CULTIVATORS ADVICE FOR AROMATIC - PHARMACEUTICAL PLANTS USING ZEOLITE AND OUR FERTILIZER.
Importance of aromatic plants for the Greek economy.
Aromatic and medicinal plants have begun to gain interest because of changes in lifestyle and eating habits, environmental interest, food preservation (antioxidant and antimicrobial properties), extensive use of fragrances and numerous pharmaceutical uses (e.g. herbs, aromatherapy).Cultivation of aromatic and medicinal plants can contribute to:
1. Restructuring of crops
2. Operation of the poor and abandoned fields.
3. Increase in agricultural income
4. Creation of small industrial units
5. Exploitation of female, child and old hands.
6. Development of beekeeping
7. Tourist exploitation of different areas
8. Saving currency
9. Protection of flora
Crop rotation is the systematic rotation of crops in the same field. It is applied in many cases to the cultivation of aromatic and medicinal plants but also in almost all crops of large-scale plants. Τα πλεονεκτήματα της αμειψισποράς είναι: maintaining soil fertility, making better use of water and nutrients, controlling pests, diseases and weeds (especially using aromatic plants) and stabilizing yields (of all crops). Plants that can be used in crop rotation systems are:
• Aromatic plants
• Winter cereals
• Winter legumes (fruit or pasta)
• Olive plants (rapeseed, safflower, flax)
• Spring crops such as sunflower, cotton, industrial tomatoes, beets, corn, tobacco.
Of the aromatic plants can be used anise, fennel, basil, saffron, geranium. Winter legumes have the advantage of increasing N soil (and are of interest in organic and integrated crops). Despite the advantages of winter legumes, there are some disadvantages: low resistance to low temperatures, higher moisture requirements, vulnerability to disease, difficulty in mechanical harvesting and low yields (low income).From autumn plants that can be used are various plantations (oilseed rape, safflower, flax). Spring crops can use sunflower (due to its low temperature and early sowing, but it has the disadvantage of having a small income for the producer), cotton, industrial tomatoes, beets, corn and tobacco.The crop rotation systems used in Greece are usually biennial eg. anise or fennel and then a winter cereal. It is also possible to choose three-year crop rotation systems such as cereals, anise, legumes or spring crops (cotton, corn), or four-year (aromatic plant, cereals, legumes, spring crops).
Prior to soil preparation, care should be taken to manage plant residues from previous cultivation. Remnants of the previous crop can either be burned or incorporated into the soil. Burning remains has the advantages of facilitating soil treatment and also helping to fight enemies and diseases. Despite the advantages of burning residues, it also has important disadvantages such as: depleting the soil and causing air pollution. On the other hand, the incorporation of residues into the soil has the advantage of increasing the organic matter of the soil.
Some of the drawbacks are:
1. that it is difficult to treat soil,
2. caused provisional competition for N and
3. Uniform uneven development of the next crop plants.
It is not easy to choose one or the other method of waste management as it depends on the presence of pests and diseases and the use of dairy farming. Finally, it is a good idea to add a small amount of N when adding residues.
The fertilization should be applied according to the needs of the crops.The factors that affect it are: the expected yield, the fertility of the soil, the type of aromatic plant (basil, lavender, oregano, mountain tea), the yield and management of the residues of the previous crop, the cultivation conditions, the soil moisture, past fertilization, rainfall in the area. Legumes help enrich the soil in N. Although it has been found that most of the leguminous used in Greece can increase N in the soil, the amount of N that can enrich the soil is 0-14 kg N / ha.The factors influencing soil enrichment with N are the ecological conditions of the area, the type of legume, the species and the population of the nitrogen-binding bacteria. P is essential for the development of a rich root system and tissue hardening. In Greece for most crops consists lubrication only with N and P for the other nutrients found only when they are found to be deficient (or if they have high demands). A quantity N and all P is applied before sowing and the rest N at the end of the winter or early spring (surface lubrication). Basic fertilization is evenly dispersed and integrated with the last soil preparation work. Surface lubrication is applied at the end of the winter or early spring and should follow rain. N in basic lubrication is added in the form of NH4 ((NH4) 2 SO4, ammonium phosphate, dilute superphosphate). In contrast to the surface it is added in the form of NH4NO3. The NH4 form helps to reduce the pH of the soil that is needed in soils with high pH or in saline soils.In acidic soils appropriate use of calcium NH4NO3. For aromatic plants there is not much experimental data from experiments carried out in Greece.
Role of essential oils
The role of essential oils has not been elucidated, although possible roles are considered to be:
1. They protect plants from enemies and diseases because of their aroma. This case has no general application since there are aromatic plants that are affected by enemies and diseases.
2. They protect plants from high temperature because because of their evaporation the plant temperature decreases.
3. The resinous content contributes to covering the skin wounds and thus avoids the decay of plant tissues.
4. The fragrance of flowers attracts insects and achieves better pollination, fertilization and fruit setting.
5. They make plants more resistant to drought because they reduce transpiration by being in the intercellular spaces.
6. They increase the speed of circulation of nutrients that regulate plant metabolism.
7. They catalyze the metabolism of glycosides and other substances.
8. They are likely to act as hormones in various plant functions.