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Horticulture. Principles and practice
Title: Horticulture. Principles and practice
Authors: A. Crossroads
Publication date: March 2018
Number of pages:371
Type of paper used:ecological paper is not used
The book Horticulture. Principles and practice of the Edagricole publishing house that I had the pleasure of reading, deals with the world of horticulture. The book, while addressing the students of the degree courses, can also be approached by those who, with some knowledge of the subject, want to deepen and have knowledge of the facts about the not simple art of horticulture. It is remarkable how the authors managed to find the right balance between the complexity of the subject and the practicality of the work to be done. That is to say the right balance between theory and practice, all told in a clear and complete way making understandable, even for the layman, sometimes complex topics on the life of plants.
The topics covered are innumerable and from the index below, it is clear that the horticulture theme is treated in the round, leaving nothing to chance or improvisation.
We start from an initial analysis of the reference scenario in the world of horticulture, analyzing the diffusion and importance of vegetable crops in the context of the world economy and more particularly in Italy. It was interesting to see how the authors also focused on the more cultural aspects related to horticulture. In fact, we are talking about the more traditional organic and integrated horticulture to move to urban, social and therapeutic horticulture, the so-called orthotherapy, increasingly widespread among the older population groups, among the disabled, the unemployed, immigrants and schoolchildren, as a moment of social aggregation. A truly intriguing picture.
We then move on to examine the various aspects of plant physiology such as photosynthesis, respiration, transpiration, radical absorption, water stress, etc., arguments clearly set out despite their complexity. The conjugation between plant physiology, cultivation techniques and the relationship of plants with the environment in which they live, is certainly a wise approach that allows you to have an all-round vision of the matter.
The difficult topic of genetic improvement, fundamental for providing solutions to the different needs of the countless vegetable species of our country, is addressed by considering: the evolution and importance of biodiversity; the intraspecific categories of greatest interest in horticulture; the goals and objectives that must be achieved with genetic improvement and therefore all the procedures and different methods to operate at their best. An all-round picture.
The next chapter deals with the not simple topic of the propagation of vegetable species. Knowing this technique is a priority in the production of any crop. We therefore talk about how to obtain the plant material for planting crops by describing the different methods of propagation and the requirements that the material to be used must have. In addition to this, it also describes the reference legislation, the care that the propagated plants must have and the company organization, often underestimated, in order for any initiative to be successful.
In this general framework, the themes on horticulture in the open field and in protected culture could not be missing, as well as the soilless cultivation systems. For each technique, the needs of the different crops are analyzed, such as irrigation, fertilization, the use of plant growth regulators and biostimulants, also describing the different techniques to be adopted for each agronomic practice. A nice job.
Particularly interesting is the chapter dedicated to the physiology and technology to be adopted for vegetables once harvested where all the parameters necessary for the preservation of the product are taken into consideration, including refrigeration with its various techniques.
To complete the picture, the authors also dedicated ample space to the families of the most important plants for horticulture and precisely Apiaceae, of the Brassicaceae, of the Chenopodiaceae, of the Cucurbitaceae, of the Fabaceae, of the Lamiaceae, of the Liliaceae and of Solanaceae. For each family there is a botanical framework, describing the biological cycle, the origin, the morphology and above all, in the case of horticulture, the flower biology and fruiting to better understand the needs of the plant. Obviously there is no lack of cultivation techniques by analyzing the pedoclimatic needs, the production systems and the adversities to which various vegetable species are subject.
Given that the authors have addressed the book above all to undergraduate students, I think it is important to specify that each chapter is accompanied, in addition to an extensive bibliography, also with cards and boxes for in-depth analysis on the various aspects dealt with, with verification questions on what is illustrated. A complete study tool.
To conclude, I can only congratulate the authors recognizing the valuable work done by which in addition to the profound competence of the subject, shines a great love for plants and nature in general. In short, it is a book that I liked and that offers a great deal of ideas. I highly recommend it to all those who want to study and / or deepen the world of horticulture.
Dr. M.G. Davoli