One of the things many people do when they move to a more rural location is start a garden. While there is much to know about gardens, it is best to start small. Take the time to continue to research as you go, and expand your plot. Depending on your climate and topography, your garden can produce an abundance of produce. Many consider buying a greenhouse and setting up a hydroponic system as well. To enrich the soil, you may want to consider composting as well. Composting is easy to do and will make a big difference in your garden. Even if you don’t intend to live off-the-grid completely, you will enjoy many benefits from gardening.
Gardens and Orchards
Whether you are interested in fruits, vegetables, herbs or an orchard, you can make it work. You and your family will eat healthier, spend more time outdoors, and literally enjoy the fruits of your labor. You will continue to learn new things and skills through trial and error. Having a steady food supply helps in self-sustainability and also provides a sense of comfort for those interested in prepping.
Flowers and other plants are beautiful too. Along with food production, beautiful scenery is an important part of rural living as well.
In our situation, living in the desert in the southwestern United States, we situated ours so it won’t be in full summer sun.
You will also want to consider taller plants that may block sun from shorter/smaller ones.
Also consider how far away the water source will be. Will you have the ability to run a hose to a farther area on your property? Will you want to walk far with a watering can each time you water the garden?
In our situation, we located ours within 20 feet of our water cistern. We have a 2,600 gallon rainwater harvesting tank. Locating the raised garden bed near the water makes it convenient for us to use it.
In time, we will add a drip irrigation system to the garden bed, making it even more convenient.
How deep should a raised garden bed be?
At a minimum, your garden bed should be six inches deep.
Having 12″ of soil will be better to encourage healthy roots. Keep this in mind if you want to grow potatoes, carrots and other underground produce.
Before building, think about what you want to grow. Learn about those plants and the ideal depth for them.
The best height for a raised garden bed will depend on your access to good quality dirt and costs you may need to incur to fill the garden bed.
Tools for DIY raised garden bed
Think about what tools you have and what you might be able to borrow.
If you plan to build additional garden beds or work on other woodworking projects, you may want to buy your own saws. For the garden bed, he used a 12 inch sliding miter saw.
My husband looked on Craigslist for tools. He ended up buying several tools from one owner at an estate sale. Look online before you buy new tools. Also consider if you can go to someone’s garage to cut the wood, etc.
For this DIY raised garden bed, he used these tools:
Additional tools he used to build the garden bed were:
Wood screws and deck screws
Eye protection, ear protection
Staple gun to secure the liner
DIY raised garden bed plans
It’s important to know that with any DIY garden bed plans, you can make changes to fit your needs and the materials you have.
For example, my husband had leftover deck screws so he used them as well as the wood screws. He didn’t have nails but he could have used those instead of, or in addition to, the screws.
Remember, this is a flexible and forgiving project. It doesn’t have to be perfect!
How to build a raised garden bed cheaply
Look for materials you already have. You can build a raised garden bed from cinder blocks. You can build a raised garden bed with bricks.
My husband wanted to build a garden bed from wood with 2×6’s from another project.
In addition, he had a pile of reclaimed wood from our neighbor’s old porch he helped tear down.
If you can repurpose materials, that will make it inexpensive as well as eco-friendly.
As stated above, use whatever appropriate tools, nails, screws, and wood you already have to make a garden bed cheaply.
Using old wood to build a raised garden bed cheaply
If you are able to use pieces of wood from an old project, that’s great.
We had some leftover wood from other projects. In addition, my husband took some wood from our neighbor’s old porch they tore down.
He mostly used 2×6’s to build the garden bed.
Be sure to use untreated wood for the garden. If you do have painted or treated wood, be sure it’s facing out and not in contact with the soil.
If the pieces are treated on both sides, you can always sand it down with an orbital sander.
Determining the length and width of your garden bed
Put your 2×6 boards into two piles. Group them together by longest / tallest and shortest.
Garden bed length
Of the longer boards, take the shortest piece of wood and use it to determine the length of your raised garden bed.
Garden bed width
Of the shorter boards, do the same to determine the width.
