How does the current situation affect our gardening activities?


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Our weekly magazine presents various aspects of the cost of fertilizers for field crops. This is a question that concerns other sectors of agriculture and horticulture and therefore also horticulture.

From a technical point of view, the needs of commercial horticultural crops are quantitatively less important than those of row crops. Exports in kg dry matter per hectare are less important for outdoor crops. Some commercial horticultural crops are fast growing and require quick availability of mineral elements. It is in the spring, when the earth is still cold and biological activity has not yet entered its rhythm, that accessibility can be a brake.

While the cost of fertilizer is high, there is little that can be saved without compromising product quality. For crops with slower growth and those that will not be planted until after mid-May, we will continue to add content as they are regularly commented under this heading. Manure prepared from manure, compost or crushed catch crop remains the base.

Let’s not forget that the key factors contributing to the mineralization of organic matter in the soil are its structure and pH. Sources of sulfocalcar-magnesium supplements are more readily available than potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen. The contribution of these amendments ensures the biological activity of the soil and the correct mineralization of organic reserves. Their use is as relevant as ever.

Fertilizer calculation is a technical and environmental necessity, to which economic interest is added. Harvest residues left on the ground, during decomposition, return the mineral elements included in their composition. After crops like cabbage, we can see the effect of nitrogen on the next crop from 50 to 100 units. Vegetable cleaning waste contains about 3 kg of nitrogen per ton. And, of course, as with field crops, green manure also returns significant amounts to the soil. Mineral elements other than nitrogen are also released and with less risk of being lost to the air.

Market prices that have risen sharply for basic fertilizers (in particular, phosphorus, potash) can be smoothed over several years by applying them within one or two crop rotations, and not just for one year.

The soil

IThe composition of pressed clods and substrates for growing plants in general implies sources of peat substitutes. The search for alternatives has been on the agenda of specialist companies for decades and is bearing fruitful results. However, the transport of materials from neighboring countries is associated with transport costs.

Even with an increase in the price of the supplied materials, we do not plan to compromise on quality. A good seedling start is essential to the success of the crop.

The conditions for the emergence of weeds with spring germination are observed. By taking a small advantage, we increase the chances of an extra stale seedbed in the preseason.

Transport

We should have expected this and have been preparing for this for at least forty years, the cost of fuel is rising. This has a different effect on the cost of resources delivered to a vegetable farm and the cost of delivery to retail outlets. This item has already been discussed several times under this heading. The solution lies in the rationalization of transport. We have little control over our suppliers. We are talking about the reasoning about the transport that falls directly on us. This is true for both large companies and small divisions. We need to cut costs down to the share of payloads carried. Deliveries of several tens of kilograms of vegetables quickly become very expensive per unit.

Vegetable farms focused on direct selling or short circuit sales can also communicate the importance of streamlining their travel to their customers.

Vegetable farms producing for mass distribution are faced with the problem of increasing supplies to us from countries that can no longer supply warring parties. The immediate consequences are heartbreaking and unexpected. We don’t know how long they last. The end consumer doesn’t really realize it, but the sector has to suffer huge price fluctuations.

Short-circuit-oriented vegetable farms have to bear a significant increase in input costs, but their structure remains quite strong and stable. However, like all of us, we need a strong shell to continue our activities in an emotionally difficult climate.

Heating

In autumn, the heating of greenhouses intensified very strongly and, most importantly, very suddenly. The consequence of this is that growers in heated greenhouses can only find quick and short-term solutions. The impact on cost is huge. Contracts and commitments are extremely difficult to keep. Producers did not dare to plant at the usual time, which directly affected the supply. The resumption of these crops will generally occur at the same time as the risks it entails in terms of market stability.


Market volatility increases economic risks in outdoor and indoor horticulture.
Market volatility increases economic risks in outdoor and indoor horticulture.


In field

Despite all these difficulties, we must work to prepare for the next agricultural year.

Soils still breathe well, and holes in the ground allow some soil aeration to be restored. Let’s take advantage of this, we can prepare sections that will only be implemented in a few weeks in our work schedule. If the tillage conditions are good, there is no reason to wait. The ground temperature is around 10ºC, which is high compared to previous years; conditions are met for the emergence of weeds with spring germination. By taking a small advantage, we increase the chances of an extra stale seedbed in the preseason.

On the other hand, many sites are jammed with the importance of the 2021 rainfall and the forced work on sites in unsuitable conditions. Let’s remember how good soil structure is the first step in allowing crops to take root well and therefore withstand possible periods of rainlessness, as was the case between 2018 and 2020. And we don’t know what weather conditions will be in the next few months. .

We observed in some areas of vegetables under cold shelters (parsley here) in some places very high populations of aphids.
We observed in some areas of vegetables under cold shelters (parsley here) in some places very high populations of aphids.

Under vegetable greenhouses

We observed in some areas of vegetables under cold shelters (parsley, spinach, etc.) in some places very high populations of aphids. Before planning any intervention, let’s check the condition of the site as a whole, not just a few infested plants. In commercial garden greenhouses, we already have temperature conditions that allow beneficial activity (especially lacewings) as long as they are present. Let’s wait a few days before deciding to intervene with insecticides, there is a good chance that aphid populations will soon be naturally controlled. Inappropriate interference risks upsetting the natural balance and forcing us into several successive interventions with their consequences.

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