnson. "The once $5 plant is now a thick trunk braided beauty at nearly seven years old.

Exposure: Sun

  • Caladium

The heart-shaped foliage of this tropical plant will take centerstage in a container. Pair it with impatiens in a shady spot, but take note: Keep caladium away from pets, especially those who like to chew on plants. Caladiums contain insoluble calcium oxalates, which are toxic if consumed.

  • Sweet Potato Vine

With foliage ranging from bright lime green to dark purple depending on the variety, trailing sweet potato vines can add a welcome color contrast to your container. "One of my favorite spillers," says Johnson. "Big color, big leaves, big impact."

Exposure: Part Sun to Sun Exposure: Shade

  • Impatiens

"This classic will never grow old," says Johnson. "I use these sometimes as the fill and the spill."

Exposure: Shade

  • Supertunia

"Up to 4 feet of spill in containers—sold!" says Johnson. You'll also love that this low-maintenance petunia hybrid doesn't need require deadheading for repeat blooms.

Exposure: Part Sun to Sun

  • Basil

When you plant basil in your container garden, you'll always have fresh leaves on hand for culinary endeavors—and it'll help keep mosquitoes away. Johnson uses basil as a filler plant in her containers and lets them go to flower. "The flowers are so beautiful and fragrant," she says. "They are also excellent in floral arrangements."

Exposure: Sun

Varieties to try: Sweet Basil, Lemon Basil, and (for added color) Purple Basil

  • Lantana

Even beginners will enjoy success with this spiller in a container or hanging basket. Both heat and drought tolerant, this low-maintenance perennial is a butterfly magnet that blooms late spring through frost. “I love the intricate petal structure, the colors, and the smell,” says Johnson.

Two caveats to know: If ingested, lantana is toxic to animals, so take care around pets, horses, and livestock. Also, opt for sterile varieties; otherwise, lantana can be invasive in warm climates.

Exposure: Sun

Varieties to try: Bloomify Rose, Bloomify Red, and Luscious Royale Red Zone (all certified sterile)

  • Sweet Alyssum

"The delicate and airy look of sweet alyssum is so special as it falls over the container rim," says Johnson. "I love to tuck this into my rock wall also." White is the most common color, but purple- and pink-blooming varieties are also available.

Exposure: Sun (in hot climates, plant in part shade)

  • Euphorbia

This somewhat lesser-known plant looks frilly but it's tough as nails in a variety of conditions including heat and drought. Its wispy leaves and profuse airy white flowers offer a delicate baby's breath-like effect to mixed pots, says Glenn Kopp, horticulture information manager at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis.

Exposure: Part sun to sun

Varieties to try: Diamond Frost (pictured) or Glitz

  • Begonias

Begonias are versatile, hardy, and showy with a variety of leaf shapes and flower colors ranging from white to brilliant orange. "Many varieties do very well in containers," says Kopp. "Just don't let them get too wet." Plant them on their own in a hanging basket or in a mixed container. For extra showy blooms, go for a double begonia variety, such as the aptly named Roseform.

Exposure: Part sun

Varieties to try: Dragon Wing, Santa Cruz, or Roseform

  • Ornamental Pepper

These bushy little plants are fun additions to containers with their season-long color, texture and showy fruit, says Kopp. The tiny fruits typically mature from black to red. Though technically edible, most varieties of ornamental peppers are ultra-hot—so keep them out of the reach of kids and pets!

Exposure: Sun

Varieties to try: Purple Flash or Black Pearl

  • Angelonia

Delicate but heat-tolerant angelonia, also called summer snapdragon, doesn't need to be deadheaded to keep blooming all season. They come in pinks, mauves, deep purple, purple-blues, white, and more. Mix them with trailing herbs for an attractive combination planter, suggests Kopp.

Exposure: Sun

Varieties to try: Angelface Wedgewood Blue or Archangel Purple

  • Coral Bells

This perennial, also called heuchera, has frothy little flowers that arch over mounded foliage in early summer. Its leaves come in a rainbow of shades from peach to deepest burgundy. "These are one of my favorites that I've used in hundreds of planters. They tend to do better in pots in some places, especially if you have a lot of hungry creatures such as voles in your yard," says Barbara Wise, author of Container Gardening for All Seasons.

Exposure: Part sun

Varieties to try: Harvest Burgundy or Dolce Cinnamon Curls (pictured)

  • Coleus

In the last few years, coleus has had an explosion of new colors. It's drought tolerant and includes trailing, mounded, and upright varieties in too many colors to count. "A bonus is that their delicate flowers are a huge pollinator magnet for butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds," says Wise.

Exposure: Shade to sun (read the plant label for each variety)

Varieties to try: Trusty Rusty or Redhead

  • Nemesia

Perky little flowers last all season on upright stems in tons of bright colors including purple, pink, cranberry, bright yellow, pale yellow, orange, and white. The plant may flower in winter in milder climates, but it's generally considered an annual. Use as a vertical accent as part of a mixed container.