Some additional things to consider when choosing the width:
Wide enough for two rows of planting
He wanted it at least 30″ in width to enable us to have two rows for planting.
Consider your back; bending and reaching
In addition, he didn’t want it to be too wide. He wanted us to be able to reach all the way inside the garden bed without having to bend over too far.
How high off the ground should the garden bed be?
He raised the garden bed 22″ from the ground.
Living the the southwestern part of the United States, we have lots of critters, including rattlesnakes, javelina, pack rats, etc. We wanted the height to deter as much wildlife as possible, though we are always careful.
In addition, he built a 2×6 ledge all the way around so it functions as a bench.
He thought we could sit on it, put tools on it, and sit on it in nature with a cup of tea.
It will also work well when we harvest fruits and vegetables. We will be able to set them on the ledge.
What kind of wood should be used for raised beds?
For the sides, he used 2×6’s.
The big posts are 4×6 posts which were reclaimed and repurposed from the neighbor’s porch. He used wood screws as well as wood glue to attach the posts to give them extra support.
What type of wood you use to build the garden bed depends on a few things:
What you already have
Availability in your area
Climate where you live
The 2×6 wood pieces he had were pine and douglas fir. Our climate is dry, and rotting isn’t as much of an issue as it is in other climates.
Had he been able to access cedar or redwood planks, he would have loved them but they aren’t economical or readily available where we live.
So consider where you are and what type of wood is inexpensive and accessible.
Remember, you can build a garden bed cheaply.
Ask around if anyone has leftover wood.
Oftentimes, your neighbors may appreciate help tearing down fencing, a barn, etc. These would be good types of wood to build a garden bed with.
If you live in a damp climate, you may consider using cinder blocks for a garden bed. Then it just becomes a matter of stacking the blocks.
Using a garden bed liner
He lined the inside with a garden bed liner from the hardware store. He stapled it in the floor and sides.
Using a liner will help keep the soil moist. We live in the desert and while we will be using a drip irrigation system from our rainwater cistern, our summers get really hot.
Advantages to using a liner in your garden bed
Keep to control pests
Consider what you have growing in your area. A liner may help deter moles, pack rats, gophers, and other critters in your area.
We have poor quality, desert soil. There will be no benefit to using the soil beneath our raised bed.
Minimize weeds from growing
A garden liner acts as weed barrier cloth and will reduce the number of weeds that can grow.
Reduce soil loss
Helps retain moisture
What to put at the bottom of raised garden bed
It’s important to consider drainage; don’t just start filling the bottom with dirt.
Some considerations are where you live and what’s available easily and inexpensively.
You can line the bottom with rocks. This will help provide good drainage.
What do you fill a raised garden bed with?
Something practical and inexpensive my husband did was to use old branches from our property. He also cut down some dead branches from our mesquite and palo verde trees.
By using branches and pieces of decaying wood from your yard and/or from a wood pile, you can enrich the soil as well as be eco-friendly.
He filled the bottom half of the garden bed with branches.& He remembered his grandparents doing this. As the wood decays, it releases nitrogen in the soil.
In addition, it takes up space so you don’t have to spend money on additional topsoil. It also aids with drainage.
After adding the branches, he filled it 3/4 of the way with clean fill dirt.
Next, he filled the remaining 1/4 of the garden bed with good quality garden topsoil made specifically for gardening but without additional fertilizers.
Are you starting from seed or with garden-ready starts
How much will you have to water
Do you want flowers or fruits and vegetables
Also consider if children will be helping you plant and garden. Getting some sunflower seeds and other easy-to-grow seeds and plants will make it more fun for them. (It’s also nice for the adults to have some gardening success!)
Be sure to check out your local library to see if they have a seed library.
We were able to get free seed packets from our library.
Building a raised garden bed
Putting the garden bed in the right spot
We mentioned this above but the garden bed location is essential.
Consider where the sun is.
Also, consider what might block the sun.
We purposely planned for the garden bed to be under the canopy of a mesquite tree. In the non-summer months, it will get direct sunlight.
This is ideal for our climate because the branches will keep it shaded in the summer months and will allow sun to stream through in the winter months.
