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What Are the Different Methods of Plant Cultivation?

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  • Written By: N. Phipps
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 April 2014
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The act of gardening covers a wide array of practices and styles, from flowers and foliage plants to vegetables and herbs. There are also several methods for growing healthy, productive plants. However, successful plant cultivation depends on many factors. Some of these may include soil type, location, light, water, and temperature.

Indoor gardening is one of the most common practices used for cultivating plants. In addition to growing houseplants, many types of plants benefit from being started or grown over winter inside. Indoor plant cultivation offers growers a more controlled environment, resulting in stronger, healthier plant growth. While most plants that are grown indoors are found in pots or flats of soil, there are also soilless growing methods that can be implemented.

Hydroponics is a method of plant cultivation that does not require the use of soil. In its place, plants are provided with a growing medium such as gravel, sand, or something similar. They are then given a continual supply of nutrient solution, which produces healthier growth. This method is ideal for a wide range of plants and limited space. A similar alternative is aeroponics. Unlike hydroponics, this method uses no growing medium; instead, suspended plant roots are periodically sprayed with nutrient solution.

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Some indoor plants can also be grown in water. Still others can be grown in a controlled environment and then coaxed into flowering—also known as forcing. Plant cultivation can take place in a greenhouse or cold frame as well. These covered enclosures can provide sunlight and warmth to seedlings and a variety of other container plants. Container planting can also take place outdoors.

Container gardening is another great alternative for cultivating plants in areas with little space. Nearly anything can be grown in a container, provided that adequate drainage is supplied. Pots or other containers should also be large enough to accommodate whatever is being grown. For those with more room, raised beds can be created for plant cultivation. This involves the use of some type of frame to hold the soil in place.

Not only are raised beds nicer in appearance, but they’re also better for plants and can be easily constructed in a number of styles and sizes. Raised beds are commonly used with organic gardening practices, like permaculture or keyhole gardening. Organically grown plants are healthier and the cultivation methods are better for the environment. Organic gardens need not be limited to beds, however.

Where space allows, large plots can be implemented for growing plants. Methods for planting can vary from seedling transplants to broadcast seeding. Hilling is another method used which involves placing seeds or transplants within mounded soil. Other plant cultivation methods for larger areas include companion planting, succession planting, and crop rotation.

Companion planting involves growing certain plants near each other. For instance, when grown together, some plants are thought to repel pests or enhance growth. Likewise, they may share compatible rooting patterns, such as shallow-rooted plants grown with deep-rooted ones. This works well with succession planting too. This method involves planting crops in two-week intervals to prolong flowering or harvesting.

Crop rotation is a method of plant cultivation that is commonly used to prevent nutrient depletion and reduce pest and disease issues. Crops are planted in different locations and rotated every few years. With so many cultivating options available, far too many to cover completely, it is always helpful for plant growers to research various methods in order to find the one best suited to their needs.

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