Gardener’s Guide to the Raised Garden Bed

Gardener’s Guide to the Raised Garden Bed
The Gardener’s Guide to the Raised Garden Bed provides a wealth of information about growing vegetables in raised beds. The book includes chapters about building materials, siting, plant nutrients, soil amendments, irrigation, soils, composting and much more. Gardeners will find a monthly journal of garden activities to guide them along. Gardeners using row style gardens will find the information useful, as well
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You may also be interested in:
Gardeners Guide to Growing VegetablesOther Books in the Series
Gardeners Guide to Compost
Gardener’s Guide Garden Tools
Gardener’s Guide to Seed Catalogs
Gardeners’ Guide To Botany
Gardener’s Guide to the Solar Powered Garden

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Anatomy of the Root – Sample Chapter – Gardener’s Guide to Botany

Sample Chapter

Anatomy of the Root

Gardener’s Guide to Botany

Most plant roots are composed of five main areas. These parts of the roots are the root tip, epidermis, cortex, xylem and phloem.
The root cap is located at the very tip of the root. It is a thimble shaped structure that serves to protect the root tip, or apical meristem, which is composed of almost continuously growing cells.

Anatomy of the Root 

The epidermis is the skin of the root, composing its outmost surface. It is a single cell thick in most plants and it serves two functions, to protect the tissues within the root and to allow minerals and water to pass through. Microscopic root hairs grow outward from some of the cells of the epidermis, greatly expanding the surface area of the root and increasing the amount of minerals and roots that may be taken in.


Gardeners’ Guide To Botany

The next layer of the anatomy of a root is the cortex. The parenchyma cells and the endodermis make up the cortex. Parenchyma cells mostly serve as storage structures and these are where excess food produced in the plant’s leaves are stored for future use. The endodermis is the innermost layer of the cortex. A waxy substance called the Casparian strip surrounds each cell, forcing minerals to pass through the cells of the endodermis by a process called osmosis, and not around them. This limits the amount of minerals and water passing into the cortex.
The vascular cylinder is the innermost layer of the plant root. It is composed of two structures, the xylem and the phloem. Both layers are composed of tube shaped cells and both have similar functions, the transportation of materials from one area of the plant to another. The xylem is composed of dead, tubular cells called veins, whose purpose is to transport minerals and waters to the stem and then on to the leaves, sort of like a pipe system within the plant root. The cells of the phloem are living cells, also tubular in shape and referred to as sieve tubes. The phloem also acts like a pipeline system, moving food either manufactured in the leaves to for immediate use or stored in the cortex for future use.
The way the system functions is simple in concept. The root hairs take in water and minerals and pass it into the cortex. Pressure builds up, forcing them through the endodermis, into the phloem, and from there up into the stem and outward to the leaves.

Gardeners’ Guide To Botany

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Gardener’s Guide to Botany is a basic manual to botanical information. Written for gardeners by a gardener this manual teaches the gardener about plant seeds, flowers, roots and leaves. Buy Direct From Author
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Gardener’s Guide to Seed Catalogs

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Gardener’s Guide to Seed Catalogs

The Gardener’s Guide to Seed Catalogs contains an extensive list of seed and nursery catalogs. This valuable garden reference includes web sites and other contact information as well.
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Gardener’s Guide to Garden Tools

Gardener’s Guide to Garden Tools

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The Gardener’s Guide to Gardening Tools serves as a primer of hand and power tools, for the beginning or veteran gardener. Basic information about most home garden tools such as trowels, pruners and shovels are included as well as some information about garden tillers, weed eaters and blower/vacuums. Use the Gardener’s Guide to Gardening Tools as a primer on garden tools to help you decide which ones to include in your gardening arsenal.
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Sample Chapter – Gardener’s Guide to Compost – Garden Soil Types