Also, locating it in this spot, his thought was that while working in the garden, it will keep the direct sun off of us. It will be more enjoyable to work in it.
Advantages of a garden bed
Garden beds can be eco-friendly if you use reclaimed wood. Growing your own fruits and vegetables contribute to an environmentally friendly lifestyle.
In addition, if you are able to harvest rainwater, all the better.
Inexpensive DIY raised garden bed
Raised garden beds provide alternatives to in-ground gardening. They can vary in size.
You can make garden beds from materials you have such as wood, bricks, or cinder blocks. This means you can build a raised garden bed cheaply.
Know that you will derive a lot of benefits from building a simple raised bed garden.
Not only are they functional and utilitarian, they can be decorative too. They can add beauty to your yard.
In addition, they are highly beneficial in areas in which the ground soil is naturally poor. A garden bed gives you options to bring in your own high quality soil. You can further enrich the soil with compost.
Raised garden beds also enable you to control the environment for the particular plants you are growing.
Reduce Irrigation Water Usage – An irrigation system has the potential to bleed water if not carefully managed.
Why is this a problem?
Water is becoming more and more expensive as many areas become increasingly aware of its scarcity.
This is one of the best incentives for any property manager to optimize their irrigation system for lower water usage.
In addition, the environmental benefits of conscientious water usage are being more closely studied.
As a conscientious property manager, you want to put yourself ahead of the curve when it comes to environment-friendly water usage and money-saving irrigation tactics.
Reduce Irrigation Water Usage
Here are a few of the ways that a facility manager can reduce water used for irrigation on their property.
The age of the old mechanical timers is gone.
Today, we have smart controllers that come with many advantages, the biggest of which is saving your irrigation system precious water.
This means not only that you’ll be doing the environment a favor but that your investment in a sprinkler controller will easily pay off in a year or two.
These controllers can be adjusted to run on different days, omit others, and water at times conducive to the different plants you have on your property.
Depending on the type of plants and soil that you have on your facility, you can change the parameters of your sprinkler controller to get the most out of the least amount of water possible.
Just remember that you have to do the leg work.
Sprinkler controllers are a huge asset but only if you do the proper research into your property’s plants, soil types, amount of sun exposure, elevation, and how all of this affects the amount of water you should be using and at what time of the day.
Many facilities that prefer turf or fancy non-native plants are using an excess of water for irrigation that they really don’t need to be.
Many of the plant choices on your facility could be water sponges because they aren’t local to your region’s soil and climate.
By choosing to replace these planted areas with native plants, you could save yourself on the irrigation bill without doing anything to your sprinklers.
Your own management is part of the deal when it comes to optimizing your property for water usage.
A sprinkler controller can only do you so much good if one of the heads is broken or not on the proper schedule.
Since you probably time the sprinklers to run after you go home, you may not know you’re losing water efficiency until your bill comes in.
This is why a savvy property manager will take a walk through the system once a week.
Turn it on and make sure everything is working properly and at the designated settings.
If you manage a facility, you want the plant life to look lively to reflect the management practices of your property.
If you see a dry, brown patch in the turf, your instinct will probably be to increase the time the sprinklers are on or the amount of water they put out.
This is needlessly wasteful since a dry patch is rarely a result of too little water but more likely due to an ineffective distribution of the sprinkler system itself.
If the sprinkler heads aren’t placed evenly, there will be gaps in the turf that aren’t getting irrigated.
Mapping out your planted area to make sure that the sprinkler system is distributed evenly will ensure that no dry patches crop up within the system.
You may initially think that higher water pressure will increase your sprinkler’s efficiency, but pressure needs to be optimized rather than maximized.
If the pressure is too high, the water drops become thinner and susceptible to being intercepted by the wind.
Depending on the wind in your area, this could mean a good amount of the water you’re paying for being flown off-site by gusts of wind.
Reduce the water pressure to a reasonable level.
This will make your water “heavier” and more likely to fall onto your property where it belongs.
You may not be getting the most efficient water usage out of your old-fashioned sprinkler or surface irrigation system.
