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The benefits of pre-winter soil mulching in the garden

The benefits of pre-winter soil mulching in the garden


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Most of the crops grown by gardeners came to us once from the forest, where their roots in the trunk circle were always reliably covered with a warm and soft pillow of fallen leaves and needles. Forgetting about this, we took as a practice the widespread digging of the earth in the fall, removing all weeds from it, leveling the surface with a rake. And then, in this naked form, we leave her until next year.

The study by scientists of the practice of such an attitude to the earth has shown that in the conditions of the vicissitudes of our climate, bacteria and other living things freeze out so much that their usual mass, inherent in a particular soil, is restored only by the end of June. It turns out that in the most crucial period for growth and development, plants lack nutrition: there is little living matter in the soil, which means there is little humus - the basis of fertility and rich harvests.

It follows from what has been said that soil mulching in our climatic conditions should be of a total nature, that is, it should be carried out not only after watering or loosening the soil, not only for garden crops and not only during the period of their cultivation, as is recommended in the literature, but always everywhere, especially before winter. In such conditions, the uppermost, most fertile layer will always be in a favorable environment, and the soil will not lose, but, on the contrary, will acquire an even richer content, saturated with everything necessary.

There are many recommendations in the literature and the press about the features and methods of mulching plants in vegetable beds. Here we will mainly talk about mulching of fruit and berry crops and flower bedsincluding their winter and long-term mulching.

As evidenced by my personal experience and the experience of other gardeners, in the pre-winter period for mulching, you can very successfully use any post-harvest residues, crushed stem mass, weeds and already fallen leaves, as well as sawdust, shavings and bark.

At the same time, in order to accelerate the decomposition of the mulch cover, it is best to mix it by adding to it at the same time a composting accelerator, which is a complex mixture of bacterial fertilizers.

Mulch is usually applied to the trunks of detached fruit trees, and for young plants with a layer of 5-6 cm, and for fruiting old ones - with a layer of 8-10 cm.Around the trunks with a diameter of about 80-100 cm, mulch is usually applied in a very thin layer to avoid damage to the bark. It has been established that such pre-winter mulching contributes to soil porosity, its aeration and moisture permeability, and this influence often extends to a depth of 15-20 cm of the surface layer.

With a prolonged and low-frost autumn, it is even possible to detect a rather vigorous activity of earthworms under the mulch. All this, taken together, contributes to the good survival rate of newly planted and successful overwintering of young fruit-bearing trees, and also facilitates heavy care of them in the spring.

Low-stem apple trees with a small crown are especially fond of mulching. The thin suction roots of such trees grow to a mulch cover and are visible if the mulch is carefully removed. Mulching berry bushes gives good results, and a mixture of foliage and chopped herbs and stems is best suited here. At the same time, since pathogens of these crops can persist on the leaves, it is highly advisable to use the foliage and stems of other crops for mulching some crops.

All berry bushes are successfully mulched with sawdust, shavings and bark, but before that they must all be in a rotted or semi-rotted state. On strawberries, mulch cover from compost and coniferous sawdust mixed with needles gives good results. It protects the berries from pollution at the time of harvest, giving them a special taste and aroma.

When mulching flower beds, and especially roses, instead of the scarce and expensive stall manure recommended in the literature, it is quite acceptable to use compost from bark, as a result of which the structure of the soil improves, its moisture becomes balanced and maintenance costs are reduced. The use of chopped branches and stems of plants in a mixture with chopped wood waste was also quite justified. In this case, the best result was obtained when using the named mulching materials with a thickness of 6-7 cm.

As established, under the influence of the external environment (rain, irrigation, etc.), although very small particles of mulch sink into the depths, the general structure of the mulch cover is preserved and actively interacts with the soil, and microbes are activated, and both mulch cover and and soil. The result is the decomposition of the mulch and the enrichment of the soil with humus. At the same time, moisture is well preserved in it, the appearance of weeds is suppressed, the likelihood of the formation of a soil crust is excluded, which prevents the growth of the root system of trees and shrubs. Loose mulch warms up faster, and all plants begin to vegetate earlier and faster.

There are many examples of the beneficial effects of mulch on fruit trees and shrubs. I can judge this from personal experience. One of the three one-year-old apple trees, as a result of careful late-summer mulching, bloomed a year earlier than others and also gave the first fruits earlier. And one of the gooseberry bushes, which is no different from the others, but only well mulched, gave large and tasty berries almost two years earlier. Even the currants, which seemed to have already died from the severity of the years, after good pruning and mulching with watering with herbal slurry in the spring of next year turned green and gave quite full-fledged shoots, and then berries.

In conclusion, I will give several requirements for mulching that are absent in the literature and appeared only on the basis of personal experience.

• First, before mulching the soil, you must make sure that it is well warmed up and thoroughly loosened to a depth of about 10 cm.

• Secondly, at the same time as loosening, the most malicious rhizome weeds must be removed from the soil: wheatgrass, creeping grass, bindweed, etc.

• Thirdly, in order for microorganisms to start their activity in a timely manner, mulch should be applied either in late summer or early autumn, when the land is still alive.

