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Soil analysis



Soil examination should be done just after autumn works in the garden are done. Nevertheless, we should remember not to take the samples after liming, fertilizing, watering or during a drought.



We should start from taking soil samples and submitting them for laboratory analysis. Approximately 20 samples should be taken, then all the samples should be mixed, giving an averaged sample. Samples should be taken with a shovel. After digging a hole of a depth of 20 cm a piece of soil of a size of 1-2 cm should be cut off and placed in a foil bag of a volume of 0,5 litre. Samples should be mixed, placed in a clean foil bag, and submitted for laboratory analysis to a Chemical-Agricultural Station. The bag should be labelled. The label should contain the following information: sample number symbolizing the place where the sample was taken, address, analysis type we want to have performed, list of plants we want to grow. The results will give us information on the content of the basic ingredients and properties of the soil such as: content of nitrogen, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and pH.



Soil Fertilization



Supplying plants with nutrients can be divided into pre-sowing and poll-dressing fertilization. Pre-sowing fertilization is applied before sowing of seeds or planting of seedling, and the poll-dressing fertilization is applied when plants have already risen. Pre-fertilization does not always guarantee availability of nutrients – it applies especially to the plants which require a long growing season. Poll-dressing fertilization provides plants with nitrogen, potassium and calcium. You can find mono-component fertilizers, for example nitrate which contains only nitrogen; two-component fertilizers such as potassium sulphate which consists of nitrogen and potasium; fertlizers consisting of more than 2 ingredients such as Azofoska; liquid multi-component fertilizers such as Florovit. Every group of plants has different requirements for the type of fertilizer, the time when fertilizer should be used and methods of soil fertilization. Annual and biennial ornamental flowers require a lot of nitrogen, especially before flowering (nitrate, ammonium nitrate). Perennials, for example, should be fed with multi-component fertilizers, but we have to remember to stop supplying them with nitrogen by the end of June.



In order to improve the efficiency of fertilization, plants should be supplied with fertilizer after beds were weeded. In order to avoid nutrients loss, the fertilizer should be mixed with the soil.



Mechanical weed removal



Weeds compete with our plants for the resources that a plant typically needs: direct sunlight, soil nutrients, water, and (to a lesser extent) space for growth. Moreover, some weeds produce substances which may have a negative impact on the desired plants. This phenomenon is called allelopathy. In addition, some weeds may be hosts to fungal pathogens and other crop pests. Weeds can be divided into short-lived and long-lived plants. The first group includes, for example, annual nettle. Short-lived weeds are those which die after producing seeds. Best way to get rid of these plants is to remove them mechanically. Hoeing and removing of leaves should be done after the sunset because most of weeds germinate after they are exposed to light. Growing of shading plants such as cabbage or cucurbit, may also be a factor which may hinder the weed growth. It is also very important to destroy a weed in the early stage of its growth, before producing seeds. One of the most common long-living weeds is couch-grass which can propagate both through rhizomes and seeds. In hot weather the soil should be dug and exposed rhizomes should be left to dry out completely. Then, we remove the plants with a pitch fork and compost them. The other way to deal with couch grass is to fatigue the rhizomes by digging the soil and covering them with it. Then, we wait until the weeds regrow and we repeat the activity again. Another onerous weed is the common dandelion. The most effective way to get rid of this plant is cutting its roots with a sharp knife or hoe. Another way to deal with it is mulching which additionally protects the soil from water loss.



Sowing date



Do not sow seeds too early. Seeds sown into cold and soggy soil may be affected by fungal diseases or damped-off. The seedlings might grow to slow and be overtopped by the plants which were sown later.



Planting seedlings



Seedlings should be planted when is cloudy. If we do not have a choice and have to plant them when is sunny, then we should do it in the evening. Seedlings should be placed into the wet soil, so the plants have appropriate conditions to growth from the very beginning.






F1 denote a hybrid variety. These cultivars are the result of crossing of certain parent varieties.



Use of these cultivars ensures that the yield is uniform and high. Because F1 plant hybrids do not pass their traits to the next generation, the seeds produced by these varieties do not reproduce predictably.



Coated seeds



Seeds of many important crops are naturally very small, misshapen or have wide size ranges. Coating solve these problems. Coated seeds are bigger and their shape is more regular which makes sowing much easier. Coating reduces the necessity of thinning of plants at the further stage of their growth.



Encrusted seeds



In order to protect seeds from pathogens, their surface was covered with protective chemical substances. As a result of such a solution, young plants are efficiently protected from fungal infections. Moreover, plants need lesser amount of pesticides at the further stage of their growth. From both the economic and the ecological points of view, use of encrusted seeds is immensely profitable





  Soil humus are an organic connections that arise as a result of  soil organisms activity which decompose dead plant and animal remains. The content of humus in the soil determines its fertility. Humus gives the soil characteristic dark colour. Microorganisms form humus, but is also degraded. Then release the nutrients essential to plants. So it is very important to use organic fertilization, which ensures the maintenance of an adequate level of caries, and thus proper soil fertility.





  Described on the package mixture of species type (eg mix of summer flowers) or a mixture within a single species (eg Aster Chrysanthemum - a mixture of colours).


Work with hoe.


  Often using of hoe regulate water management in the soil. After rain it's good to work out flowerbeds with hoe. This creates a shallow and dry surface, which prevents the evaporation of water and more of it goes to the plant. Performing this procedure has another advantage - destroys weeds.



