Some common plants serve as indicators, ie, thermometers of how your ground is draining water, and even if your garden is being watered sufficiently.
Pay attention to the size of the plants that grow there and make a mental sketch of their tops, projecting them downwards. This will give you a good idea of where the subsoil concentrates the most water on your ground and can help a lot when choosing the best garden spot to plant a fruit tree or put up a flowerbed and vegetables.
Below I will make a shortlist of indicator plants so you can start observing them and find out the conditions of your terrain.
When planning a garden or cultivation sequence in a yard, looking at these plants can indicate many things. Just start associating some data.
The shameless maria ( Impatiens walleriana ) is a perennial flowering plant, well known and widespread in Brazil. It produces pink or red flowers of almost translucent green stem, with plenty of water inside, pure and tender leaves. When the drought reaches its peak, the plant is the first to manifest water deficit in its shriveling leaves, returning to the inflated state rapidly once soil moisture levels are restored. Therefore, the shameless maria is excellent to put in the garden near others that need constant irrigation for the production of fruits and flowers and do not show as quickly as lemon, acerola, jabuticaba, papaya, pitangueira, camellia, hibiscus, and Roses.
In the garden, shameless mary can be used alongside the beds of perennial plants such as ginger, turmeric, herbs and some biennials such as onion and garlic.
Contrary to indicating lack of water on the ground, the watercress ( Heterantera Limosa Willd ) and marsh mint ( Heterantera reniformis ) indicate the wet spots in the soil. Both are invasive plants, which do not harm the cultivation, because they are prostrate (lying close to the ground), serving as a lining between one crop and the next. If you find this herb in your garden, enjoy! Your place will be the best for sowing lettuce, arugula, and chives, which can be transplanted to more drained locations, after getting the third definite grown leaves.
Soil fertility indices can also be observed by the presence of the caruru or buzzard ( Amaranthus deflexus L., Amaranthus hibridus L., Amaranthus spinosus L., and Amaranthus Viridis L. ), a very vigorous plant. Investors that produces round and tiny seed bunches, widely used in the Northeast to prepare regional dishes and cereals for children. It also feeds birds and grows ten times faster than any vegetable, and can be left to grow because it favors biological control, but with some restriction (thinning), as long as the goal is to develop multiple species because it competes too much with other vegetables…
I advise you to remove them until the vegetables are well established. Once your seedlings are already fitted with firm roots, one or the other can be left between the cultivars.
In the image that opens this post is the dandelion ( Taraxacum officinale Weber ). It has nourishing as well as healing properties. It is a rosette-shaped herb that grows with toothed leaves and produces yellow flowers. It is that famous pompom from which its winged seeds come out, which children love to blow. Well, it grows in fertile, well-drained soil.
But the plantain, or tchanchagem Plantage ( Plantago tomentosa Lam.) Indicates the presence of light and sunny land. It grows in the open fields and on the sandy edges of the ground where water seeps. Prefers cold weather and bright light, best germinating in early spring. Although it is an invader, it should be left on the ground, as its seeds serve as bird food, bringing them close to the garden where they can act as biological control agents, eating insects and larvae.
Planting favors the cultivation of cabbage, broccoli and annual or biannual flowers. Of European origin, the plant has its name derived from the word plantages, which called the sole of the feet, resembling the soles of shoes. It grows in a rosette shape and has parallel ribs, producing a multiple floral stems, resulting in an ear full of flaky texture, much appreciated by birds. It has crucial medicinal properties: it is anti-tumor, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory.
When there is too much Lyrica ( Cyperus esculentus L. or Cyperus ferax L.Cyperus Iria L. ), the ground is probably acidic and should be corrected with limestone or shell flour. But purslane ( Portulaca oleracea L. ), in the image below, grows in well-drained, slightly acidic sandy and loamy soils, quickly covering whole beds. It needs to be harvested and controlled because it has very efficient seeds and can easily steal the entire garden plot for you. However, it is ideally suited for resting the soil between crops or periods of less activity, creating a protective soil net and being easily removed when the time comes for planting.
The color of the grass also reveals when temperatures begin to fall, becoming well-dried, with reddish filaments, indicating the excellent time for its coverage. Use a thin layer of soil so that in spring and early rain there are no holes or indentations in the football pitch and lawns.
Plants can even indicate the time of day, such as eleven o’clock ( Portulaca grandiflora ), which opens its flowers at the time it gives its name and appears with its beautiful rose flowers at the end of this text. We have to fix our habits to know what they want to tell us.
In the meantime, take the time to mark the flowering of the purple ipe that has already started, making the bird route much brighter!
Next week, I’ll talk a little more about plants that help us tell the time.