THE AGRONOMIST ANSWERS ON HOW TO GROW AND CARE FOR PLANTS
QUESTION ABOUT EXOTIC PLANTS
CULTIVATION OF EXOTIC PLANTS USEFUL TO MAN AT SCHOOL
QUESTION OF LUIGI
I am a middle school teacher. I grow some plants in the atrium of the school (Cyperus papyrus, banana dwarf, Saccharum officinarum, Cyfhomandra betacea, Solanum quitoense or naranilla, Carica pentagona and some other less significant) The environment is heated, but not very hot in winter (18 °) while in summer, we are in Bolzano, the temperature can exceed 30 degrees centigrade. The environment is very illuminated by direct light but you can also take advantage of half-shade or non-direct light spaces. I would like to know if the cultivation of real pepper Piper nigrum and Vanilla Vanilla planifolia can be tackled in such situations. For the latter I would also like to know where it is available. Another favorable aspect is the possibility of taking care of the plants quite well with regard to fertilization and watering (even in the summer and holiday periods in general).
With best regards
first of all congratulations for the uncommon choices of the plants you grow.
To answer your questions, regarding the Piper nigrum, although it is an unusual plant, I think you can cultivate it safely.A similar and belonging to the same family, peperomia, is also successfully grown in the apartment. Read hers data sheet.
As far as vanilla is concerned, you enter a slightly more difficult field, namely that of orchids which, as you know, is not a simple cultivation as they have very particular cultivation needs. To get an idea I suggest you read the rubric of orchids from which you will understand that their cultivation is not an impossible road to travel but a very, very uphill one.
As for the procurement of vanilla, I believe that the only reasonable thing is to contact a well-stocked nurseryman and possibly ask him if he can find it.
Let me know.
Dr. Maria Giovanna Davoli
I would like information on growing giant bamboo or other varieties for industrial development crops.
Phillostachys pubescens, commonly said moso or madake or giant bamboo, is the most suitable species for the Italian climate preferably, however, it is best to grow it from Central Italy downwards.
It prefers a fresh, loose, preferably humid and well-drained soil, but it also adapts to other soils, such as poor, stony or steep ones (where however it must be irrigated). For industrial purposes we do not start from the seed, because rooting is not guaranteed and it is still very slow, but from seedlings, micropropagated or rhizome, one year old.
The plants should be planted in late spring, sheltered from late frosts, at least 1 meter from each other, in rows 1.5 meters apart, however, the ideal is with a planting spacing of 4 meters between the rows. and 4 meters in the row.
In less rainy areas it is good to provide a drip irrigation system, to be used especially between June and September. The drip system is also used for fertigation, favoring a nitrogen solution.
THE first shoots (for food) are harvested after 3-4 years from planting and the first culms (stems) after 5 years. From the tenth year onwards it will be possible to collect the culms with a larger diameter (provided of course that they have been allowed to grow in previous years).
In fact, it is preferable to cut stalks that have grown for at least 3 years every year. In a fully-functioning bamboo grove, 25% of the stalks can be harvested every year without compromising the tree density and the number of trunks per hectare.
A bambuseto of Phillostachys pubescens it can last up to 100 years.
Harvesting must be done manually, with the use of a machete: cannot be automated because the canes grow in a random position.
To undertake a cultivation for industrial purposes, it is advisable to carefully evaluate the availability of purchasing outlets in Italy or the possibility of directly selling / processing the shoots and stalks.
Currently, in fact, all products derived from bamboo (sprouts for food use, trunks for fabrics and timber) marketed in Italy come from China, and there is no chain (from farmer to retail) organized in our country.
In case of cultivation for reclamation of polluted sites, the culms can finally be used as combustible biomass, of very low value because it is very herbaceous biomass with a high ash content.
I have land in Puglia and this spring I want to start.
You can provide me with the contact of a consultant to receive a quote and to ask for the purchase of 500 plants.
Contact www.bambutigre.it or www.almabamboo.com
They are two serious companies that will be able to help you start the crop.
In the last few years in Italy many farmers especially from the South they started experimenting with the cultivation of tropical and exotic fruit trees.
First of all the Sicily is having excellent productions and has developed a market both locally and throughout Italy for these exotic but locally grown fruits.
