Plant Biophilia: Impulse to Thrive by Growing Abundant Food

I wholeheartedly confess…

I am a biophiliac, and yes that is a made-up word derived from biophilia.

The feeling of love for life is innate energy that motivates care.
Flower of Life
It is this impulse to thrive that bewilders my curiosity about life.

Seeds are especially fascinating to me, in how they contain within their casing all the codex to germinate, mature, and propagate. It is my job to give them the support they need to fulfill their best potential.

Gardening hands in the dirt
Get your hands into the soil of the Earth

It can be really exciting when you look through the seed catalog and see all those beautiful images of amazing edible plants. Here are some primary considerations before starting any seeds for your garden this year.

Grow practically

Think about what needs you are trying to meet with this garden. What are your potentials and limitations in working with the space you have available? It’s fun to experiment and try new species of plants, but ultimately, you’re learning about what works and what doesn’t for you and your unique spot.

This year, I’m changing things up a bit. I learned that we don’t need to grow as many tomatoes, but we could definitely use more potatoes and onions. Less winter squash and more fermentable vegetables like peas, green beans and beets. We are expanding the production of successive plantings of lettuce, more kale varieties, and chards, while downsizing the summer squash.

Create Flexible Routines

There are some easy ways to streamline your time spent doing the work, unless you’re the type of person who loves spending several hours a day hand watering. The main way is to set up an irrigation system with a timer that has the capability to turn water on and off to different locations at different times.

The next way to streamline gardening time is to make a schedule that fits into your lifestyle and stick to it with flexibility. There’s no getting around the need to be attentive every day to your garden, but you do have a say as to when the time is spent. Schedule weeding, pest control, and feeding days regularly. Plan ahead for longer workdays that involve recruiting some friends and family to help out. Get your kids, grandkids and the neighborhood kids involved!

Plant caretaking requires knowledge about specific plant species needs for proper germination, nutrition, light, water, and soil conditions.

Germination
  1. Timing: Know the number of days your plants need to grow to maturity, and plan accordingly.
  2. Soil Temperature: You may need to use a heat mat for some types of seeds such as tomatoes and peppers. Cool weather crops such as broccoli and cabbage can tolerate much colder temperatures for germination.
  3. Growing Medium: Clean fresh soil will give your plants better protection against pathogens and disease. Sterile (inert) soil without any added nutrients is fine to use but your plants will need to be fertilized after they grow true leaves. I like to make my own blend with compost, worm castings, peat moss, vermiculite and slow-release amendments.
  4. Humidity: Keep the surface of the soil moist but not over watered by using a spray bottle. Humidity domes are useful for certain types of plants during the germination phase.
  5. Light: You will need light with a light spectrum that is for plants. They need to be positioned about 6″ from the top of the planting trays. This will keep the seedlings from stretching for light and becoming “leggy”. Move the lights up as the plants grow.
Transplanting
  1. Timing: Knowing the soil temperatures in your garden and last frost dates for your growing zone will let you know when it’s safe to put plants outside. Many plants will need to be transplanted at least once before they can finally be planted into the garden.
  2. Pots: Transplant seedlings into the next stepped-up size pot. I like to use deep pots such as 6″ X 4″, it gives them more room for root systems to grow. If I need to transplant again, I could go for a 1/2 gallon up to a 1 gallon, depending on the type of plant and how much longer it will be hanging out in that container. Transplant before roots wind around the pot (root-bound).
  3. Sunlight: Young plants need to be carefully acclimated to full sunlight exposure. When you first bring them outside, place them in a spot where it is partially shaded, such as under a tree. Gradually give them more sunlight over a few days to a week. You’ll notice that they will “harden off” and become sturdier when they are ready to plant in the garden with full sun exposure.
  4. Sprays: Before exposing your young plants to the elements outside, spray them with organic pesticides such as spinosad and Monteray BT. This will help them to defend against pests that are so prevalent in the spring and help them to grow stronger during the transplanting phase.
  5. Moon Phase: Do all of your transplanting when the moon is in its waning phase of decreasing light. This is when gravitational pull of the earth is strongest and will assist the root system to diminish any transplant shock.

This is obviously not everything you need to know to be successful with gardening, but it's nice to read simple straightforward tips that don't require large quantities of your precious time. Of course, I recommend devouring all the knowledge you can acquire when it comes to learning new skills. Gardening is one of those crafts that are mastered by necessity. Be diligent with your efforts, there are no mistakes, only learning.  
Bless,
Shauna Mayfield Thera Phase Art
www.lovelifegivecare.com

Do You or Need a Gardening Calendar & Planner for 2023?

Here’s one that makes a great gift for your gardening, farming and plant lover friends!


Want to check out the interior pages?

Watch this video I made plus a bonus summer garden farm tour at the end!

Check it out!

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