Consider switching your facility over to a drip irrigation system, which has been designed to be even more efficient and water conservative.
A drip irrigation system distributes water slowly and directly into the soil with the goal of getting as much water to the roots of your plants while minimizing the amount of evaporation inherent in conventional sprinkler systems.
A network of tubes and valves works to give your property the most efficient water usage possible by attempting to eliminate the wind drift we talked about, evaporation from sun exposure, and excessive runoff.
Depending on the size of your property or facility, the irrigation system is probably a huge money sink for you.
When looking at your water bill, you may wonder if there’s anything you can do to optimize this system for efficient water usage.
The actions you can take come in two main categories: things you can do and things you can install.
In the first category, a conscientious manager will check their property every week to make sure the sprinklers are working, use the best practices for pressure regulation, and shift over to native plants with less extravagant water requirements.
In the second category, a sprinkler controller that does the work for you can be a huge benefit to a conventional irrigation system.
A new drip irrigation system could be even more effective at conserving water than your own efforts have been.
Regardless, the outcome of employing these practices will be more water conserved for your local environment and more money saved for you when it comes to your utility bill each month.
Thus, we’ve researched a few different practical methods on how to keep animals out of garden without fences.
While it may not be impossible to keep them out for good, you can definitely reduce the amount of damage they do.
How to Keep Animals Out of Garden Without Fences
Here are some of the ways you can keep animals out of garden without fences and keep your garden safe from animals:
Determine the Type of Critters
Depending on where you live, there will be different types of animals doing damage to your garden.
Identifying what type of critter can help you successfully manage what kind of methods are needed to prevent them from coming back.
Some common critters that tend to wander into gardens are deer, rabbits, and groundhogs.
Looking for tracks in the soil can help you identify what type of critter goes into your yard.
Deer: Deer tend to leave behind hoof marks and will leave nibble marks on shrubbery.
Rabbits: This animal tends to leave tiny footprints and snip away at small wooded plants.
Groundhog: If you notice burrows, damages to leaves on plants, or pellet droppings, then you may have a groundhog. They typically will make a home near your garden and are quite noticeable once you look for specific markings.
Bird: The last type of animal that you may find ruining your garden is birds. They tend to pick at any crop they can lay their hands on, even when it’s not done growing. Birds aren’t picky eaters, which is why it’s a bit more challenging to get rid of them.
Change the Types of Plants in Your Garden
One method that doesn’t suit everyone but is an alternative is to switch up the types of plants you’re growing.
Plants that are less enticing to animals are less likely to get eaten by them.
Although, when animals are desperate for food, they eat everything.
Plants with pungent smells, prickly textures, or fuzzy exteriors tend to bother animals.
Sprinkle Coffee Grounds Around Plants
If you’re looking for a more natural repellent, coffee grounds tend to ward off critters.
Sprinkle a small amount of coffee grounds around each plant, and it will keep away cats, bugs, and little critters.
The grounds won’t damage any of the plants and will compost over time.
Try Using Repellents
A modern solution is using plant repellents designed to keep animals away.
These are generally inexpensive and can keep specific types of critters from coming into your garden.
There are natural and artificial types of repellants, so you can switch it up if necessary.
Natural repellants include the following:
Hot pepper extract
Artificial repellants include:
Consider Trapping Techniques
Not everyone agrees with trapping techniques, but they can definitely be useful if other methods haven’t worked.
Not all traps are inhumane and can help deter animals from going near your garden.
It only takes being trapped once or twice before critters change their mind about wandering into your space.
Live traps include steel mesh and spring-loaded doors.
These traps trick wildlife into the materials and then trap them alive.
In some provinces, it can be illegal to use or relocate wildlife, so be sure to check state laws.
Hunting can also be a good alternative to keeping critters out of your garden.
However, we understand that not as many people prefer this method.
Plus, state laws may prohibit you from hunting certain types of animals.
So, we’d only suggest this to gardeners located in legal hunting areas.
Invest in a Guard Pet
Animals tend to be wary of other animals in the area.
Investing your money into a house pet can be an effective method at warding off any critters.
