Skip to main content

How plants grow

Background

My first two posts were about minerals in the soil and how plants use them, and about microbes (and larger creatures) in the soil and how they help to make minerals available to plants.  This post is about understanding how plants grow so that we can help them by applying minerals and encouraging microbes at times and in ways that will be most effective and efficient for us and for the plants.



Stages of plant growth
This is a huge topic and far too much for me to get into in one blog post, and I’m no expert anyway.  The main concepts that you need to understand are:
  • ·         Seeds – what triggers them to start growing? What conditions will be the best start for a healthy plant?
  • ·         Roots – how do they transport nutrients to the plant?  What are exudates?
  • ·         Leaves – what is photosynthesis and what does the plant need to maximise production?
  • ·         Flowering and fruiting – what triggers flowering and fruiting?  How can it be optimised?

I have found the book “How does your garden grow?”, by Chris Beardshaw, very helpful as it covers everything you need to know about plants and soil with some great diagrams.  It does get into biological details in some sections, but mostly keeps things simple and easy to understand.  I’m sure there are other references out there, so please let me know if you have a favourite.  I have had a look for an online reference and I can’t find anything useful at the moment, again, if you know of anything, please let me know.

Monitoring plant growth
Plant sap refractometry is a measure of the sugar content of sap.  This is a very cheap way to measure the health of a plant.  If the brix content is greater than 12, then the plant is healthy.

Plant sap pH is also an indication of plant health, with 6.4 being the ideal pH.  Higher or lower than 6.4 indicates a mineral deficiency, and will cause the plant to be vulnerable to pest and disease pressure.  This can be measured using a sap pH meter.

Maximising plant yield
I have summarised the main methods for applying minerals and microbes in a table, download from google docs here.


Comments

  1. Interesting tip about measuring a plant's sap Ph. Have you tried it before? Did you use one of the standard Ph strips or some other method?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Tanya, we had a demo of how to measure the sap pH at the course, it does require a special pH meter that only needs a drop or two of sap (extracted using a garlic press). The meter was several hundred Aus dollars, so I thought I'd leave that to the pros! Makes me wonder now that you ask, I can't see why you couldn't use pH strips to give you a rough idea anyway.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at gmail.com

Popular posts from this blog

Chicken tractor guest post

Sign up for my weekly email updates here , you will find out more about chickens, soap and our farmlife, straight to your inbox, never miss a post!  New soap website and shop opening soon.... Tanya from Lovely Greens invited me to write a guest post on chicken tractors for her blog.  I can't believe how many page views I get for chicken tractors, they seem to be a real area of interest and I hope that the information on my blog has helped people.  I find that when I use something everyday, I forget the details that other people may not be aware of, so in this post for Tanya, I tried to just write everything I could think of that I haven't covered in previous posts.  I tried to explain everything we do and why, so that people in other locations and situations can figure out how best to use chicken tractors with their own chickens. The dogs like to hang out behind the chicken tractors and eat chicken poo.  Dogs are gross! If you want to read more about chicken tractor

Getting started with beekeeping: how to harvest honey

While honey is not the only product from a beehive, its the one that most beekeepers are interested in and it usually takes a year or so to let the bees build up numbers and store enough honey before there is enough to harvest.  There are a few different ways to extract honey from frames.  We have a manual turn 2-frame certifugal extractor.  A lot of people with only a few hives will just crush and strain the comb.  This post is about how we've been extracting honey so far (four times now), and there are links at the end to other bloggers who use different methods so you can compare. Choose your frames Effectively the honey is emergency food stores for the bees, so you have to be very careful not to take too much from the hive.  You need to be aware of what is flowering and going to flower next and the climate.  Particularly in areas with cold winters, where the bees cannot forage for some time.  We are lucky to have something flowering most of the year and can take honey

The new Eight Acres website is live!

Very soon this blogspot address will automatically redirect to the new Eight Acres site, but in the meantime, you can check it out here .  You will find all my soaps, ebooks and beeswax/honey products there, as well as the blog (needs a tidy up, but its all there!).  I will be gradually updating all my social media links and updating and sharing blog posts over the next few months.  I'm very excited to share this new website with you!