in Plants2015, 4(3), 369-392; doi:10.3390/plants4030369 (registering DOI)
The study, characterization, observation, and quantification of plant root growth and root systems (Rhizometrics) has been and remains an important area of research in all disciplines of plant science. In the horticultural industry, a large portion of the crops grown annually are grown in pot culture. Root growth is a critical component in overall plant performance during production in containers, and therefore it is important to understand the factors that influence and/or possible enhance it. Quantifying root growth has varied over the last several decades with each method of quantification changing in its reliability of measurement and variation among the results. Methods such as root drawings, pin boards, rhizotrons, and minirhizotrons initiated the aptitude to measure roots with field crops, and have been expanded to container-grown plants. However, many of the published research methods are monotonous and time-consuming. More recently, computer programs have increased in use as technology advances and measuring characteristics of root growth becomes easier. These programs are instrumental in analyzing various root growth characteristics, from root diameter and length of individual roots to branching angle and topological depth of the root architecture. This review delves into the expanding technologies involved with expertly measuring root growth of plants in containers, and the advantages and disadvantages that remain.
How to encourage your children to grow vegetables in the garden
James Clark, gardener at the Eden Project, Cornwall, gives his advice on how to get children growing vegetables
James Clark is a gardener at the Eden Project in Cornwall and looks after the Global Gardens, an exhibit which highlights the diversity, inclusivity and importance of allotments in the UK as well as pushing the boundaries of what can be grown in Britain. Part of James’s job is to try to inspire people – young and old – to give vegetable growing a go.
Here are his top tips for encouraging your children to grow their own vegetables.
Our Quickcrop mini polytunnel kits have been designed to be attached, via a hinge, to a timber raised bed. They can also be secured straight into the ground using the included ground pegs. These mini tunnels act as a small greenhouse providing extra warmth and plant protection at a fraction of the price of a regular polytunnel or glasshouse. They are ideal for extending the vegetable growing season by getting started earlier in the spring before the cold weather has completely passed or by growing later in the year and overwintering.
Mini polytunnels are suitable for home gardens of all sizes and allotments, they are the perfect alternative to costly, permanent garden structures. Our mini tunnels come in easy to assemble kits, and the great thing about them is that they are light and portable. They can be moved around the garden to wherever they’re needed with ease and fasten to the ground or raised bed securely so they won’t be moved by the weather. They can be covered with polythene, insect mesh, or garden fleece depending on what it is needed for.
Mini Polytunnel For Soil Warming
If used with a polythene cover, the mini tunnel becomes invaluable as a soil warming tool. Simply fasten over a raised bed or area of ground and it will heat the soil before seedlings are put in. They also offer protection against frost, garden pests, pets and wildlife, and weather extremes.
Last week I started my new collections at Google+. Hopefully I will be able to complete these photo albums and publications step-by-step. Please have a look at them. You may be interested in following me on Google+. Enjoy !
COLLECTIONS OF WILLEM VAN COTTHEM
(1) My garden in Zaffelare (Belgium)
(2) Container gardening
Ever since I saw the Back to Eden Gardening film, I knew I had to use that method in my container garden some how. After watching a ton of videos on YouTube of people doing the Back to Eden Garden Method on a decently large-scale. I had to think out of the box find a spot and just do it. So I did. I already had a spot prepared for a watermelon plant but the watermelon had issues.
So in phase one I laid down newspaper then poured the compost on top.
There’s a lot to be said about growing a container garden at home. In Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden, Mary attempts to cure the frustration of her new, grey life on the moors by asking, ever so gently, “Might I have a bit of Earth?” Having a garden in your home is in no way a luxury reserved for those lucky enough to have their own yard, or an estate filled with a maze of hidden outdoor space, in Mary’s case.
Call it common sense or laziness, but my favorite things to grow at home are things I frequently leave the house to purchase. That means tons of herbs and hot peppers. Growing herbs in your apartment is doubly wonderful, because the quality and flavor that you’ll get from freshly cut herbs is unmatched, even compared to what you’d find at a farmers’ market.
A hot pepper plant purchased this week at your local nursery could be fruiting and bringing its spice to your kitchen as early as September. Growing live plants in your home contributes positively to your mood and attention span, and growing plants that you can eat saves you money at the grocery store.
So, how can you have your own bountiful and nearly effortless garden in your small space?
It is easy to feel disheartened and discouraged if your gardening space is the size of a postage stamp, but you shouldn’t. You can maximize the space you have in a number of ways by remembering that plants are happy to grow anywhere as long as they have a little bit of soil, some sunshine, and a drop of water. You can use your vertical space in many different ways, and the size of your garden, patio, or balcony will be almost irrelevant.
Green walls are striking, unusual features that, depending on your budget, can be as high-tech, low-tech, large, or small as you wish. The basic idea is to suspend a panel containing just enough growing media against a wall. Place your plants in it, and allow water to drip down through the media by automatic or manual means. The roots take up the moisture, and your plants should thrive. In some places, this idea has been taken to a most spectacular level with vast outside walls covered in a tapestry of growing plants. You can recreate a more low-key version against a wall of your own.