Exposure: Part sun to sun

Varieties to try: Juicy Fruits Kumquat or Dazzle-Me Lilac

  • Dwarf Hydrangea

Surprise! Flowering shrubs can be planted in containers, too, especially dwarf varieties that don't get more than two or three feet tall. An explosion of new hydrangea varieties in the past decade means you're certain to find one you love. Most hydrangeas bloom white or whitish-pink, then turn to shades of pink, purple, lime green, or a combination of shades. Cut blooms dry beautifully for an indoor display all winter long.

Exposure: Shade to sun (read the plant label for each variety)

Varieties to try: Little Quick Fire (pictured) or Bobo

  • Shrub Rose

Roses are lovely in landscape planting, but many shrub varieties work well in pots, too, says Wise. Newer varieties also are more disease resistant than old-school roses so they generally don't need to be sprayed and coddled. Set these out in pretty decorative pots as elegant focal points on your deck or patio.

Exposure: Sun

Varieties to try: Oso Easy or At Last

  • Pansies and Violas

These darlings of spring and fall gardens come in a stunning array of single and multi-color blooms. Some types last well past the first frost and even rebound in the spring. Plant them en masse in one color for impact, or mix with a variety of later-blooming plants for season-long interest.

Exposure: Part sun to sun

Varieties to try: Cool Wave or Anytime

Lawn Mowers


Cutting types[edit | edit source]

Gas push mower.
  • Reel Mowers
  • Rotary Mowers
  • Sicklebar Mowers
  • Scythes

Power[edit | edit source]

Riding mower.
  • Human Power
  • Animal Power
  • Gasoline 4-stroke
  • Gasoline 2-stroke
  • Diesel
  • Electric
  • Battery
  • Solar
  • Hybrid

Operation[edit | edit source]

A robotic solar hybrid powered lawn mower.
  • Human
    • Push
    • Rider
  • Robot

Protective Clothing

  • Goggles
  • Chaps

Ear protection[edit | edit source]

  • Plugs
  • Muffs

Masks[edit | edit source]

  • Brush Masks
  • Dust Masks
  • Respirators

Gloves[edit | edit source]

  • Work Gloves
  • Chemical Gloves

Helmets[edit | edit source]

  • Ground Crew Helmets
  • Climbing Helmets
  • Brush Helmets

Boots[edit | edit source]

  • Muck Boots
  • Steel Tipped Boots
  • Climbing Boots

Climbing Equipment[edit | edit source]

  • Harnesses
  • Ropes
  • Lanyards
  • Spikes

Spraying Equipment[edit | edit source]

  • Respirators
  • Coveralls



Herbicides are substances used to kill unwanted plants, often used in modern gardens in lieu of or alongside other weed control techniques. The use of herbicides has benefits in terms of saving labor and time, but can also cause some problems by killing non-target plants or other organisms, contaminating the environment, and in some cases may have toxic effects on humans and other animals.

Types of herbicides[edit | edit source]

Herbicides are classified in several ways, including effect, selectivity, persistence, application, and action. They are also further divided into herbicides that are acceptable in organic growing methods and non-organic growing methods.

Effect[edit | edit source]

  • Pre-emergent herbicides work by interfering with the germination of seeds. Pre-emergents must be well-timed according to the germination time of the weed being controlled, but when timed correctly they provide the best solution to the problem, as a preventative rather than a cure.
(see Pre-emergent Herbicides for details on particular pre-emergents)
  • Contact herbicides work by killing any part of the plant they come in contact with. In most cases these will not kill the entire plant and will need to be reapplied periodically, eventually draining the plant's energy stores and killing it after several applications.
  • Systemic herbicides work by killing the entire plant over a short period of time, and are conducted throughout the plant through the vascular system. Many weeds are resistant to these herbicides however, so repeat applications are often needed.
  • Drench herbicides are applied to the soil, rather than or along with application to the plant. Most of these herbicides are long-lasting, and therefore not appropriate for use in places where plants are to be grown.

Selectivity[edit | edit source]

Selective herbicides kill specific target plants while leaving the desired plants relatively unharmed. Herbicides used to control lawn weeds are in most cases selective herbicides.

Non-selective herbicides kill any plant they come in contact with (though some plants are resistant to various herbicides).

Persistence[edit | edit source]

Different herbicides have various "persistence", meaning some stay active over a long period of time, while others become inactive shortly after application.

Application[edit | edit source]

Herbicides can be applied in one of a few ways. Some are sprayed as a liquid, some applied as granules, some applied through irrigation systems or fumigation (though rarely done in gardens), and some are painted directly onto plant parts. Most herbicides can be applied using more than one method, depending on what they are being used for.