  Organic Seeds.


  Obtained from plantations that do not apply fertilizers and pesticides. Encrusted seeds that have been subjected to a chemical protection against diseases and pests. The process does not alter the shape of the seeds.



  The pH of the soil



  The pH of the soil characterize feature of soil acidification. The pH may be alkaline - then the value of it is > 7,4. A neutral pH is in the range of 6.8 - 7.4. Slightly acidic pH is in the range of 6.1 – 6.7 and the acid value is < 5,0. Suitable soil pH affect the absorption of nutrients by plants, for example, if the soil is too acidic then fertilization efficiency decreases as the elements supplied with fertilizers can not be fully utilized by plants (too high acidity prevents the roots of entering into chemical reactions). The bioavailability of nutrients is the best when the pH of the soil is slightly acidic and neutral (pH 5.6 - 7.2). Therefore, if the pH is too low we need to perform the procedure of liming, which improves the soil structure as the calcium merges soil particles and contributes to the structure of the crumb in the soil. This causes the development of soil microflora, which reduces the spread of pathogens. In addition, calcium is one of the basic components necessary for proper growth and development of plants, and also limits the collection and accumulation of heavy metals in soil. Liming should be started in the autumn - then there is no plant in the garden besides the enrichment of the soil is a long-term treatment. We conduct liming in accordance with the pH level as well as the agronomic category of the soil (light or medium). The fertilizer must be always thoroughly mixed with the soil then the treatment is more effective. Liming we perform every 3-4 years, during calm weather. We do not use it on wet soil (can lead to the destruction of its structure), or mix with other fertilizers.


  Hermetic package



  Package protecting seeds from external influences, mainly from moisture.


  Planning of the plot



  Planning of the plot we should start from outline a plan to an appropriate scale with appropriate elements, such as: trees or arbours. The next step is to plan units: vegetable garden, the ornamental and recreation part. Communication system in the garden like path or squares is also very important. The minimum path width is 0.5 m and the optimum of 1.0 - 1.2 m. Comfortable stairs in the garden should be at least 1 m in width and step height of about 15 cm. The best place to install the arbour is in the back of the garden – so we can sit back and admire our plants. Selection of plants is another important issue. We need to pay special attention to the size which will reach the adult specimens, habitat requirements (soil type), soil pH, requirements for light intensity. Great help in the selection of species will be done earlier analysis of the soil. Avoid planting together the plants with extremely different requirements. Keep in mind that plants should be planted in such proximity to each other to have the freedom to grow. The climate of our garden create additional elements such as benches and lamps.





  The best water for irrigation is rainwater that must be set aside for a while - then it is better absorbed by the plants. For collection of water we can use barrels. It's good to use a hose with spray for watering - the water should fall on the plants from high and wide arc, then heated in air. During the drought we should water the plants profusely so the water can reach the roots and ensure the growth. However, a small amount of water causes only refreshment of the plants. Note, that species with short-term growth have bigger water needs. Vegetables grown from seeds need the biggest amount of water during sprouting period.



  In the first phase of growth we should provide moisture in the deeper layers of the soil, to force the roots to seek water deeper, so that created a well-developed root system. In the second phase of growth, when the weight growing, water requirements are also high and the level of crops depends on supply with water. In the summer plants should be watered in the late afternoon or evening because in windy and sunny weather it can quickly comes to the loss of water through evaporation. In autumn and spring, it is better to water the plants in the morning and before noon.





 Organic soils are materials which ensure the plants growing in them the right air – water and plant health conditions within bounds of their roots. They are used as admixture to the soil or filler material, for example in pots.


 Organic subsoils improve the physical properties , eg, when the soil is too boggy or on the contrary - too permeable.


 The most widely used is peat – it has a fibrous, porous structure, and includes substances that contribute positively to the development of roots. Peat can be found as: raw peat - a peat without any additives – pH (2.8 – 4.5), de-acidified peat - that is, peat with the addition of lime and peat substrate - a high peat to which is added mineral fertilizers and lime to give it a proper pH. Such subsoil is suitable for growing plants. Another substrate is bark, if it is to improve the physical properties of the soil then must be composted. Raw bark is used for mulching plants. Mineral wool - is produced from dolomite or basalt. In trade there are blocks of mineral wool for sowing seeds and seedling production, there are also mats used for cultivation in a greenhouse. Other substrates include sawdust, wood fiber, lignite, perlite, expanded clay.



  Time of sowing


  Seeds sown too early to cold and wet soil often rot, and sprouting of these plants grow more slowly and are anticipated in the development of the subsequent crops.





  Planting should be done on a cloudy day. If we need to plant in the sunny weather, we should do this only in the evening. Before planting, water the patch in order to plant found herself in irrigated soil immediately. Do the same after planting.




Crumb structure of the soil


 The best soil structure for growing vegetables is crumbling structure. It allows for an adequate root development. To achieve this we must leave for the winter digged soil. Thanks to this moisture and frost will be able to penetrate into the soil and enrich it - - cold will break soil particles, so that the mineral nutrients will dissolve.



  Sowing technique


First, prepare the flower beds - loosen their surface and then align them with a rake. Patch should have a width of 1.2 - 1.4 m , so that it is accessible from both sides. Path, about 30 inches wide, we slightly tread not doing too deep furrows. It is important to observe the deadlines sowing, planting depth and distances between seeds. We should sow into moist soil because watering after sowing rinses seeds and dries the top layer of soil.


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