Sample Chapter

Gardener’s Guide to Compost

Garden Soil Types

Garden Soil Types – A Quick Soil Primer
Soil is the top several inches of the earth’s crust. Soil is necessary for civilization to exist, as it supports the plant life that sustains forests, plains, agriculture and other habitats. Five basic factors influence the formation of soil, the bedrock, climate, local fauna and flora, topography and the passage of time. The gardener will find three layers of soils underlying their garden, the topsoil, and subsoil and parent material. The parent material is the minerals that originally formed the soil. The subsoil is the intermediate level between topsoil and the parent material and will have some qualities of both. The topsoil is the part that concerns most gardeners.
In the Dirt
On average a soil will contain about twenty-five percent air, forty-five percent mineral matter, twenty-five percent water and about five percent organic matter. These levels can vary according to soil type, location, rainfall and other factors. The average soil will include a number of organisms that live in it. These include earthworms, grubs, fungus, bacteria and plant roots.
Topsoil
Topsoil is the first layer of soil, and is the major concern of the gardener. Topsoil can range from a thin layer over the underlying subsoil, or several inches. Good garden topsoil can contain between two and ten percent organic matter. A good garden soil must have the following qualities:
Good aeration, to allow root penetration and allow oxygen to penetrate the soil
Porous enough to allow drainage, but not so porous as to allow soils to dry quickly
Moisture retentive
Soil Composition
Improving Topsoil
The major effort of the gardener should be to work constantly to improve the topsoil quality and fertility. Fertile, loose topsoil will produce healthy, fast growing plants. Healthy plants will suffer less insect damage, have fewer diseases and produce top quality vegetables with maximum nutrition. Poor management of topsoil can cause them to erode away quickly, exposing the less desirable subsoil.
The gardener will encounter six basic types of soils:
Loam
Clay
Silt
Chalk
Sand
Saline
Note, there are other soil types, but these are the most common.

Loam
Loam is the ideal type of soil for most types of agriculture. This soil will have about equal quantities of sand, silt and clay. It will also boast a high organic content. A good loam has all the qualities listed above, will warm quickly in the spring, be easy to cultivate and is ideal for the greatest number of plant types. The gardener constantly replenishes the organic, humus content of the soil. The gardener can use his fingers to test loam soil. The soil should be dark in color that is smooth to the feel and have a slightly gritty feel. A ball formed by pressing the soil together should crumble easily.
Clay
Clay particles are quite fine and create a tightly packed soil. Clay is high in nutrients and retains water well. It will take clay soils longer to warm in the spring and since these soils have good water retention, they tend to dry out slow. A clay soil will form a ball that does not crumble easily. Damp or wet clay soil is sticky to the touch. It is harder to cultivate, especially when wet as it has a tendency to stick to garden tools. Clay soils will grow good plants, as it is fertile. Improve using mulches, compost or green manure crops to add organic matter. Adding organic matter will also improve drainage.
Silt
Silty soils are silky to the touch and will leave a soil stain on the fingers. These soils heat up slowly in the spring. These soils are quite fertile and have excellent water retention. However, because of this trait, they compact easily and sometimes plants have a hard time extracting nutrients from the dense soil structure. Some plant roots will rot in these soils. If better drainage can be achieved, possibly by using raised beds, silt soils can make an excellent garden site. As with other soils, use compost, mulches and green manures to add organic content.
Sand
Made up of quartz, silica and other minerals, sandy soils feel gritty to the touch. Sandy soils allow water to drain away quickly and escape by evaporation. They tend to be low in fertility. It will not form a ball when rolled between the hands. Plants have difficulty using any nutrients in the soil, as they drain away quickly. These soils do warm up in the spring quickly and are easy to cultivate. Adding compost, using green manures and mulches can increase the quality of a sandy soil.
Peaty Soils
Peaty soils are dark and have a spongy, damp feel when compressed. Its high acidic content leads to slower decomposition of plant matter, leading to lower soil fertility. These soils also heat up quickly in the spring and have excellent water retention. Because they tend to stay wet, the gardener should supply some drainage like tiling it or use raised beds. Using lime or wood ashes can raise the ph level. Add compost or manure to increase soil fertility. These soils make excellent garden soils.
Quick Soil Type Test
Pour a trowel full of soil into a glass jar. Fill with water and shake well. Allow this to settle for several hours. In clay and silt soils, the water will remain cloudy. A layer of soil particles will form on the bottom of the jar. In peaty soils, several particles will float on the surface, some will sink to the bottom and the water will remain cloudy. In sandy soils, the water will be clear and a layer of sand will form at the bottom of the jar. A loam soil will leave the water mostly clear. The bottom should have several layers of soil particles on the bottom of the jar.
Soil PH
The ph scale indicates whether a soil is acid, neutral or alkaline. The ph range scale runs from 0 – 14, with soils below 7 classified as acidic and over 7 as alkaline. Most vegetable crops prefer a range between 5.5 and 7.0. The gardener can use a test kit from a garden supply store to test the ph. Use lime, or wood ashes to correct soil that is too acidic. Use aluminum sulfate to correct alkaline soils. Use care using these materials, as it is easy to overcorrect.

Gardeners Guide to Compost

Gardener’s Guide to Making Compost for the Garden
Compost is an invaluable ingredient for garden soil. It enriches the ground with minerals and other nutrients and can provide ideal mulch for growing plants. The Gardener’s Guide to Making Compost is a primer that both gardening beginners and veterans can use to help them make better compost. The book covers most popular types of compost systems, making compost with worm, mulching and green manures. It is an excellent primer on making and using compost.
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