Action[edit | edit source]

Their classification by mechanism of action (MOA) indicates the first enzyme, protein, or biochemical step affected in the plant following application. The main mechanisms of action are:

  • Dessicators work by removing the water from plant cells, causing cell death.
  • Acids and bases work similarly to dessicators, by chemically "burning" plant cells. These are substances that are extremely acidic or alkaline.
  • Nutritional controls work by shifting the balance of nutrients, either providing too much of a particular nutrient, or restricting the availability of other nutrients. This most commonly involves slatering the soil pH, but in some cases certain nutrients can be used to control specific species of plants.
  • ACCase inhibitors are compounds that kill grasses. Acetyl coenzyme A carboxylase (ACCase) is part of the first step of lipid synthesis. Thus, ACCase inhibitors affect cell membrane production in the meristems of the grass plant. The ACCases of grasses are sensitive to these herbicides, whereas the ACCases of dicot plants are not.
  • Injury symptoms of plant treated with an ALS herbicide.
    ALS inhibitors: the acetolactate synthase (ALS) enzyme (also known as acetohydroxyacid synthase, or AHAS) is the first step in the synthesis of the branched-chain amino acids (valine, leucine, and isoleucine). These herbicides slowly starve affected plants of these amino acid]]s which eventually leads to inhibition of DNA synthesis. They affect grasses and dicots alike. The ALS inhibitor family includes sulfonylureas (SUs), imidazolinones (IMIs), triazolopyrimidines (TPs), pyrimidinyl oxybenzoates (POBs), and sulfonylamino carbonyl triazolinones (SCTs).
  • Injury symptoms of sicklepod plant treated with an EPSP synthase Inhibitor.
    EPSPS inhibitors: The enolpyruvylshikimate 3-phosphate synthase enzyme EPSPS is used in the synthesis of the amino acids tryptophan, phenylalanine and tyrosine. They affect grasses and dicots alike. Glyphosate is a systemic EPSPS inhibitor but inactivated by soil contact.
  • Synthetic auxin inaugurated the era of organic herbicides. They were discovered in the 1940s after a long study of the plant growth regulator auxin. Synthetic auxins mimic this plant hormone. They have several points of action on the cell membrane, and are effective in the control of dicot plants. 2,4-D is a synthetic auxin herbicide.
  • Photosystem II inhibitors reduce electron flow from water to NADPH2+ at the photochemical step in photosynthesis. They bind to the Qb site on the D2 protein, and prevent quinone from binding to this site. Therefore, this group of compounds cause electrons to accumulate on chlorophyll molecules. As a consequence, oxidation reactions in excess of those normally tolerated by the cell occur, and the plant dies. The triazine herbicides (including atrazine) are PSII inhibitors.

Acceptability for organic growing[edit | edit source]

By organic]is meant a herbicide that can be used in a farming enterprise that has been classified as organic. Organic herbicides are expensive and may not be affordable for commercial production. They are much less effective than synthetic herbicides but of course do not inject unnatural chemicals into the environment.

Organic herbicides include:

  • Vinegar [1] - effective for 5-20% solutions of acetic acid with higher concentrations most effective but mainly destroys surface growth and so respraying to treat regrowth is needed. Resistant plants generally succumb when weakened by respraying.
  • Steam - has been applied commercially but now considered uneconomic and inadequate.[2][3][4] Kills surface growth but not underground growth and so respraying to treat regrowth of perennials is needed.
  • Flame - considered more effective than steam but suffers from the same difficulties.[5]
  • BioWeed [6] - effective for 10-20% solutions of Pine Oil with higher concentrations most effective Will Also control seed by desiccation. Best applied when weeds are immature.

Common herbicides[edit | edit source]

  • 2,4-D, a broadleaf herbicide in the phenoxy group used in turf and in no-till field crop production. Now mainly used in a blend with other herbicides that act as synergists, it is the most widely used herbicide in the world, third most commonly used in the United States. It is an example of synthetic auxin.
  • Atrazine, a triazine herbicide used in corn and sorghum for control of broadleaf weeds and grasses. Still used because of its low cost and because it works as a synergist when used with other herbicides, it is a photosystem II inhibitor.
  • Clopyralid, is a broadleaf herbicide in the pyridine group, used mainly in turf, rangeland, and for control of noxious thistles. Notorious for its ability to persist in compost. It is another example of synthetic auxin.
  • Dicamba, a persistent broadleaf herbicide active in the soil, used on turf and field corn. It is another example of synthetic auxin.
  • Glyphosate, a systemic nonselective (it kills any type of plant) herbicide used in no-till burndown and for weed control in crops that are genetically modified to resist its effects. It is an example of an EPSPs inhibitor.
  • Imazapyr, is a non-selective herbicide used for the control of a broad range of weeds including terrestrial annual and perennial grasses and broadleaved herbs, woody species, and riparian and emergent aquatic species.
  • Imazapic, is a selective herbicide for both the pre- and post-emergent control of some annual and perennial grasses and some broadleaf weeds. Imazapic kills plants by inhibiting the production of branched chain amino acids (valine, leucine, and isoleucine), which are necessary for protein synthesis and cell growth.
  • Metoalachlor, a pre-emergent herbicide widely used for control of annual grasses in corn and sorghum; it has largely replaced atrazine for these uses.
  • Paraquat, a nonselective contact herbicide used for no-till burndown and in aerial destruction of marijuana and coca plantings. More acutely toxic to people than any other herbicide in widespread commercial use.
  • Picloram, a pyridine herbicide mainly used to control unwanted trees in pastures and edges of fields. It is another synthetic auxin.
  • Triclopyr, triethylamine salt (3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinyloxyacetic acid) is a systemic herbicide that interferes with cell growth. Tryclopyr is fast dissipating with a half-life of about 1 day. Most commonly used to control aquatic plants in ponds or combined with 2,4-D to target woody plants such as blackberry.

