Part 2 - Field preparation, planting and first nutrition
If you followed the last part of this series (germination and transplanting), you probably already have more mature plants that will need to be planted outside. But what are our options at the moment? There are more, so it is best to start with where the plants should grow and where the plants can be planted.
If we omit all specific plants such as cacti, orchids and others, we will be left with annual plants (planted in spring and harvested in autumn), which are the most common to grow - so we will deal mainly with them.
For such plants, the most important factors are mainly the sun, good soil and nutrients. The prerequisite is such a sunny summer and some work - nothing is free.
As for the sun, there is always a good bit of observation - even all day, or the use of a compass to make it clear where the sun rises and where it sets. The more sun, the bigger the plants and of course the nicer and fuller flowers. Most plants receive the sun on the southern slopes, from where the sun is with them from east to west. That is, if nothing shields them.
If we have already found a place, it is good to observe what the soil is like for the plants. If we decide to plant in the soil, which is in place, without "improving" or aerating it with something, we should at least thoroughly loosen our place and as thoroughly and deeply as possible - what the plant has at the bottom, it will probably have at the top, ie mainly what in terms of size. More space for roots means a more developed root system that will be able to absorb more nutrients. Well-soaked soil without large pieces of soil in turn helps the roots to develop well. In any case, planting in the ground without any modifications has its limitations and pitfalls, but you will know this below.
If you have decided to drive your outdoor "FULLY", there are a huge number of ways to ensure that the plants are best fed from the start and fertilized only occasionally, which could save you a lot of work. But I will not lie to you - regular care of plants is the main building block of success and a good harvest.
As already mentioned, there are many possibilities and it only depends on the abilities of each of you. If you have a lot of free time, access to organic material and do not want to invest money in planting, you may find the following useful:
- Dig a hole or flower bed, preferably at least a meter deep.
- Place straw on the bottom. Its gradual degradation releases nitrogen, which is especially suitable for the growth phase of the plant - it will enrich the lower layers of the soil at a later stage.
- Above the straw, add a layer of soil (chernozem) mixed with compost, or also with locusts in a ratio of 3: 1.
- Put a light layer of nettles in the intermediate layer and cover the whole black soil again with supplements in a ratio of 5: 1 (so that you do not fertilize the plants right from the start).
Such a mix should start the plants in hell for growth right from the start (we will talk about flower supplements in the next parts). Indeed, such a mix can do a lot, and sometimes it's amazed how lush plants grow.
Another option is to nourish and aerate the substrate, which can be purchased commonly in horticulture. Always look for one that has a pH value in the range of 5.5 - 7, but preferably 5.8 - 6.5. Such a substrate itself is certainly already nourished by some component, perhaps even aerated, but it is never harmful to aerate it a bit, either with perlite or coconut fiber in the ratio: 1 part perlite or coconut to 2 parts soil. If we would like to enrich it with other nutrients, we can buy so-called vermicompost (earthworm droppings), guano (bat droppings), or use something from the previous mixture (compost, horse manure). If you are going to buy these supplements, be sure to look at the dosage first, sometimes the concentrations are really large, so I would not like to give you bad advice on the ratio of these supplements to mix.
If you do not have such opportunities, it will probably be best for you to go to a specialized gardening or growshop, which offers a much more sophisticated solution, which, however, costs something - but it works too, yes. And not only that, someone has the taste, time and general relationship to rummaging through the horse droppings, or driving chernozem somewhere from the neighbors or going from gardening to gardening to find what he needs.
When visiting a grow shop, you must first realize what you really need and what you expect from it. There are a number of substrates on offer that are suitable for this or that. These are the so-called light mixes and pre-fertilized substrates (top mixes, all mixes, special mixes and others). Most of them already contain perlite for aeration - although not as much as there could be. Don't be afraid to deliver it there any further - you will definitely find it in the offer. Another option is coconut - but it is not very suitable for outdoor cultivation, because it is inert (does not contain any nutrients) and also dries out quite well, but it can be used as another item in your special mix.
If you opt for the first mentioned - light mix, you opt for a slightly pre-fertilized substrate. It is good to start fertilizing with liquid, powder or solid fertilizers after the first week. These substrates are most suitable for those who decide to continue using fertilizers and have regular access to plants. Pre-fertilized substrates, on the other hand, provide the plants with nutrition for the first few weeks - the basis of their nutrition is either organic supplements such as the aforementioned Guano or vermicompost, or other components or mineral mixtures. Such a substrate must be fertilized carefully to avoid over-fertilization.
