Thursday, 28 June 2012

Learning About Plants

Plants are like humans in a way, they need special care so they can grow and blossom just like us. Learning what plants need to survive gives you a greater chance at keeping your garden alive and getting the most out of your hard work.

Here we will explain the basics that will hopefully give you a greater understanding of how your garden grows.

Plants need water, food, light and air
For plants to grow, flower and fruit well they need to be well fed, have plenty to drink, enough sunlight and given lots of tender care. If a plant is not given food (fertiliser) it may die, especially if it is growing in a pot with only a small amount of potting mix around its roots.

When plants are put straight into the ground they have lots of soil from which they can get food and water from. They can send their roots out a long way to find what they need. It is sometimes necessary to give extra food and water , especially in summer when rain may not fall for many days. They may need extra food as soil loses its goodness through plants feeding on them and through rainfall which washes food deep into the ground and out of the garden.

Plants also need plenty of sunlight, for they use sunlight to make food from the fertiliser and water they take up through their roots. Some plants grow well in shade but many that are kept in the dark will not survive.

They need enough air around them to grow, plants that do not have much air circulating around them can start to develop disease such as mould. They have tiny holes in their leaves, which you cannot see, through which they breath air. The air we humans breath in (oxygen) is what plants breath out. The air that we humans breath out (carbon dioxide) is what plants breath in. Humans and plants help each other when it comes to the air we breath.

Like us plants need a wash every now and then, as their leaves and stems can become dusty and they cannot breath or make food properly. Rain and watering the garden helps to keep plants clean.

Most plants grow when the weather is warm and the soil around their roots is warm, this usually happens during the seasons of spring to autumn. In winter, when its cold, they have a rest and go dormant, waking up again when it starts to get warmer.

Parts of a plant
All plants have a root system which they use to hold them securely in the ground. They also use them to take up food and water so they can grow healthy.

They have a stem which hold them up above the ground, keeping their leaves clean and in the sun.

They grow leaves that help them breath and produce food for themselves.

Some grow flowers to attract bees and other insects which help them grow seeds, fruits and vegetables.

Listening to your plants 
What do we mean by listen to your plants? They certainly don’t talk, but they have their own ways of communicating their needs to us. Here are some basics

  • Drooping leaves may be saying "I'm thirsty"
  • Yellowing leaves could mean "I'm hungry" or "I'm sick"
  • If a plant is not flowering it could be trying to tell you "I need more sun"
  • If leaves are dry and brown it may be saying "I'm getting sunburn"

That concludes our short lesson on plants, we hope you gain a better understanding of how your garden grows and some knowledge of how to care for your plants. The garden is a wonderful place, it can be our small piece of nature, a place of refuge not only for us, but for insects, reptiles, birds, animals and other creatures.

To learn more about gardening and sustainable gardening click here

When we care for our plants we are caring for nature not only for its own sake, but for ourselves also. Our health will benefit in mind, body and spirit. Enjoy your garden this week!

Thank You For Reading

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