History[edit | edit source]

Prior to the widespread use of chemical herbicides, cultural controls, such as altering soil pH, salinity, or fertility levels, were used to control weeds. Mechanical control (including tillage) was also (and still is) used to control weeds.

The first widely used herbicide was 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, often abbreviated 2,4-D. It was developed by a British team during World War II and first saw widespread production and use in the late 1940s. It is easy and inexpensive to manufacture, and kills many broadleaf plants while leaving grasses largely unaffected (although high doses of 2,4-D at crucial growth periods can harm grass crops such as maize or cereals). 2,4-D's low cost has led to continued usage today and it remains one of the most commonly used herbicides in the world. Like other acid herbicides, current formulations utilize either an amine salt (usually trimethyl amine) or one of many esters of the base compound. These are easier to handle than the acid.

2,4-D exhibits relatively poor selectivity, meaning that it causes stress to non-target plants. It is also less effective against some broadleaf weeds, including many vinous plants, and sedges. A herbicide is termed selective if it affects only certain types of plants, and nonselective if it inhibits most any type of plant. Other herbicides have been more recently developed to achieve desired selectivities.

The 1970s saw the introduction of Atrazine, which has the dubious distinction of being the herbicide of greatest concern for groundwater contamination. Atrazine does not break down readily (within a few weeks) after being applied. Instead it is carried deep into the soil by rainfall causing the aforementioned contamination. Atrazine is said to have high carryover, a very undesirable property for herbicides.

Glyphosate, frequently sold under the brand name Roundup, was introduced in the late 1980s for non-selective weed control. It is now a major herbicide in selective weed control in growing crop plants due to the development of crop plants that are resistant to it. The pairing of the herbicide with the resistant seed contributed to the consolidation of the seed and chemistry industry in the late 1990s.

Many modern chemical herbicides for agriculture are specifically formulated to decompose within a short period after application. This is desirable as it allows crops which may be affected by the herbicide to be grown on the land in future seasons. However, herbicides with low residual activity (i.e. decompose quickly) often do not provide season-long weed control.

Health effects[edit | edit source]

Herbicides have been alleged to cause a variety of health effects ranging from skin rashes to death. The pathway of attack can arise from improper applicatrion resulting in direct contact with field workers, inhalation of aerial sprays, food consumption and from contact with residual soil contamination. Herbicides can also be transported via surface runoff to contaminate distant surface waters and hence another pathway of ingestion through extraction of those surface waters for drinking. Some herbicides decompose rapidly in soils and other types have more persistent characteristics with longer environmental half-lives. Other alleged health effects can include chest pain, headaches, nausea and fatigue. Most herbicides (primarily the non-organic) must be extensively tested prior to labeling by the Environmental Protection Agency. However, because of the large number of herbicides in use, many are concerned about potential health effects. Some of the substances in use are alleged to be mutagenic, carcinogenic or teratogenic.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Spray Weeds With Vinegar?
  2. Weed Management in Landscapes
  3. Organic Weed Management in Vineyards
  4. Kolberg, Robert L., and Lori J. Wiles. 2002. Effect of steam application on cropland weeds. Weed Technology. Vol. 16, No. 1. p. 43–49
  5. Flame Weeding for Vegetable Crops
  6. [1]

Spring Cleanup


Spring cleanup is among the busiest times in the garden, involving both cleaning up anything that wasn't taken care of in the fall cleanup, as well as getting the garden ready for the new season.

Step one - checkup:

  • Lawn
    • Check for broadleaf weeds, unwelcome grasses, bare spots
  • Garden Beds
    • Check for early weeds, perennials in need of cutback, bare spots needing filling, low spots, etc.
  • Trees and Shrubs
    • Broken/dead limbs
  • Soil and drainage issues
    • gullies, puddles, etc.