Small critters will easily be scared off by dogs or cats.
That said, you’ll need to avoid getting household pets if you’re facing predator critters like foxes or wolves.
Dogs generally work well for scaring off larger breeds of animals, but can sometimes cause a mess in your garden.
Training your pet to be a guard dog is recommended, or else, you’ll end up with dug up plants.
Cats, on the other hand, make less of a mess but tend to ward off smaller animals.
Their urine gives off a specific smell that can scare away voles, gophers, or rabbits.
The only downside is that they aren’t as effective as dogs and will less likely guard the area.
Use Wire Cloches
If you only have a select few plants that are being disturbed, then switching to wire cloches may be the solution.
These are small wired mesh covers that help protect against animals.
They are very effective at keeping smaller critters away from thriving crops, but they only cover a small area.
They work exceptionally well with rooted plants such as lettuce, broccoli, and small strawberry bushes.
The mesh design comes in numerous sizes, so you can easily find one that works well for your garden.
The only downside is that larger animals may be able to knock over or remove these meshes, as they are lightweight.
Place Alternative Food Sources
A significant reason for animals going after your garden is that they lack food in their natural environment.
When food sources get scarce, they will tend to eat anything they can get their hands on, including plants that they usually wouldn’t consider eating.
Identifying if they’re using your garden as a food source can help you take measures to prevent them from nibbling on crops.
Placing alternative food sources in other areas outside your garden may be able to deter them from eating them. Of course, you’ll have to research the animal’s favorite type of food; otherwise, they will still eat your crops.
Nuts and Seeds: For birds, we recommend placing bird feeders at the end of your property. Smaller critters will also climb up the trees and eat nuts and seeds from the bird feeder.
Food Pellets: For larger animals, we recommend placing herbivore plants or food pellets.
While this can be an excellent method for deterring critters from your garden, it can end up attracting more critters’ attention.
Making the food less readily available is your best option, as an abundance of a food source can cause more critters to rely on the food.
Counting how many critters wander onto your property can help you make a better estimation of how much food to place down.
Install Automatic Sprinklers
If you can’t get critters to stop wandering into your garden, then an excellent way to spook them is to use automatic sprinklers.
Many sprinkler systems are motion-triggered and can easily scare off skittish animals.
While this can be an effective method, wind, leaves, or any moving object can also trigger the sprinklers.
We highly recommend using the sprinkler system only if you have a few critters attacking your crops.
If you install motion-sensitive sprinklers while having a lot of critters, it may cause the plants to become overwatered.
Plus, this is only a practical method if you’re using it against smaller critters.
Larger animals may just ignore the sprinklers and use it as a water source.
If this method fails, you can always use the sprinkler system to water your garden.
Use Noise, Lights, or Motion Activated Traps
If all else fails, then it’s time to invest in unconventional methods.
Sharp noises or music can be an excellent alternative to scaring away critters.
While your neighbors may not appreciate it, you can turn up the volume on the radio or speakers.
Another suitable unconventional method is to invest in motion-activated lights.
Many animals tend to make their move either early in the morning or late at night.
If you can’t play noise or music at those times, then using lights can be useful.
What Garden Plants Need Lime works like magic on many plants by reducing the acidity of the soil, thereby increasing pH levels.
For those of you not familiar with the pH level, it describes how much acid or alkaline is in your soil.
If there’s too much acidity in the soil where you live, along with high levels of other toxic materials such as aluminum, garden plants will struggle to get the nutrients they require to thrive and survive.
With the pH, it’s possible to calculate how much lime is needed to reduce the acidity so your selection of plants will flourish.
Since not all plants require lime, we’ve put together this handy guide to give you an idea of what garden plants need lime and what doesn’t, as well as how to go about the liming process.
What Garden Plants Need Lime and What Doesn’t?
To ensure that you are not doing more harm to your plants than good, you must make sure they really require lime.
Plants That Need Lime
If you’ve decided to grow a vegetable patch, then the kind of plants that will benefit from lime include legumes such as peas and broad beans.
