– So, we made photos for social networks – now we get down to business: dig, plant, fertilize!
Photo: Maria CUAREMS
Crisis at the door? Are the products getting more and more expensive? The average Russian immediately remembers plan B – there are “six acres”! The historical experience of the Soviet years and the “hungry” 90s testifies: if you plant your own vegetables and potatoes, you will not be lost.
That’s right, but a lot has changed since then. Including the cost of a personal garden became far from Soviet. Is it really possible to feed from their beds now? And what should gardeners take into account so that instead of one harvest they do not “grow” continuous losses? We discussed these issues on KP radio with Andrey Tumanov, a well-known Russian gardener, president of the non-profit organization Gardeners of Russia.
POTATOES INSTEAD OF FLOWERS
– Several friends have already told me about great plans for this month of May. Country grass – goodbye. Instead, there will be potato beds. Does it make practical sense? Wouldn’t it be cheaper to buy potatoes at the store later?
– It depends on how you count. It can be calculated in such a way that hobby gardeners will have a list of expenses, just save! And you can organize your activities in such a way that you don’t need to buy anything special.
You can also look at the question from a different angle. Do you know how much traditionally grown organic products cost today? Yes, three or four times more than what is grown industrially! Therefore, the products of your garden, of which you know how they were grown, are not just “something to eat”. This is a very expensive product! I will not sell my potatoes to anyone, even if there is such an opportunity. Eat this potato and soak up the joy and warmth of last summer.
– But it’s romantic again. Let’s go back to costs. What are the minimum necessary for a gardener now?
– It depends on who. A completely new gardener needs to buy a shovel and chopper. And we, gardeners of the middle generation, already have everything. I have about fifteen different blades. What I’m going to buy? Well, except for fertilizers. And then – exclusively mineral. I make organic myself, from waste. And you can do a lot, if not almost everything.
Would you like to tell me where to get, for example, free carrot seeds? Take a carrot. You stick to the ground. It is desirable that it be of a certain variety, and not a hybrid (in the supermarket, a variety is often written on the price tag, look). In a couple of months, you’ll have those umbrellas that look like dill from afar, but you definitely won’t mistake them for dill. In autumn, from umbrellas you need to crush them with your hands, you collect seeds. And in such a quantity that it is also enough for a neighbor. Of course, the experts will now beat me to such an unscientific approach. But germination, as a rule, turns out to be better than many store-bought carrot seeds that have already been lying somewhere for several years.
“Wait, it’s all too easy. But what about the stories about the fact that we do not have our own seeds for various crops, and soon there will be nothing to plant?
– “There are no seeds” – It doesn’t happen. We can talk about the loss of varietal properties; that there is a risk of going back to the 70-80s of the last century in terms of productivity. But not that we are going to starve because there are no seeds. How did they live in Soviet times, when there was really practically nothing in stores? They bought from grandmothers, from bags grown on their knees, like I just talked about carrots. I remember my first turnip seeds, bought like this – 20 kopecks per spoon. And everything grew!
But don’t worry about the seeds, leave it to the deputies, who only want their bare drafts. Here you need to understand what, for example, “Dutch seeds” means. Yes, they are the Dutch team. But only pairs of parents were grown in Holland, of which someone grows seeds in completely different countries. Mostly warm. Just growing cucumber seeds in India is incomparably cheaper than in the same Holland. Not to mention the Arkhangelsk region. Then there will be “Dutch seeds” for you, the only question here is logistics.
GARDENER’S MAIN TOOL – HEAD
– How not to spend money in vain in pursuit of your own harvest? What to save on, what not to save on? You look at the counters in the country hypermarket – there are so many things there …
– Yes, you can easily save on the same seeds. I have been looking here recently, basil is on sale – 50 kopecks per bag. For the sake of interest, I bought, what will grow from it. Do not believe it – 90% germination! And earlier I bought basil for 150 rubles. Germination – 10%.
Therefore, the first piece of advice: do not look at the big price. There is, for example, a company that has that marketing chip to establish the highest price in the seed market. A package of 5 seeds (that is, seeds in pieces, not in bags) – 380 rubles! Believe me, these seeds are no different from those that are sold for 50 rubles. But even a poor person will think: you should buy a couple of these expensive bags, they must be special.
And such wiring goes on all fronts. Here is another example. Yesterday I was at the garden center. There are two jars with a preparation for feeding plants. A jar – 30 rubles. And next to it is a “pure organic product” – 380 rubles. If you give both vials to the chemist, he will laugh. It’s the same, only the jars are different. I am not going to go into scientific details now, but when they write “pure organic”, “non-transgenic”, in 80% of the cases they play with your feelings, to suggest that it is something special, of better quality. In fact, you just need to turn your head. Let’s say you buy organic fertilizer. What can be there at all, except “pure organics”?