The satisfactions are many and moreover the prices of the fruits sold to the final consumer are more than 50% lower. compared to exotic fruit imported from abroad.
Indicatively we are talking about a cost per kg from 2 to 6 euros when we know that these tropical fruits are much more expensive if we want to buy them.
The tropical fruits that grow in Italy are many and among the most successful there are some varieties of avocado as the Bacon and l’Hass especially in Sicily where the plants can produce up to 180 kg per plant.
There are also papaya productions and annona cherimoia which produce over 50 kg per tree, producing very large fruits such as papaya or as large as apples and with a sweet and fragrant flavor as in the case of annona.
Still some producers have started with the cultivation of plants such as fejoa, the passion fruit or passion fruit, L'pineapple, the banana, the mango, the carom, the guava and smaller plants such as sweet weasel and tomarillo but still exotic.
Let's get to know some of these exotic fruits which also grow in Italy.
Avocado is a fruit native to Guatemala and Mexico with a peripheral shape a leathery but thin skin and usually bright green color which when ripe becomes darker up to a reddish color in some varieties.
Its pulp is almost white and light green when it is edible it becomes creamy and buttery. In fact, this fruit contains a lot of fats but these lipids are excellent and do not lead to gaining weight.
Indeed the part of polyunsaturated fats such as omega 3s they help lower cholesterol levels by lowering the risk of heart disease. In addition, avocado is rich in antioxidants such as vitamin A ed IS which help fight free radicals thus slowing down the cellular aging processes.
There avocado cultivation it is similar to other fruit plants in fact usually grafted saplings of the avocado variety to be obtained are usually purchased and then planted in the open field.
Avocado obviously loves full sun exposure, with intense light and instead protected from cold air currents. The temperature is a limiting factor but it can grow if it does not drop below zero degrees in winter.
It is recommended to grow more avocado trees nearby to help cross-pollination and thus have a better chance of obtaining a good harvest.
In Italy there are already numerous producers who have chosen a cultivation under the organic farming regime and who mainly sell these avocados through purchasing groups (GAS) or in local markets.
Papaya is certainly among the most tropical fruits we know along with bananas. Papaya has a very large size with a soft and buttery pulp that is orange in color and has a sweet flavor.
Its area of origin is always Brazil and Latin America but it is also cultivated in Asia, India and today also in the Mediterranean. The development of the plant is very fast and its vegetative cycle is very short around 2 years.
So the papayas are harvested only one year after planting of the sapling and then continue the cultivation of new seedlings every year. The papaya plant obviously loves the sun and areas with intense light.
Windy places should be avoided and it does not like stagnant water. Cultivation in Italy is still experimental but some farms are already beginning to have satisfaction with the production of homegrown papayas. The consumption of papaya is indicated because this fruit is rich in many vitamins and in particular it contains good quantities of C vitamin in addition to mineral salts and fibers.
The presence of water is very high and it also contains many carotenoids and flavonoids. Its beneficial properties for the body are innumerable including being an excellent natural anti-inflammatory and a natural antibiotic if drunk its juice associated with honey.
Papaya also helps to regulate the menstrual cycle of women as it produces estrogen thus promoting blood flow.
Even the black, round seeds of the papaya they are excellent for many gastrointestinal problems having an antimicrobial action and helping the healing of any ulcers or internal micro wounds of the mucosa.
Feijoa is an evergreen shrub which comes from the highlands of Uruguay and South America between Brazil, Colombia and Argentina. Its scientific name is Acca sellowiana from the mirtaceae family and has found excellent acclimatization along the Mediterranean coasts and in particular in Liguria and Tuscany.
Usually this shrub is used to make hedges and is therefore cut and kept pruned without reaching the production of fruits which are edible and also very tasty. Its flavor is very interesting and we can describe it as a mix between strawberry and pineapple.
Contains a lot of vitamin C, folic acid and is an excellent source of fiber and omega 3 that benefit our cardiovascular system.
Its cultivation is best done when the soil is rich in humus, well ventilated and slightly acidic. It does not like temperatures below 7 degrees, cold winds and stagnation of water are also to be avoided.
