If you enjoy the care and maintenance of a garden at home, the researcher of the Food and Development Research Center (CIAD), Aldo Gutiérrez Saldaña, shares with you some science-based advice to clarify common doubts in this practice.
"Nature is wise" is a well-known saying, and the mechanisms that plants possess to grow and reproduce do not need human help; in fact, any ecosystem would probably be healthier without the intervention of people.
Should we water the plants during the day or at night?
To make the most of the water, it is recommended that watering be done when the temperature of the environment is cooler, during the afternoon and evening or in the early hours of the day, as this is when the plant is most active, allowing it to make better use of the resources. In addition, the aim is to prevent the direct rays of the sun from producing the evaporation of the liquid, and that this damages the leaves of the plants.
Does all organic waste, solid or liquid, benefit the plants?
There is a belief that any organic waste can serve as fertilizer for plants and that this will benefit their growth. However, we must consider that not all waste is suitable for direct use since it must first comply with its correct decomposition process.
Such is the case of vegetable remains, which if thrown into the ground directly in large quantities can emit compounds (acids and gases) harmful to our plants, so if you want to use them as fertilizer, the appropriate thing to do is to make compost and then nourish the soil with it.
With regard to meat leftovers, these should not be incorporated into the soil as a source of sustenance because they will attract harmful fauna such as insects or crawling animals.
How do you know how often to water a plant?
In general, plants that are naturally adapted to withstand high sun exposure require less frequent watering than those that are conditioned to live in the shade or inside the home.
One way to notice if they lack moisture is to check the top layer (2 or 3 centimeters) of the soil, as it should not be too dry. Also, you should pay attention to their leaves, because when they look decayed or lose color, they are signs that they may need to be hydrated.
For vegetation found outdoors, it is recommended that irrigation be repeated three to four times a week, while for flora found in spaces with moderate light, it is advisable to ensure that they maintain a constant humidity, as long as it does not become stagnant so that their roots can be oxygenated.
In the case of gardens with desert plants, the frequency of irrigation should be extended, since these are species that have adapted to survive in adverse climates and excess humidity is harmful to them.
What is the correct pruning technique?
When we are looking to give an aesthetic form to our trees and plants, the technique that helps us decide which are the arms that we should remove consists of choosing those that are directing their growth downwards, and making a cut near the trunk that gives rise to it, which will help their quick recovery.
The best time to prune is during the change of season, preferably in October or April, as this promotes the recovery of the plant. Another recommendation to shape its development is the use of "guides", which are very useful to keep our vegetation upright.
How should I fumigate them?
A common problem occurs when plants are attacked by pests that damage their leaves, or that can even lead them to death, so it is necessary to see the schedule of activity of these organisms to spray at that time fumigant and this will achieve that the effect of this substance has better results. Similarly, it is recommended that the manufacturer's instructions for use are always followed. Also, we can include some home treatment (soapy water with vinegar, coffee, garlic extract, etc.) or some plants that release repellents naturally (marigold, citronella, mint, rosemary, basil, aggregate, etc.).