Step two - cleanup:

  • Lawn
  • Garden Beds
  • Trees and Shrubs
  • Soil and drainage

Fall Cleanup


Fall cleanup is the process of "putting the garden to bed" for the winter.


  • Before leaves fall
    • Identify trees and shrubs with diseased foliage, treat or remove as necessary
    • Remove any weeds, with priority to those that will be in seed when leaf cleanup is done
    • Prepare compost area
    • Check lawn for weeds, treat and reseed if necessary
    • Dig tropical plants and prepare them for overwintering indoors
  • During leaf fall
    • Keep hardscapes clean for safety
    • Frequently pick up leaves from trees and shrubs with diseased foliage
    • Dig or mulch tender plants as necessary
  • After leaves fall
  • Cutting back
    • What to cut back
    • What not to cut back
      • Winter interest
      • Insulation
      • Bird habitat concerns
  • Fall pruning
    • What to prune
    • What not to prune
  • Heeling
    • In ground
    • In containers
  • Mulching
    • Deciding whether to insulate or expose
  • Composting
    • Shredding
    • Storing browns
  • Bulb planting
    • Separate chapter
  • Transplants and new plants

Weed Profiles

The Weed Profiles in Horticulture provide detailed information about the life cycle and control of plants that often occur as garden weeds. Many plants are listed both as garden weeds and garden plants, since many weedy plants also happen to have good qualities as garden plants (it's really just a matter of personal preference).

Weeding Tools

There are many tools available for weeding.

Pest Control Methods


This is a template of sorts...

Barriers[edit | edit source]

Barriers prevent the pest from reaching the plant. It is mostly installed by pest control professionals. Termite treatment barrier is the most common form of pest barrier according to www.suburbanpest.com.au.

Repellents[edit | edit source]

Repellents are chemicals (or plants containing those chemicals) that make the pest avoid the plant.

Physical removal[edit | edit source]

Physical removal means removing the pests by hand, crushing them, blasting them with water, vacuuming them up, etc.

Trap crops[edit | edit source]

Trap crops are plants that the pest prefers over the plants you are trying to protect.

Poisons[edit | edit source]

Poisons are chemicals that kill the pest. Most poisons are specific.

Microbials[edit | edit source]

Predators[edit | edit source]

Pest Profiles


Pesticides are substances that are poisonous to garden pests.


This page is a stub entry in Horticulture.
Please see the Manual of Style for guidelines on how to expand it.

Plant Pests and Diseases


Pest and disease management is one of the more difficult parts of gardening. The important thing is to know the pests, and how to control them.


If you would like to see a topic addressed in Horticulture, please add your request below:

  • Lemon Grass

An Invitation to Contribute

Horticulture is meant to eventually become an exhaustive technical manual for professionals in the horticulture trade, as well as a guidebook for gardeners of every level of expertise. The scope of the book includes garden techniques, materials, soils, plants, weeds, diseases, pests, hotricultural chemicals, and beneficial insects.

Because of this large scope, this Wikimanual is not intended to be printed out as "one big book", since this would (after a few years of development) be far too thick a book to fit on any real-world bookshelf. Rather, it is meant to be printed out module-by-module, to cover topic areas for classrooms, or as "custom garden guides" for individual gardeners (only including those pages that pertain to a specific garden).

Because of the free licensing on Wikibooks, this means that any instructor can create textbooks for a specific class they are teaching, without any need to seek permissions or pay licensing fees. So, for example, an instructor could assemble a book for a two semester course on herbaceous ornamental plants that is specific to the lesson plan, and includes exhaustive discussion of how to grow and maintain any particular plant, from siting and fertilization to pest and disease control to commercial propagation methods.

Instructors can also use Wikibooks as a venue for class assignments: the edits of each student can be seen on their account logs, and they can of course be assigned particular tasks, such as writing entries for a set of plants, insects, diseases, and so on.

For amateur gardeners, this Wikimanual is a place for both learning and sharing "tips and tricks" they have learned from others or invented themselves. "Expert amateurs" often wish that "landscapers" knew how to do things better, and this Wikimanual is an excellent way to share (in fact, the free license allows anyone to print out copies and distribute them, and even tuck them under windshield wipers).

Ways to help[edit | edit source]

There are many ways in which to contribute, from indexing to copyediting to maintenance to creating new content. For cleanup and maintenance, a few templates and categories exist for this, such as {{Wmog-tw}} (for cleaning up transwikis that haven't yet been completely modified to fit the Wikimanual's Manual of Style).

Images are also needed for many pages, particularly those pages that describe a process such as Division, Pruning, and other garden techniques. These should be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons rather than to Wikibooks, because in the future much of this book might be translated into other languages.

There are also many stubs that need to be further developed.

