Lifestyle

Have you experienced the joy of growing your own food? Salads and herbs, and even tomatoes and chilies can be grown indoors! Some of us are lucky enough to have an outdoor garden, but indoor gardens are available for all of us – there are multiple ways to grow indoors!

Watching you own green grow is a rewarding experience, the wonder of growth and having herbs in reach when you need them, is priceless. When you grow your own greens you can harvest as much as you need at the time and let your plants continue their growth, this way there is no food waste, and no half used herbs going to bin. Sustainable way to be a part of the future gardening movement!

Indoor Gardening ideas

Growing outdoors, plants get what they need from soil, rain and sun, but indoors we need to provide the growing conditions. This can be done in many ways. Here are some examples.

Potted plants
Plants in pots by the window is a simple way to get started. To get the best results, place your pots on a sunny window, but notice that too much heat can affect the plant growth. If you are interested to read in more details about plant growth biology, here’s a link to Epic Gardening article.

Growth tents
If you do not happen to have good conditions for you plants by the window you can use growth tents. These are like tiny green houses, where there is a good climate and lighting for your plants. There are many different kinds of growth tents available. Many of them take a lot of space and are not the most convenient for smaller apartment but can for sure help you grow potted plants.

Hydroponics
Using soil to grow greens is the traditional way, but you might create quite a mess. Some greens are fast growing but do not last for long, with these kings of plants you need to be prepared for continuous watering and changing the soil.

Hydroponics is an advanced method for those who want to grow plants faster than in soil! And with less water and nutrients. It is a very effective way to grow plants. In hydroponics soil is replaced with nutrient solution and watering is made automatic. There are many possibilities from which to choose from when building your own hydroponics from scratch. For example using recycled materials like soda bottles or readymade kits. Many of these kits are for heavy users and they might take lot of space from small apartments. Important part in hydroponics is to learn to use right kind of nutrient, this might need a bit of chemistry studying for finding the right nutrient balance.

Epic Gardening has produced a DIY instruction for building a hydroponics bottle Garden, you can open their article from this link.

Grow lights
Whether you are growing plants in pots or in hydroponics you need a good growing light to get best results. There are many to choose from, but we think that energy saving, and long-lasting LED lights are the best choice. When looking into plant grow lights, many times you see these purple lights, this is because plants can use blue and red most effectively in the photosynthesis. There are also white lights but remember that even if the white light may seem bright for your eyes it might not always be as effective for growing you greens and vegetables. You can learn more about how light effects to plants from our article.

Plant Breeding – How new varieties are created?

What is genetic diversity?

 

Plants can reproduce either vegetatively (asexually) or from seed (sexually). When reproducing vegetatively, the plant makes clones of itself. When you plant cuttings taken from plants, that’s making clones!

Strawberry reproduces very efficiently from runners, that grow around the plant. Each runner has exactly the same genome as the parent plant. That’s why they usually flourish at their growing place if the parent plant grows well there. Strawberry, however, also produces seeds. The plants grown from seed are the result of pollination and fertilization, so each of them have a new genome. That is beneficial if the growing conditions change, because then it’s important that the offspring is genetically diverse. Probably at least some of the new plants have genetic characteristics that help them to adapt to the new conditions.

The basics of plant breeding

Different basil varieties: Basil Thai, Basil Lemon, Basil Spicy, Basil Dark, Basil Minette.

Genetic diversity enables people to breed new plant varieties. First people didn’t do that on purpose: when people started to cultivate wild plants, the plant species changed little by little when they got used to the new conditions. That’s called domestication, and it resulted in local varieties that were well adapted to the local conditions.

People started to purposely interbreed cultivated plants in the late 1600s and early 1700s. Scientific plant breeding started in the early 1900s, as a result of the laws of inheritance discovered by an Austrian monk Gregor Mendel in the 1800s. Mendel created the basis of modern genetics by interbreeding pea plants.

The purpose of plant breeding is to produce plant varieties, that are accustomed to certain conditions, produce high and good quality yield and are pest resistant. A variety is a plant created by plant breeding, resulting in desirable characteristics. A new variety can also accidentally be found in the wild. One plant species can have thousands of varieties. The plants of the new variety should be as similar as possible, so that their characteristics will meet the variety description. So called F1-hybrid seeds are always very uniform, because they are produced via hybridization.

Usually we think that people have created the cultivated plants by actively choosing the best wild plants. But we can also observe the relationship between people and cultivated plants from the plant’s point of view, as Michael Pollan describes in his book The Botany of Desire. A Plant’s-Eye View of the World.

Breeding plants for human consumption can be considered evolutionarily so, that the plants have developed characteristics that are beneficial to people, like good taste or high level of carbohydrates. People have taken these plants for cultivation and so the plant species has harnessed this creative primate to clear forests to make fields, move the plants to this suitable area, get rid of pests and weeds and even collect and store the plants’ seeds to be sown during the next season.

Usually wild plants use a lot of resources to repel pests, compete with other plants for resources, and reproduction. From a plant’s-eye view, a high-yielding cabbage patch or a wide field full of wheat is a strategically genius triumph of one plant species against competitors and pests. Those plants simply use people as workforce and offer edible plant parts as a reward.

Watch a video: Michael Pollan tells more precisely about evolution from the point of view of different species. 

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