Garden and Greenhouse Calculations

Estimating Plants for Borders. When planning herbaceous borders an average of 4 plants per square yard may be adopted as a rough guide to requirements, though in actual practice the distance of planting will vary from the front to the back of the border, as the smaller marginal plants can be set much more closely than the larger kinds used in the background. As there is likely to be a greater proportion of small plants in a narrow border than in a wide one, it follows that the number of plants per square yard will be greater.

Estimating Turves for Lawns. Turves are sold at so much per hundred and are almost invariably cut in strips 1 foot wide and 3 feet long. One hundred of these will cover 331 square yards of ground. The best turves for bowling greens, etc., are sometimes cut in foot squares, as there is then less variation in thickness and it is consequently possible to lay them more evenly. Such turves have a covering capacity of approximately 11 square yards per hundred.

Calculating Cubic Capacity for a Greenhouse. This is a necessary calculation before fumigation can be carried out, as the quantity of fumigant to be employed is determined by the cubic capacity of the house. It is almost invariably estimated in cubic feet.

The method is to multiply the length of the house by the breadth and this by the height measured midway between the eaves and the ridge.

Marking out Right Angles. Stretch a line to mark one side of the angle (lawn edge, bed, or border). At the corner drive in a small peg and attach to it a piece of string 3 feet in length. From the peg measure along the base line 4 feet, drive in a second peg, and attach to it a piece of string 5 feet in length. Draw the two loose ends of string together and at the point at which they meet drive in a third peg. A line stretched between the first and third peg will make a right angle with the base.

Marking out Circles and Ovals: A circle is very simple to make. Drive in a peg at the centre, attach to it a piece of string half the diameter of the required circle and draw the end of this around the centre, scratching out a line meanwhile with a pointed stick or indicating it with a trickle of finely powdered lime.

An oval bed is a little more difficult. First peg down two lines bisecting each other at right angles to mark the extreme length and breadth of the bed. Then the two focal points are ascertained by attaching a string half the length of the oval to one of the pegs marking the extreme width and drawing the free end round so that it touches the longer line first on one side and then on the other of the shorter line. Strong pegs are driven in at each of these points. A piece of twine, twice the length of the distance from one of these pegs to the farthest extremity of the bed, is then knotted into a loop, thrown over the two focal pegs and drawn around them with a sharp-pointed stick which is used to scratch the outline of the oval on the soil.

Marking Irregular Outlines. Present-day tendency is to get away from formality by introducing irregular outlines into the garden. These cannot be drawn geometrically. Instead, mark them out roughly with small sticks and then outline them more definitely with finely powdered lime poured from a bottle or through a narrow-necked funnel. Then, if the curve does not please, it is only a matter of moments to brush the lime away and mark out a different line.

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