Many pages are orphaned and need to be linked to from the table of contents or a listing linked to from the table of contents. See all the pages of the book in Category:Book:Horticulture.

New content is of course the most important need, since while there are already hundreds of "chapters", there are thousands of plants, pests, diseases, techniques, and so on. In general, the best way to start new chapters is by transwikiing content from Wikipedia using the Import tool, which copies all revisions and thus honors our copyrights. Only administrators can use the Import tool. To request an import from administrators, list the Wikipedia article name at WB:RFI.


Active Contributors[edit | edit source]

(The users listed below have made contributions to this wikibook, and have listed themselves as authors.)

  1. --SB_Johnny | PA!

Contributors by number of contributions[edit | edit source]

(This data was compiled on the Toolserver, and calculates by edit count, rather than edit size. Many of the users below contributed to the Wikipedia articles upon which many of chapters in this book are based.)

Regular Users[edit | edit source]

(These are the top 30 contributors by edit count who were using regular accounts to add or modify content either on Wikibooks or Wikipedia)

  1. User:SBJohnny / User:SB Johnny
  2. w:User:MPF
  3. w:User:JoJan
  4. w:User:Richard Barlow
  5. w:User:Pollinator
  6. w:User:DanielCD
  7. User:Herbythyme
  8. w:User:Stan Shebs
  9. w:User:Stemonitis
  10. w:User:Marshman
  11. w:User:Imc
  12. w:User:Circeus
  13. w:User:UtherSRG
  14. w:User:Seglea
  15. w:User:Marktee1
  16. w:User:WormRunner
  17. w:User:TeunSpaans
  18. w:User:Ricardo Carneiro Pires
  19. w:User:Jaknouse
  20. w:User:Pekinensis
  21. w:User:CanisRufus
  22. w:User:Sengkang
  23. w:User:Badagnani
  24. w:User:Heathhunnicutt
  25. w:User:Shadbush
  26. w:User:Jhml
  27. w:User:TheAlphaWolf
  28. w:User:PierreAbbat
  29. w:User:Williamb
  30. w:User:Filll

Robotic Editors[edit | edit source]

(Several editors have contributed to this book in various ways using "bots", or automated editors, which came up while compiling the top 30 lists. The edits of most Wikipedian bots will probably not be reflected in the current content of this book.)

  1. User:Lcarsbot
  2. w:User:Gdrbot
  3. w:User:YurikBot
  4. w:User:AntiVandalBot
  5. w:User:SmackBot
  6. w:User:Thijs!bot
  7. w:User:Robbot
  8. w:User:Tawkerbot2
  9. User:Herbys bot

Manual of Style

This is the style manual for Horticulture.

Structure[edit | edit source]

For ease of linking, this book uses a flat structure. All chapters should thus be of the form [[Horticulture/CHAPTER]], not [[Horticulture/Chapter/PAGE]].

By using the flat structure, links from chapter to chapter can be easily made using the form [[../CHAPTER/]].

Categories[edit | edit source]

There are several subcategories of this book, arranged hierarchically. The Main Category should include only the subcategories, the main page and new pages that don't seem to fit into any of the current categories, or that have not yet had appropriate page templates added to them. Any new subcategories should be placed in Category:Book:Horticulture, only the main page should be in the main category. For ease of use categories should sort subpages alphabetically using |{{SUBPAGENAME}} to give for example [[{{BOOKCATEGORY}}/Pests|{{SUBPAGENAME}}]].

The current list of categories is as follows. Further indented categories are subcategories of the main ones:

Images[edit | edit source]

Images should be uploaded to commons, rather than to wikibooks, since this book cross-links with wikipedia, wikiversity, and other projects.

Since this book is intended to be printable, avoid thumbnails except in galleries. For best print quality, make images at least 300px.

Plant profiles[edit | edit source]

Plant profiles should:

  • Be placed in as many subcategories as are needed, so long as they are not redundant (e.g., "Fruit trees" and "Weed trees", but not also "Horticulture")
  • Use the appropriate templates (if you don't know how to use them, just drop them on there in the proper place so another editor can fill them out).
  • Use Wikipedia transwikis as a base when there is good information there.
  • Use scientific names only: Common names have caused considerable confusion and tension on Wikipedia. Common names can be pointed to in the index, so do not make redirects from common names.

Templates[edit | edit source]

The plant pages use templates to provide structure and consistency. Most of the plant profiles are based on transwikis from Wikipedia using the Import tool. After an article is transwikied and moved to Horticulture, adding {{subst:plantprof}} to the top of the page (generally just before the "taxobox") and remove any categories or interwiki links at the bottom of the page.

Additional templates are used to identify specific types of plants and other things grown. See Horticulture/Using Templates for more information.

Pest and disease lists[edit | edit source]

The Pest and disease lists are compiled from various source materials, including sources on the plants themselves, as well as sources on the pests and diseases themselves. These lists can be kept up-to-date using the What links here page (on the sidebar).