Other popular homegrown vegetables that benefit from lime include onions, garlic, parsnips, asparagus, and English spinach.
Fruit trees, including apple trees, are also far less likely to yield abundant fruits and reach their full potential if the soil is too acidic.
In terms of flowers, you might consider adding lime to decorative and ornamental style gardens populated with variants of gypsophila, delphiniums, and buddleia.
Shrubs that prefer acidic soils are American Holly, sweet bay magnolias, and mountain laurel.
Plants That Do Not Need Lime
You don’t want to discover the hard way that your crops and flower beds aren’t suitable for lime.
Unfortunately, there are several plants that will react badly to lime.
For instance, you should never add lime to sweet potatoes and regular potato crops.
Also, you should not consider adding lime if you are growing capsicums or tomatoes.
Many types of popular berries also prefer a more acidic soil environment to flourish, so they won’t react favorably if you add lime.
Among those, we’re singling out blueberry bushes, strawberries, and raspberries.
The same can also be said for grapes which again, thrive in more acidic conditions.
In terms of flowers that don’t react well to lime, there are plenty so you should most definitely err on the side of caution.
We’re talking about species such as magnolia, azalea, Japanese maples, daphne, and rhododendrons.
What if Your Plant Isn’t on the List?
There are many more than what we’ve mentioned and it’s impossible to provide an exhaustive list so do your research and ask at your local garden center, or you may do the following:
Soil pH Testing
We also always recommend that you first carry out a soil pH test to be confidently assured that lime is necessary.
Also, if you’re planting what are known as perennial plants, such as lawn grasses, shrubs, and trees, then we recommend you to check the level of acidity in your soil.
If it’s too high, then lime should be added.
In terms of the accepted levels to look out for, a pH level of 7.0 is considered neutral.
If your soil has a measurement above 7.0, it denotes it’s alkaline whereas under 7.0 is acid.
If you’re planning to make changes and adjustments to your garden, perhaps by designing a new area to integrate with existing established plants or adding a vegetable plot, always re-test your soil’s pH level.
That way, you will have a better chance of success when it comes to the healthy and abundant growth of any fruit and vegetable crops you plant.
Testing itself can be carried out at any time but if it’s carried out within three months of adding another organic matter such as fertilizer, it could skew your results and be misleading.
Identify the Plant’s Natural Habitat
Another way of determining the soil preference of the plants you’re planning to grow is to reference their natural habitat.
Plants from the Rocky Mountains for example and the high Sierras or other heavy granite-based terrains won’t tolerate lime at all.
On the other hand, plants from the western plains are far more lime-tolerant.
These days, a lime deficiency is considered to be one of the principal factors contributing to poor growth, particularly in easter gardens.
One of the challenges is that lime lovers divide flower families so again, please do your research if you want your garden to flourish.
The Lime Application Process
Now, if your plants require lime, here are the things that you should be familiar with:
To go about the lime application process, here are the things to keep in mind:
When to Apply
It’s standard procedure for best gardening practices to add lime during the winter months, especially for your annual crops.
Lime should be added just prior to digging the soil so that the lime can bed down and take effect over the harsh winter months and not cause any damage to young, winter vegetables.
Do note that lime can take years to have any effect, especially if it’s just applied to the surface around already established plants and shrubs in your garden, so you should be regularly tilling and sowing the soil.
It’s important to note that lime is not a fertilizer and shouldn’t be used as such.
Its principal purpose is to raise the pH level of your soil. That’s why it enables some plants to positively thrive and flourish whereas, for others, it makes them desperately unhappy!
We all want a garden full of happy plants at the end of the day, don’t we?
If you remove the acidity they crave from the soil surrounding them, they’ll struggle to survive.
They definitely won’t be delivering an abundance of beauty which is what you’re striving for.
It shouldn’t be necessary to add lime more frequently than every two years.
In today’s guide to what garden plants need lime, we thought it would additionally be beneficial to take a look at how to lime and specifically what materials are required.
It’s normally added in the form of a limestone product commonly referred to as “garden lime”.
This contains an ingredient known as calcium carbonate and is recommended because it’s easy to spread and widely available to purchase.
