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How to Make Your Garden Really Grow

(ARA) - Whether you're a novice gardener or someone who has been doing it for a long time, you know that in order to grow healthy looking plants with an abundance of blooms, you must provide them with the proper amount of sunlight, water and aerated nutrition-rich soil.

Most plants come with care instructions detailing the ideal amount of sunlight and soil type as well as the water and fertilizer needed to ensure healthy plants, heavy with blooms and new growth

If they don't get enough water, plants can dry out and shrivel up. Over watering can be just as deadly. So what's the key to finding and maintaining a happy medium? Susan Thayer, an expert in landscape irrigation from Dundee, Fla., says you can look to nature for the answer. "The next time you get a light rain, take a good look around your yard and notice how your plants have perked up."

She points out a lot of people think they can turn on their underground sprinklers for a half an hour or so and the plants will get what they need, but they often get too much of a good thing. High volume impact and rotary sprinklers are designed for watering turf grass, not plant material.

In using a garden hose, it is easy to either put on too much water or not enough on your plants. So what's the solution?

"If you really want to nurture your plants, micro spraying or drip irrigation is the way to go," says Thayer. Micro spay irrigation was designed to mimic rainfall. It delivers gentle drops of water where you need them. In combination with a timer, it can be set to "rain" on your garden for a preset amount of time at scheduled intervals creating a perfect environment for your plants to flourish and bloom.

Thayer became very familiar with the low-flow method of irrigation -- that directs a fine mist of water spray at a plant's root zone -- while working in her family's citrus groves and nursery. Realizing it would also be useful for ornamental nurseries, commercial landscapers and even home gardeners, the Thayers began manufacturing this method for other commercial growers in 1980 under the name Maxijet. In 1991, it became available to consumers under the Mister Landscaper name.

They offer two kits that make garden irrigation easy for the do-it-yourselfer. The Micro Sprinkler Starter Kit is for flower and vegetable gardens and areas where trees and shrubs grow. It comes with a 50 foot roll of 1/2 inch poly tubing and all the accessories needed to mist up to a 250 square feet of growing space. The Patio Watering kit includes all the hose and accessories you need to water up to eight potted plants.

Both systems are easy to install and require little maintenance. Thayer points out that once you set up the system and connect it to your water faucet or existing irrigation system, you can cover it with mulch or leave it exposed because it is made with UV inhibited resins that last years in cold northern climates and in hot southern states.

"We usually suggest running the micro sprinklers 20 to 30 minutes at a time; three minutes at a time for the patio kit. This will give your plants a more scheduled watering and help prevent over watering by turning the system on and forgetting to turn it off," says Thayer.

Most plant nurseries across the country use some form of drip irrigation. Thayer says it's only natural to provide plants with the same watering method they've become used to once you get them home.

You can find Mister Landscaper Micro Sprinkler and Patio Watering kits at Lowe's Home Improvement stores across the country, or order online. Just log on to www.misterlandscaper.com.

Courtesy of ARA Content

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