The early lists are from a donated website, "Johnny's Plant Profiles", which was hosted by User:SBJohnny from 2000 through 2005. These lists were compiled for the purpose of databasing to find alternate hosts (including both garden plants and weeds) as part of an organic IPM program, and that databasing approach has been used as part of building this book as well (using Special:Wantedpages to find the most linked pests and diseases.

The weakness of these lists is that they assume a very high level of knowledge about the individual pests and diseases, since it lists only the pest organisms, rather than the symptoms of any given pest or disease problem. For this reason, these should eventually be replaced by troubleshooting sections (see below).

Troubleshooting sections[edit | edit source]

Troubleshooting sections will be like keys for using symptoms to provide causes and treatments.

External links[edit | edit source]

External links on the module page should be avoided, unless used as references. External link sections from transwikis should for the most part be deleted. Linking to external sites on the talk page is usually acceptable if used in order to alert authors to more information that might be included or where questions can be asked (web forums, etc.).

Links to nurseries and local services should never be included under any circumstances.

Links to commercial websites about specific garden products should be included only on pages directly discussing that product.

NPOV[edit | edit source]

This book uses a Neutral Point of View, so several things need to be kept in mind.

  1. Since this text is intended to address a wide geographical audience (all gardens in regions prone to freezing), a geographically neutral language is required:
    1. Plants should not be discussed as "native", but rather "native to such and such regions"
    2. Likewise, "invasive" should be avoided as a stand-alone term, using "invasive in this/these region(s)" instead
    3. Hardiness should be described using zones, rather than using language like "hardy perennial" or "tender perennial"
    4. Weed species should be discussed as to their weediness in general or in specific regions.
  2. Aesthetic language is of course par for the course in a Garden book, but superlatives should be avoided.
    1. "This tomato has sweet, firm flesh, and is good for slicing" is fine, but "this is the world's best slicing tomato" is certainly over the top.
    2. Imperatives should be avoided at all costs (e.g., "this plant should never be destroyed, but always transplanted to other gardens".
  3. Aside from the upper-level chapters on organic gardening, permaculture, and so on, organic-specific pages should be avoided. Plant, pests and disease profiles should instead simply list both organic and non-organic approaches.

Focus limitations[edit | edit source]

Information about the plant other than garden-related issues is encouraged, but "how-to" information outside the scope of horticulture should be discussed in other books.

  • Discussion of the harvesting and storage of food and medicinal crops should be included, but specific recipes and preparations should be instead added to the Cookbook or to an herbal medicine book.
  • Discussion of material uses (lumber, etc.) should be limited to the properties of the material and examples for how it is used. Specific discussions of how to make specific use of a material should be given in another book (or another chapter, if the use is garden-related).
  • Links to websites about products made from plant materials are not permitted.

Using Templates

This book uses a number of templates both for providing a consistent layout for various sorts of pages, as well as providing categories for plant finding.

General uses[edit | edit source]

  • {{subst:plantprof}} - creates new pages for plants. When possible, new pages are based on transwikied Wikipedia articles in order to take advantage of free content that is already available.

More specific versions below should be used when applicable.

Special uses[edit | edit source]

Weed (control)[edit | edit source]

  • {{subst:weedprof}} - creates new pages profiling a weed that is never cultivated.
  • {{subst:weedcultprof}} - creates new pages profiling a weed that is occasionally cultivated.
  • {{subst:hcideprof}} - creates new pages profiling a herbicide.

Pest (control)[edit | edit source]

  • {{subst:pestprof}} - creates new pages profiling a pest.
  • {{subst:pcideprof}} - creates new pages profiling a pesticide.
  • {{subst:biocontprof}} - creates new pages profiling a biological pest control.

Disease[edit | edit source]

  • {{subst:phytopathprof}} - creates new pages profiling a plant disease.

Modifying Wikipedia Articles for Use in Horticulture

The best way to get a start on most chapters is to "transwiki" the Wikipedia article on the subject, and then modify it to suit the Manual of Style used in this book. Basing the modules of this book on Wikipedia articles has two important advantages:

  1. By basing the module on a Wikipedia article, the topic doesn't have to be developed "from scratch". Many Wikipedia articles have been well-edited and copyedited over time, have images to illustrate features of the topic. and so on.
  2. Because Wikipedia (like Wikibooks) is licensed under the GFDL, there are rarely problems with copyrights.

The main "problem" with Wikipedia articles is simple: they're encyclopedia articles, not book chapters, and so need to be modified, rearranged, and relinked to fit into this book. In order to facilitate this, a number of templates have been developed to fit various topics, which both help suggest a framework into which the sections (or even sentences) of the Wikipedia articles can be put into, as well as helping to create a consistent structure for all chapters, which in turn makes the book a lot more useful for the home reader or classroom environment.