Other options include calcified seaweed and ground chalk.
Ground magnesium limestone, known as “dolomite lime”, which is incredibly rich in both magnesium carbonate and calcium carbonate can also be used.
It’s an excellent option if the soil where you live is lacking in magnesium and can provide a much-needed source of plant nutrition.
Hydrated lime, the kind that is typically sold for use by the building trade, is also acceptable to use.
This is a much finer powder. Its benefit is that it works quickly but on the flip side, it can irritate your eyes and cause damage to the skin if not handled correctly.
Method of Application
If you are applying more than 0.5kg per square meter (14 ¾ oz per square yard), we suggest that you dig half of the lime into the soil and sprinkle the rest on the surface after digging.
If you’re applying much less than that amount, the best action is to dig the entire amount in.
It is, however, possible to sprinkle lime on the surface around your plants and flowerbeds if digging isn’t a practical consideration.
In terms of the recommended quantities to apply, that’s likely to be determined by the type of soil that you have.
Clay content in soil can resist changes in pH, referred to as buffering capacity.
That means more lime will be required to be effective.
We’ve made some recommendations below of the quantity of garden lime you’d require based on certain soil types and areas.
This is based on using a commonly available calcium carbonate product that you should be able to purchase in any local gardening center.
For the majority of most garden plants, the best all-round pH is considered to be pH6.5, which is what the below calculations should deliver.
Original pH of Soil
Kilograms per sqm
Ounces per sqyd
Original pH of Soil
Kilograms per sqm
Ounces per sqyd
Original pH of Soil
Kilograms per sqm
Ounces per sqyd
Cautions and Problems
Please be sure to take good care when handling builders’ lime in particular.
This type of hydrated lime can cause irritation to the skin and eyes so we recommend that you wear safety goggles and protective gloves when handling this substance.
That way, you can protect against any potential adverse reaction.
You may find that your plants suffer from a disease known as clubroot if your soil contains insufficient lime levels.
Other plant nutrient deficiencies can also be as a result of too much acid in your soil or even too alkaline conditions.
What Garden Plants Need Lime
Lime helps reduce the acidic levels in soil, allowing them to thrive better, but you must always check your soil’s pH level whenever you intend planting something new. That way, you can be sure that the environment is appropriate for the specific plants.
Just as the best results are obtained by lime-loving plants when special consideration is given to the soil conditions they’re in, the same is true for acid-loving plants.
It’s a good idea to keep all your acidic-loving plants together in one location so that it’s easier to administer lime without damaging any of your other plants and shrubs that prefer different conditions to thrive.
So wherever practical, try to keep them together in one bed or neighboring beds.
It might be helpful to consider the warranty; this ensures that you have something that is designed for longevity.
Plus, you can get familiar with the tool and use it often.
Then, you can choose to buy the same product again because it works and you know it is going to last.
Retractable Garden Hose Reel FAQs
1. How do you use a garden hose reel?
If you’ve just bought the reel, you need to put it together and install it wherever it is going to go.
Choosing a wall-mounted version means that it is going to be installed on the wall of your home or garage.
You can also find free-standing ones that can just sit in the corner and be moved as needed.
Make sure that the reel is located near the water supply.
The hose reel you bought should include the tools you need to install the hose onto the reel; this includes the clamp, washers, screws, a spring, and an Allen wrench.
Take your garden hose and feed it through the opening of the reel.
Make sure you have created a large enough loop so that you can attach the hose to the water source to prevent kinks.
Feed the kink-free spring into the hose end that you fed through the reel opening.
Now, you just attach the hose to the water source.
Keeping the loop large and free, start rolling the reel one full turn.
Now, take the hose clamp that came with the kit, place it on the hose that you’re reeling in, and pinch it.
Then, take the screw and insert it into the hose clamp hole and into the reel.
The tricky part is getting the washer and nut through to the other side; all you need to do now is roll the reel until the hose is all the way on it and set the locking mechanism so that it doesn’t unravel.
