Gardening

General tips for growing vegetables

The fact that plants can develop in a certain climate does not mean that it is the right one. The horticulturist should not be satisfied with the plants fulfilling their biological cycle . but rather that this cycle is optimal since in this way you will obtain better yields.

Hence the importance of knowing the environmental conditions, climate, soil , etc., of our plot. We must also know the direction of the prevailing winds in the region as well as their speeds in order to protect our seedlings and plants by means of hedges and windbreaks. Vegetables generally require a warm-temperate climate, which is why soils exposed to the south or west are chosen, never to the north. If the house has already been built on our plot, we must know that the land is divided into different zones in terms of microclimate.

Rotation

Once the garden is divided into eras, we must try not to plant a vegetable two years in a row in the same era since it would bring us problems of tiredness of the land as well as phytopathological problems and sterility of the same. Ideally, rotate the different cultivation plots. We must alternate a vegetable that is not very demanding in nutritional elements with other more demanding ones.

In general, the plants belonging to the same family all have more or less the same root system and their nutritional needs are similar. The most demanding vegetables are bulb, tuber and root, followed by leaf, flower, fruit and seed.

Leafy vegetables are very demanding in nitrogen, hence they alternate with seed legumes that hardly need nitrogen inputs because they fix it with their roots from the atmosphere.

Some very thin crops such as thistle, onion, leeks and spinach, should not be re-sown in the same land until a couple of years have passed.

Being able to rotate crops according to all the demands of the plants is sometimes difficult, especially for the hobbyist, since a series of factors come into play that are beyond their reach. Attending only and exclusively to the subscriber’s needs, we can make the following alternative for four years. We divide the land into four plots, and within each plot the eras that we create suitable will be made according to the crops that we want to put.

  1. plot .: Tomatoes, cabbages, cauliflowers, etc. will be planted.
  2. plot. : Garlic, onions, leeks, beets, endive, lettuce, carrots, etc. will be planted.
  3. plot. : Broad beans, beans, peas.
  4. plot. : Potatoes, thistles, etc.

At the end of the first year, all crops change plots, so those from the 2nd to the first, those from the first to the second and those from the fourth to the third. As for the fertilizer and manure, we will say that the plot number “1” is given a strong manure. Very well made manure or peat will be applied to plot number “2” ; plot three will be fertilized with mineral fertilizers only and plot four with manure and mineral fertilizers. Another alternative system would be following the classification that we have made according to its use.

  1. Vegetables grown for their leaves and fruits (lettuce, tomato, aubergines, melons, etc.)
  2. Root vegetables (carrots, radishes …)
  3. Legumes (broad beans, beans, peas).
  4. Tubers (potatoes …)

Crop association

It consists of growing two or more vegetables at the same time and in the same plot as long as we take into account the following:

1. That they have the same demands in temperature, irrigation, etc.

2. That its roots are not in competition with each other, that is, one is deep-rooted and the other is shallow in order to make better use of the subscriber.

3. That they have different needs regarding nutritional elements.

In general, plants with a different cycle are usually associated, but the initial phase of one coincides with the final phase of the other, so that the place left by one can be occupied by the other, planting one before harvesting the other, thus achieving greater precocity. As an example we could put onions and lettuce.

Seedbeds

For the seedbed, we must allocate the warmest plot of the orchard, if possible with an orientation to the midday sun and attached to the wall of the house since in this way it is easier to build drawers or plastic tunnels for the protection of the young seedlings.

Land preparation

The preparation must be careful since the germination of the seeds will depend on it. The bottom of the drawer can be prepared for sowing or some trays or terrines that once sown are placed inside it.

In both cases, we must place a first layer of fine gravel or sand of about 2-3 cm. to serve as a drain; then a second layer of 7-8 cm is placed. of well-done mulch or manure that has previously been passed through a large mesh sieve to remove coarse elements and finally a 1-2 cm layer. of fine peat.

Then it is watered with a shower or hose to which a very fine drop shower has been adapted to prevent displacement of the substrate thus prepared.

Planting

Sowing can be done by broadcast, in line or in peat pots, yogurt pots or plastic pots that have previously been filled with a mixture of peat and mulch and sand in the ratio 2: 1: 1 placing 2 or 3 seeds per pot. .

If sowing is done by broadcast, the seed slides between the thumb and index finger at the same time as the hand is given a zigzag motion. The seeds must be buried with a layer of fine peat equal to twice their diameter, hence in many of them the sowing is superficial without the need to cover.

Irrigation of the seedbed

Once sown, they must be irrigated with a watering can or fine hole shower giving a slight movement to the hand so that no displacement of the seeds occurs. Irrigation must be frequent and with little amount of water, preventing the substrate from drying out for any reason, since the germination process would be interrupted, making the work carried out useless.

In case the young plants begin to rot at the neck, the waterings would be spaced at the same time as one or two treatments with 0.15% Euparen, 0.1% Benlate or 0.1% Bavistin. .

Aeration

The seedbeds must be ventilated so that the air in it is renewed daily, for which we will lift the glass or plastic protection of the drawers for a couple of hours.

Lighten

Once the seeds have germinated and they have two or three well-formed leaves, they are thinned, for which we eliminate the weakest.

If the sowing was done in peat pots, only plant per pot is left.

If it was done broadcast or in lines, a widely used practice is to peel the seedlings by placing them in plastic pots, yogurt boxes or peat pots, using a mixture similar to that used in the nursery. The plants that have been picked in this way can be placed back in the drawers until it is time for them to be planted in the final field.

At present, and with the appearance of the Garden Centers, there are trays or multipots on the market with plants already prepared with the most appropriate varieties for each season, of 8-10 cm. Height ready to be planted immediately, without the need to resort to sowing and caring for the young plants, especially for those amateurs who own several kilometers from the city and in winter it is cumbersome to travel to prepare and care for the seedbeds.

Transplant

This operation consists of uprooting the seedlings from the seedbed or taking the peat pots, yogurt makers, etc., and placing them on the final ground where they will complete their biological cycle. It should be done when the young plants have a well-developed root system and there is no danger of low temperatures. The ideal time to transplant is when the plants have 4-5 leaves.

We must try not to undo the root ball of soil that the roots have attached to it; For this, a copious irrigation must be given before carrying out the transplant, especially in those seedbeds that have to be uprooted. Before transplanting, the land that is going to receive the plants must be prepared with the irrigation furrows and in season. Once transplanted, they will be given abundant watering, trying to maintain constant humidity several days later, until the plants begin to emit new roots.

The transplant should be done in the late afternoon or during cloudy days so that the plants suffer as little as possible. If you have a black plastic mesh or reed, it is convenient to cover them the first days so that the solar rays do not reach the leaves directly and can cause burns or dehydration.

 You can see crop files by clicking here , and more tips, manuals and articles here

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