This gradually brings us to the location of your field, or flower pots and the planting of plants in it.
The happier of you have a garden at your disposal. It offers several options where and how to place the plants, so it only depends on the dispositions that the garden has. As mentioned above, the sun is paramount - the more, the better. It is also a good idea to avoid places where there are walls - they absorb air and increase the percentage of mold infestation. So if you can place the plants further away from the stone fence or wall, definitely do so.
If your goal is to plant plants in a hole or flowerbed, prepare for a really tall growth. If you have compost, the ideal place to plant them is to plant the plants somewhere in the areas below it - you will achieve permanent plant nutrition, because with every rain, organic nutrients from this compost will flow to the plants. However, it also has certain pitfalls, such as larvae of various natures and snails.
Really pay attention to snails, if you do not watch your plants enough, snails will be very happy to eat them. In this case, it is good to use one of the preservatives such as Vanish (blue granules - no detergent 🙂), eggshells (which, by the way, can provide plants with calcium), sawdust around the stem or buried cut beer cans - snails in it with a favorite bath, until they drown.
If you have decided to buy a substrate and plan your own nutrition, I have a small tip for you:
- Take a black plastic garbage bag (solid so that it does not rupture) with a capacity of at least 50 liters. Make a few drainage holes in the bottom with a knife and pour it through the substrate. Then place the bag filled in this way in the pre-dug hole and roll the edges of the bag. This ensures that you only feed your own plants and that the fertilizer stays in the substrate for much longer. Another huge advantage is that you will not feed any weeds with your fertilizers that would definitely get into your dug hole. The bent corners also represent an obstacle for snails, which, if well done, will not climb this plastic wall.
If you don't like betting in a plastic bag, you can also plant in plastic or textile pots.
The first mentioned are classics, which are available elsewhere, so the main thing in this case is its size. Certain plants need some space for roots, and the more space you give plants to form a root system, the larger and stronger plants you can expect. It could be said that for a plant that is outdoors throughout the summer, the minimum amount of soil is around 15 liters. However, a major disadvantage of plastic pots is their instability - if you have larger plants on which the wind leans, they are likely to fall out and break in the worst case.
Option number two is textile flower pots, which have not been a novelty on the market of gardening supplies for some time. Textile flower pots have the advantage that air flows through their fabric and reaches the roots. The roots thus grow much faster, which is evident in a plant that behaves similarly. Larger textile pots are also more stable than plastic ones, which reduces the risk of tipping over. As for the disadvantages, one is definitely worth mentioning, and that is drying - it is logical that the more air gets to the substrate, the faster it dries, so if you are considering growing in textile pots, be prepared for more frequent watering.
Growing in greenhouses is perhaps a chapter in itself, as it has many pros and cons. There is always more humidity in greenhouses than outside, so plants grow much faster. This advantage turns into a disadvantage with the advent of autumn, when the plants do not receive as much sun as moisture. This is the beginning of one big inconvenience and that is mold. If you plant plants in the greenhouse too soon, the plants will grow into it. A full greenhouse may look beautiful to the eye, but the results are never much. If you do not bend, pinch or work with the plants in any way, they will start to crawl on the glass of the greenhouse, where water condenses - which is again the beginning of the onset of mold. Large plants have large leaves that could prevent the supply of light to the flowers and thus will not be able to reach their full potential. Nevertheless, if you plant the plants at the right time - for annuals it is recommended in the middle at the earliest but rather at the end of June, you will maximize your efforts and the plants will develop very similarly to indoor cultivation, so they will have large, full flowers and an overall view. there will be delight in them for the eye. Of course, you must not forget the good soil, which I mentioned above, and also the fertilization, which we will gradually get to.
When it comes to greenhouses, you can also expect very high temperatures, which might not be pleasant for the plants, so if I can recommend, be sure to think about a circulating fan that would blow air into the greenhouse and cool the plants. Better air circulation also helps to strengthen the stems and helps prevent the formation of mold.
If you want to drive your cultivation activities to the consequences, I definitely recommend thinking about automatic drip irrigation (drip system). A regular supply of water helps the plant to develop without stress and can create beautiful flowers.
Another very popular variant of outdoor cultivation is growing on a balcony. Considering that you get to the plants more often, the plants will be roasted all day long and that you live on a higher floor, you have almost won. However, it is important not to forget how many plants can grow in height, so think carefully about when to plant the plants and how many will fit on your balcony without shading each other. If the plants are large and have many leaves, it is very possible that their flowers will not shine through, and you will have beautiful, large and healthy plants on which, however, you will not bloom much.
