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Basic Plant Biology

Gardening Tips

Being a gardener, knowing the basics of the biology of a plant is a must in order to make most out of any situation. The basics of the plant can be used to work for the benefit of the grower; exploiting certain things about the biology of the plant can be employed to steer the direction towards a certain outcome. Additionally, knowing the basic biology of the plants can definitely help in keeping them alive and healthy which is really want we want for our plants. Don’t worry, though, we’ll give you a crash course on the matter so that you don’t have to scramble for some answers!

Seeds

Let’s start with the very thing that plants starts with seeds. Each small piece of seed contains the very blueprint of a plant making it very valuable. This means that even at this very early stage, feeding it with the right nutrients is crucial to the growth of the plant. When storing them, they need to be in a cool place and it should be away from any direct sunlight until they are ready to be germinated. Different seeds also have different coatings, some have thick coats to protect the seed. These seeds with thick coats are often dampened to make the coating open for the plant to grow easier. Similarly, some plants that are outdoor plants may need to be grown indoors first to optimize its growth potential. When beginning to grow, seeds have this small embryonic shoot called the cotyledon. Cotyledons are generally rounded in nature whereas true leaves of a plant will differ from each species. True leaves grow together with the growth of the stem while the cotyledons eventually fall out. The true leaves are then left to start with the photosynthesis process.

When growing seeds, 14-16 hours of sunlight per day will do them well. They need to be watched closely though as they are still very susceptible to pests, diseases, and rough handling. Big changes in temperature and humidity will also affect the seeds even though you can’t see it all together. Waiting for the first few true leaves is important because the seedlings are quite fragile especially if you want to move them around. If the weather in your area is quite hot, moving the seedlings in the shade once in a while will be beneficial to them as environmental factors like that will do more harm than good.

Roots

In general, there are two kinds of roots: taproots and fibrous roots. Taproots are usually the radicle (the embryonic root of the seedling) all grown up together with branching roots that support the main one. Fibrous roots are roots that have branching roots instead of having the main root. As you may know, roots are the ones responsible for the nutrition and water uptake of the plant. To do so, they grow deeper and deeper on any medium they are in. This means that a healthy root system is vital to the plant. Roots should be given extra care when transporting them. Additionally, similar to seeds, roots are also affected by pests, diseases, and rough handling, but roots are not as fragile as the seeds.

Stems

The stem connects the roots and the leaves and it has two important parts: the xylem and the phloem. The xylem is responsible for transporting the water and nutrients from the roots while the phloem is responsible for transporting the sugars that are created during the photosynthesis process. Since the stem normally grows upwards, it also helps the plant reach more light. Due to this, the direction of the growth of the plant can change as the stem can go towards the light.

Stems are naturally sturdy. They are sturdy enough to keep the leaves and roots in place. However, if it does so happen that the stems break, here’s what you can do: one, you can graft the stem in a way to fix it (if the stem did not completely break off) or two, you can make a clone out of it.

Leaves

As stated above, leaves are in-charge of the photosynthesis process. The chloroplasts absorb the red and blue wavelengths from a light source. The light absorbed, together with water and carbon dioxide, the leaves create food for the plant and air for us to breathe. The sugar gets transferred through the stem and the oxygen is released through the leaves. It’s obvious that the leaf is one of the most important parts of the plant and so if a plant has poor leaf structure, the plant will definitely wilt pretty fast. Because of this, repelling bad pests and diseases should be one of the top priorities!

Flowers/Fruits/Vegetables

Literally the fruits of your labors, these three are probably the reason why you have your garden in the first place. However, these things are really for the survival of the species of the plant and to ensure that the next generation happens. Flowers are there for pollination and fruits and vegetables attract insects and animals that can help with the pollination process. Seeds are created once pollination occurs and the whole cycle can begin again.

Removing dead flowers is a practice that is quite beneficial for both the plant and the grower. It tells the plant that it can create more flowers while having fewer flowers will make the plant use the energy it has to produce more flowers instead of seeds. This process is also applicable to newly transported plants like strawberries. In this way, the plants focus its energies on growing healthy roots and a healthy structure in general. Harvesting frequently also acts the same way as removing flowers and gives the same benefit.

Well, there you have it. Knowing these basic things about plants can definitely help in growing and finally harvesting your crops. From the seeds, roots, stems, leaves and flowers/fruits/vegetables, knowing about them will surely help you in taking care of them and creating a yield that is desirable!



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