As for the flowering, towards the month of May the flowers begin to bloom and then finish with the production of small fruits from October until the end of November.
The harvest of one hectare of orchard plant reaches even 100 quintals per year. These fruits are sold either fresh to eat on their own or in fruit salads or with yogurt and are transformed into jams, jellies, juices and ice creams or canned in cans and jars with long shelf life.
This fruit is also known as granadilla, maracuja or passion fruit depending on the country of origin between Brazil, Peru, South Africa, India, Australia, Hawaii and Sri Lanka.
The passion fruit plant is a climber that produces rounded fruit similar to smooth-skinned eggs of varying color between green, red, yellow and purple depending on the variety of passion fruit.
The edible part is the transparent and gelatinous pulp which contains numerous small seeds that break easily when chewed.
Its flavor is sweet and slightly acidic thanks to the conspicuous presence of C vitamin. Furthermore, passion fruit contains carotenoids and other substances with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Her pulp helps digestion and promotes bowel regularity. It is also excellent for reducing water retention and for purifying the body. Its fruit is used fresh by simply eating it with a spoon or it is possible to make alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks.
It is even included in some recipes especially based on fish as it goes well with these marked flavors.
Her cultivation requires a lot of water and obviously loves warm and sunny areas. Part of a south facing wall is the best location for this plant to climb. The soil is preferable to be rich in humus and well drained because it must in any case avoid water stagnation.
It does not like windy areas and it suffers from climates that have winter temperatures that drop below 7 degrees. Passion fruit is often used to make green covers along fences, and people are often unaware that the fruit of this plant is edible.
There are many varieties in the family of this plant and many are in fact edible and have a really interesting flavor.
In conclusion, the Italian farms of the South have successfully started the cultivation of many of these plants and the products in addition to being km0 with an extraordinary reduction in pollution due to transport are also products at a lower cost and in any case exquisite taste.
Another important fact concerns the choice of many of these farmers who have decided to respect nature and produce exotic fruit in Italy under the organic and biodynamic farming regime with greater guarantee for the health of the environment, of man and for better quality.
The Bertolami nursery company combines tradition and innovation thanks to the experience, which has been handed down for two generations, to the essential technical skills, together with the commitment and constant search for evolution.
The activity in Calabria began in the early 1950s, as reported in the first work "Barons and Peasants" by Giovanni Russo (Laterza 1955) illustrious writer and journalist "The Bertolami brothers, the most advanced farmers of the Piana di S'Eufemia Lamezia, who have created some of the most modern nurseries in Italy, where virus-free citrus fruits are grown, special grapefruits of those that are also grown in Israel and are practiced fruit and vegetable growing and horticulture at a scientific level. The company is famous and is visited by technicians from all over the world. The Bertolami are not agrarians. They were small farmers from Mazzarra 'S.Andrea, a town in the province of Messina, from where they came to Calabria in 1949 as pioneers. "
Over the years we have gone from a traditional nursery, practiced on small surfaces and mainly intended for a local market, to a productive reality specialized in the propagation and cultivation of fruit plants, citrus fruits, olive trees and exotic and ornamental plants.
Nurseries of Calabria was born bringing with it this great cultural baggage and at the same time it launches a look at the future, at the new market thanks to the renewed and specialized workforce available. Qualified and experienced staff. The company has all the potential and the ability to respond to the most innovative and complex needs from the public and private sectors.
The activity is conducted according to the criteria of certified quality, in compliance with the national and community standards that regulate the sector.
The production of certified olive, citrus and fruit trees is the final result of the accurate and meticulous process of certification of the propagation material, which implies precise cultural operations and a series of checks along the entire production chain that guarantee compliance variety and above all phytosanitary safety.
All this is done in harmony with the company philosophy of providing a quality product capable of responding to the needs of the market. To give agriculture a future, quality must be produced.
The strength of the company is the wide variety range, available on countless rootstocks, which consists of covering a wide maturation calendar and a wide soil adaptability.
Il Vivaio is located in the nerve center of Calabria from a commercial and infrastructural point of view and in an area whose landscape is equally envied for its microclimate and natural resources.
We are present in the territory of the Municipality of Lamezia Terme in the province of Catanzaro.
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