If none of the above places applies to you and you do not have a garden, greenhouse or balcony and you still want to grow your favorite plant, all you have to do is gather courage, spade and start growing Guerilla outdoor - ie growing in a public place.
Suitable for these places are fields, forests, forest nurseries or other places that are out of reach of people and game.
When it comes to fields, always choose places where water slopes - gorges, clearings between fields. This will ensure constant moisture. There is usually also relatively high quality and nourished soil in the fields, so don't be afraid to mix this soil with the one you may bring to the field. It is also popular to grow in a corn field, where corn grows to great heights and covers the plants. However, it is necessary to know whether the corn will be harvested for grain or left fallow to revitalize the soil. Corn grain is harvested very early, mostly in September.
When it comes to forests, pay close attention to the quality of the soil. It is usually too acidic for annual plants to survive or produce something in it. That's why always carry your own soil in the woods. In any case, there is always some space in the woods for you to hide the plants from someone who would also like to enjoy the fruits of your work. The environment in the woods directly encourages you to adapt it to yourself, it just takes time and some creative thinking.
The last option we will talk about today is much neglected tree growing. If you carry the spirit of a tree climber and some effort does not stop you, this place is ideal for you. Look for solid branches that are not angry under you and trees on which the sun shines all day. For irrigation, you will have to go either a painful journey through the crown of a tree, or you will have to buy so-called irrigation wicks, which will draw moisture from the canister, which you place above the level of the plants.
Forests, fields and trees pose a great threat, and that is wildlife. If you appear in your place, the animals register it. They don't show up there for a while, because they smell a person and they are scared. In any case, they know that something is going on there and they will definitely come to see the place. That's why I recommend protection in the form of body odor - sweaty T-shirt, socks, human urine, hair, or dog hair, all of which can keep the game from your field, at least for a while. If you don't have it deep in your pocket, there is another variant and that is a product called Hukinol. This product can be purchased for hunting supplies and is a concentrate of human sweat. The smell of Hukinol is really incredible and some of you can also move your stomach nicely. It is applied either by dripping on a piece of fabric or by injecting a syringe into the assembly foam. This is a guaranteed protection against game. However, this does not apply to hunters, they know this smell very well and I can observe the field. Not to mention that if there were game trails around the field that will cease to be used by the game for this reason, they will notice it as well.
No matter where you decide to plant the plants, keep the necessary distances between them. If the plant does not have space, it grows in height. Well-lit plants can bear fruit in all their parts, and if the spacing between the plants is sufficient and the leaves of the plants do not touch each other, the risk of mold is again reduced.
When you plant the plants outside, it is also good to think about whether you want to further shape or pinch the plants later. If you want to pinch plants, the sooner you do it, the better. If you prune the plants just before flowering, they will not be able to grow strong enough branches to bear large flowers, so prune as soon as possible and avoid it before flowering.
The last part of this article is nutrition. If I can advise, nourish the plants even if you have a pre-nourished substrate. You will supply the plants with the necessary additives for stable and fast growth. Choose your nutrition right at the beginning - it can be organic or mineral nutrition.
As for the resulting quality of plants, their taste and smell, I recommend using organic fertilizers. On the other hand, if you enjoy large plants that will bear huge fruit, focus more on mineral fertilizers.
Organic nutrition for growers who want to make them themselves, for example, means nettle extract. A simple matter that is guaranteed to help your plants.
When it comes to purchased fertilizers, always look for ones that have a higher percentage of nitrogen. Nitrogen is essential for growth and its sufficiency can very effectively affect growth.
It will certainly not hurt to mention some of the fertilizers that can be used. Among the organic ones, it is, for example, the BioBizz brand, which offers Bio Grow or Fish Mix products for growth. The latter can also be used as a spray and acts as a foliar fertilizer. Sprays are a very effective helper for chlorophyll formation. If you do not want to fertilize the plants often, or you are far from your plants, it is worth mentioning the Green House Feeding - Bio-Grow fertilizer, which is dosed by sprinkling it on the top layer of the substrate, watering it and releasing nutrients for the next 8 weeks. Get advice on other plant nutrition options in your favorite specialized garden center.
In any case, I wish you much success, lots of sun, little worries and beautiful plants for the beginning of this summer. Go outdoor FULLY and the plants will reward you. So counted again in the next part.