Step One: Start the module[edit | edit source]

The best way to start a transwiki-based module is to first Import the Wikipedia article, and then apply the relevant template and develop the chapter. The only problem with this is that only an Administrator can use the import tool. To get the article imported, simply list it on WB:RFI, or for faster action make the request on our main IRC channel, #wikibooks (on freenode). There are almost always administrators listening on the channel, so just type !admin for attention.

Alternatively, contributors can simply copy-and-paste the Wikipedia article and work on it while awaiting Import. When doing this, please be sure to list both the wikipedia article and the chapter as an Import/Merge request here. Note that this is a bit more difficult for administrators (several steps are involved), but it accomplishes the purpose just as well. Very active contributors who wish to import large numbers of articles should consider simple becoming an administrator (the RFA process on wikibooks is far less stressful than it is on Wikipedia).

If there is no article on Wikipedia, or the article is a fairly useless stub, just start the chapter from scratch using the templates.

Step Two: Templatize[edit | edit source]

There are a number of templates available for creating page structures in A Wikimanual of Gardening. They must be used with "subst:" to work correctly, but the templates they include (primarily infoboxes) should not be substituted:

  • For modules about individual plants, type {{subst:plantprof}} at the top of the page (usually just above the taxobox), and save.
  • For modules about weed plants, type {{subst:weedprof}} at the top of the page (usually just above the taxobox), and save.
  • For modules about garden pests, type {{subst:pestprof}} at the top of the page (usually just above the taxobox), and save.
  • For modules about plant diseases, type {{subst:phytopathprof}} at the top of the page (usually just above the taxobox), and save.

Step Three: "Bookify"[edit | edit source]

"Bookify" is a word occasionally used to mean "change an encyclopedia article into part of a book". The templates for A Wikimanual of Gardening are used to facilitate this process by providing a consistent "narrative structure". Wikipedia articles need to be "dewikified" (wikilinks either removed or replaces with subpage-style links), and for this book they need to be snipped up and re-organized to fit into the fields provided by the templates.

Dewikifying the easy way[edit | edit source]

The easiest way to dewikify is to simply open both the module page and the edit page side-by side, and just copy from the module and paste over the wikified version on the edit page. There are a few things to look out for however:

  1. References need to be pasted around, i.e. they will not render as references from a copy of the text as it appears on the reading view.
  2. Italics and boldface are also lost in this process
  3. Images also need to be worked around, for the same reason the references need it. If an image appears as a redlink, see the section on this, below.
  4. Sometimes it's better to modify the wikilinks to the subpage protocols, rather than simply removing them. See this section for how to do that.

Moving from taxobox to WMOG infoboxes[edit | edit source]

  1. Move the image from the taxobox to the hortibox
  2. Add information about family
  3. After {{Hortibox|, {{Pestbox|, etc. (the first line of the template), add the common name of the plant, pest, pathogen, etc.
  4. Use the "| Genus =" field only when the page is about the genus (if the binomial field is used, don't also use the genus field)
  5. Fill in as many fields as you are able, leaving the other ones blank (don't delete fields, as they might be filled in later).

Reordering the text[edit | edit source]

After dewikifying, move the text into the fields provided by the template.

  • If there is a lot of information that's just not at all of interest for horticulture (like long discussions of the uses of chemicals found in a plant, "trivia" sections mentioning every song or movie that mentions a particular flower, etc.), just remove them, though keep in mind that some trivial information (particularly historical and folklore references) might be useful to the student of horticulture as mneumonic devices, as well as being educational about the uses of plants.
  • For chapters about plant genera, the long species lists often contained in Wikipedia articles are generally not useful, and serve little purpose outside of cluttering up a page. They can be pasted onto the talk page for further reference, but be sure to use the <pre> </pre> protocol in onder to prevent creating bad redlinks.

Adding material[edit | edit source]

After the adaptations are completed, there will almost certainly be gaps to be filled. The more information the better, remember that Wikibooks is not paper. If using external sources (books, journals, other websites, etc.) please be sure to add a link or citation under the "References" section.

Making Chapter Links[edit | edit source]

Unlike Wikipedia, Wikibooks uses subpages. Links to other chapters of this book can easily be made using [[../link/]]. Redlinks are fine.

Fixing Image Redlinks[edit | edit source]

If an image appears on the Wikipedia article, but does not appear on the Wikibooks page, this means that the image in in the Wikipedia Image namespace, rather than being on commons. If the image is important to the chapter, images can easily be moved to commons using different tools (see commons:Commons:Tools).

Categorizing[edit | edit source]

A Wikimanual of Gardening uses a deep category structure. General categories are automatically added when using the templates, but sometimes they need minor modification. There are also more specific categories that will eventually be employed using DynamicPageList (DPL) to provide lists for gardeners who are looking for plants for a particular purpose.