And the second piece of advice: be afraid of “progressive” advice from the Internet. They are worse than the most harmful chemicals. Better look in the attic of your country for “Young Naturalist” magazines from the 70-80s. Everything is clear to children. And what about bloggers? If you say how you really need to get it right, you won’t get views. We need to come up with some completely idiotic trick on how, without doing anything, to produce a rich “organic” harvest in two days.
I recently decided to search the internet for what the moon is made of. The first link came out: aliens live inside the moon. But nobody believes in aliens inside the moon. And for some reason, even people with higher education believe that it is impossible to feed plants with nitrogen, because it is “chemistry”, but it is necessary – with potato peels. Well, plants do not feed on the peel, they need nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and trace elements. In such cases, I advise you to remember what we ourselves breathe. Air is 78% nitrogen, incomparably more than oxygen!
Therefore, if you want to get a good harvest without unnecessary costs and harm to health, remember: the main tool of the gardener is the head! In any gardener, an ordinary Russian peasant should live. The man is cunning, stingy. Who will definitely ask: “Are you trying to sell me here? No, we don’t need that, we’ll get by with that.” And you will succeed.
Photo: Dmitry POLUKHIN
TIPS FOR GUTTIES
What to plant for a beginning summer resident
– Carrots, beets, cabbage, potatoes, salads, spices – in principle, any summer resident can grow all this, you do not need to be an agronomist for this, Andrey Tumanov is encouraging. – But I would advise the very, very inexperienced to start with potatoes. It is a very grateful culture. And potatoes are good as pioneers.
– This is if there was a lawn before, and now they decided to plant something edible?
– Or if nothing was planted before for many years. If you plant crops on virgin land that need to be constantly weeded, for example, carrots, then the weeds will torment you, you will constantly crawl on your knees. And the potatoes are only semi-mechanized care, with a hoe. You don’t have to do anything with your fingers. Two or three hillings per season is enough. This is doable for a city dweller who is used to sitting all day and whose back pain and shortness of breath begin with physical labor. Just don’t do anything magical with potatoes based on advice from the internet. It is not necessary to water it with potassium permanganate or succinic acid. Spud – and that’s it, leave her alone.
By the way, if you are a complete beginner and have grown potatoes on virgin land, then most likely your first harvest without any magic will be much higher than that of more advanced neighbors. Everything is simple. The first crop of potatoes on rested land is the maximum. Also, beginners often strive to do everything right. And they do not plant the potatoes that they bought in the store and did not eat, but buy healthy-seeded varietal potatoes. Gives an order of magnitude higher performance. Thus, it turns out that a person does not know how to do anything and has a bam, twice as many potatoes as a neighbor on the other side of the fence, who has been planting them for forty years in the same place.
How to choose seedlings
– If you are a beginner, it is difficult to grow seedlings yourself for the first time. An apartment in the city is not the best place for this. Not enough light, too dry, too hot. Go to the garden center. Just not to cars along the roads where seedlings “from TEmeryazevka” are sold. We sell a hundred times more seedlings “from Michurinsk” and seedlings “from Temeryazevka” than are produced there. Go to a professional nursery or garden center for good, hardy seedlings grown in a greenhouse with the right light and temperature.
And take a pencil with you. You go through the rows of seedlings, and so carefully with a pencil – a bale for a tomato. And watch carefully, if any of that seedling takes off. For example, the whitefly is a rare mischief. If you take it to your greenhouse, you will be tormented. This is another reason why I would not recommend buying seedlings anywhere. Our task is not only to plant something, but also not to bring anything that cannot be eradicated later with any “harmless environmental means”.
TO THE POINT
garden in the city
What can be grown on a windowsill?
– I personally am a fan of balcony tomatoes. They are the most delicious”, Tumanov gives the verdict. – As they are always at hand, they can be left to ripen until the tomato is already so full that it is about to burst. And straight to the salad.
I have everything in a simple way – buckets of lime like pots. I make land in the field, I don’t buy it. Seeds, whether donated or own. There is no need to bother and spend a lot of money. If you are a beginner, start with early determinate or superdeterminate tomatoes. They will perhaps give you a small but guaranteed harvest as quickly as possible. And they are best suited for a balcony or windowsill – small, compact, less than three meters high. And without pretensions. From fertilizers, well, if you want, use organic matter. I know people who plant dry manure and water it. Or use liquid complex fertilizers.
– And I, for example, grow onions on the windowsill. I haven’t bought it since February.
– You are a good economist. How much does an onion cost in a store and how much does a green one cost? The difference is sometimes 15 times. If you buy an onion, put it in a pot or just put it in water, it is a very profitable business.
You can try jusai (Chinese onion – ed.). In summer it can be grown on the balcony, and in winter it can be thrown out on the windowsill. Greens – the most common type of parsley, without any “micro”, also grow well on the balcony.