2. How do you roll a garden hose without a reel?
If you don’t currently have a hose reel, you can still roll the hose so that it doesn’t kink and is ready for use next time.
Hoses that are smaller can be wrapped around the arm.
Do this by holding one end of the hose in the right hand, keeping the hand up about shoulder level with the elbow bent.
With the left hand, wrap the hose down around the elbow and over the shoulder.
Hold that loop in place with the right hand.
Now, continue doing this until the hose is completely wrapped.
To keep it in place, you can zip-tie it, use a piece of string, or something else you have lying around the house.
You can also complete the same process using a ladder or any “frame” that you can wrap the hose around.
3. How does a retractable garden hose reel work?
If you are tired of unkinking the garden hose and recoiling it each time you want to use it, you can use a garden hose reel.
Once you have it mounted, hooked up, and the hose is reeled in, you are ready to begin.
Most reels feature a locking mechanism to prevent it from unraveling your hose before you need it.
Therefore, you should unlock the reel first; gently tug on the hose so that it starts unraveling from the base.
Then, turn on the water source to the appropriate flow rate.
Start walking away from the reel and to the location where you need water, making sure that the hose doesn’t snag in the grass or on debris.
Use the garden hose as you need it, and when you’re finished, walk back to the reel.
It is either going to have a crank, or you just turn the wheel part.
Turn slowly and make sure that the hose comes to you without snagging on anything.
Once the hose is back on the reel, lock it in place, and you are done.
4. Can expandable garden hoses be repaired?
Expandable garden hoses are an excellent addition to your home, but they can get damaged with time.
However, most water hose repair kits aren’t going to work to fix an expandable one because of its nature.
The inner tubing of the hose works like surgical tubes than normal hoses, so you need special items to fix it.
Your expandable hose has two parts: the covering and the tubing.
Since the tubing is soft and expandable, you need to be careful when cutting it.
If the repair has to be done in the connection area, you have to disassemble the end.
Unscrew the parts while holding the tubing to cut the cover.
The leak is going to be in the middle or at the end of the hose, and this determines how you repair it.
Repairing a Leak in the Middle
Once you find the leak, you’re going to need a pair of scissors or a knife and locking pliers.
Lock the pliers onto the hose, but not too tightly; make sure it is a few inches from the leak on either side.
The hose should be unexpanded at this point, so make sure that the pliers have a decent hold on the covering with the tubing inside.
Cut the hose close to the leak and pull back the covering to do an inspection of the tubing.
You’re looking for tiny holes or punctures, which are going to be quite small because the tubing is quite flexible.
To repair it, you’re going to need a ½-inch barbed coupling.
Make sure to lubricate the coupling with soapy water and cut a small piece of tube from the material removed.
This can slide over the inner tubing to protect it from the clamp.
Slide the piece over the tube and then slide the inner tubing over your barbed connector.
Now, slide the smaller piece over the connector.
Since the tubing is firmly over the coupling, you can pull the outer cover back over it, applying a wire clamp to secure the hose.
You are going to have to repeat these steps for the other side of the hose, next to the leak.
Repairing Leaks at the End of the Hose
Make sure you know where the leak is and have locking pliers, a sharp knife, and something to cut the metal crimped at the end of the hose.
Unscrew the hose fitting and collar, sliding it down the hose a bit.
Consider using some folded cardboard over the tubing below the leak, and then clamp the pliers onto the hose.
Cut the metal crimp from the hose fitting, and then cut the tubing a few inches from the leak.
Consider lubricating the hose fitting with some soapy water to help with installation.
Slide the tubing over the barbed end of the hose fitting.
If the hose has more hose pieces over the clamped part, put it on the tube before putting the tubing over the barbed fitting, and then slide over the extra bit.
Now, slide the cover over the tube and secure it with a wire clamp.
Our Recommendation on the Best Retractable Garden Hose Reels
While we liked all of the products we reviewed, we did find one that seemed to have few drawbacks and many perks.
The best retractable garden hose reels, for us, is the Power Retractable garden Hose Reel.
All in all, we were quite impressed with the overall design of this retractable hose reel and the fact that it has a built-in sprayer cover.