• Fourth, when introducing mulch, one should always strive for the diversity of its species composition and thorough mixing of its various components with each other, due to which the species composition of microorganisms participating in the formation of humus from mulch and soil will be more diverse and rich.

• Fifthly, if the mulch layer in the spring turns out to be too thick and dense, leading to negative consequences for the soil, then such mulch should be removed, then loosened again, warm up the soil and re-lay either a new mulch or the same, but thinner layer with its subsequent build-up during the summer season.

A. Veselov, gardener


The benefits of mulching. What and when to mulch the beds on the site

Good afternoon, dear friends, gardeners and gardeners! Welcome to the channel website "Country stories".

The times when gardeners in the fall swept the beds and scrubbed the soil to shine are in the past. Now only mossy dinosaurs burn fallen leaves, dry grass and other so-called garbage.

Many experienced gardeners talk and write about the benefits of mulching, that is, about the benefits of covering the soil with plant residues.

What and how to mulch?

If you mulch for several years, then the soil becomes loose and biologically active, saturated with useful animals, which does all the work for us. It is advisable to mulch in a large layer NOT LESS than 10 cm.

  • Cover the onion and garlic planted before winter with a thick layer to additionally insulate the garden bed, or to protect the garlic or onion that has come out at the wrong time.
  • We also mulch strawberries in preparation for winter. First, we clean - remove diseased leaves, do water-charging watering, apply fertilizer if necessary, and then mulch with a layer of 10 cm.
  • We also mulch tree trunks - this fertilizes, improves water-air exchange, and inhibits possible pests.
  • All berry bushes - blackberries, raspberries, currants, need autumn mulch replenishment. So they winter better and do not dry out.

The roots of the currant are very close to the soil surface, so a thick layer of mulch will make the soil loose without digging in, and the currant bush will thank you with a large, tasty berry for next year.

  • We cover all the beds that are not sown with green manure.

There is a method (double sideration) when green manure can be covered with leaves, sawdust, compost, and not buried. In the spring, the soil is more saturated with moisture, and fertility will increase significantly. You just have to make furrows or holes and plant the seedlings calmly. in more detail:

Compost is an excellent material for mulching. It is an excellent fertilizer, and also natural. Slugs will never grow in fine sifted compost. The only drawback of compost is that there is never enough of it.

Peat mulching of heavy dry soils, on which crusts can often form, will bring the maximum effect.

Peat in springtime helps the soil to warm up faster, retains moisture in it and makes the soil structure looser. It is not good to mulch all the plants in the garden with all kinds of peat. For vegetable beds, you need to choose peat not sour, but with a neutral reaction.

Sawdust is an excellent fertilizer for any type of soil, but only in combination with other organic matter. Small sawdust can be caked and taken up by the cake, which is why they must be mixed with leaves, lawn grass, etc.

Small sawdust (contrary to popular belief) does not like slugs and mice, so whoever has such problems - take this advice as a note.

In places where the soil is rarely cultivated - in flower beds or under trees, you can use shavings. Slugs do not like this material, besides, shavings rot much longer than sawdust, which makes it a convenient material.

The needles can be collected very quickly and easily under coniferous trees. The needles mix with the soil and make it well permeable. The soil with the help of needles will be reliably protected and in no case will freeze or dry out.

True, if you mulch only with needles, it can increase the acidity of the soil, and many vegetable crops do not like this. The way out of this situation is simple - to mix needles with fallen leaves, compost, grass, etc. But strawberries, raspberries and even potatoes from such mulch grow vigorously and give a gorgeous harvest.

Straw and cut grass that needs to be lightly dried enrich the soil with nutrients and increase fertility. This organic matter decomposes quickly enough, therefore, during the season, the layer needs to be replenished and mulch reported.

Leaf mulch (fallen and dry) is nature's most natural covering for your garden beds. In terms of mineral composition, leaf compost is no worse than manure. Leaves overheat very quickly, thereby enriching the soil with nutrients. This is usually the most affordable mulching material in the fall. The leaves settle quickly, leaving the soil soft and fertile.

Leaves can also be mixed with other types of mulch.

Bark of coniferous trees

This material has a decorative appearance, and it is durable, which is the advantage - the bark does not need to be replenished often, but there is also a minus - the bark is slowly absorbed by the soil and because of this poorly fertilizes it. Therefore, it is best to mulch first with grass, foliage, and bark on top.

Do mulched beds need to be watered?

Gardeners often worry if some kind of infection has lurked in the leaves, but most diseases of fruit trees are harmless to vegetable crops, especially since we all have a powerful tool - a watering can.

To improve the health of the garden, spill the mulch from the leaves with trichodermin, phytosporin, planriz. Add bitoxybacillin and lepidocide to the tank mix. This will drive away harmful insects that are going to winter, and let the beds rest calmly in winter. Such processing should be carried out on an autumn sunny day at a temperature not lower than +12 degrees.

These materials are great for covering garden beds. To prevent the newspapers from being blown away, simply cover them with earth. There is almost no nutritional value in paper, but such a trick will undoubtedly help against weeds. Remove the tape and staples before placing cardboard or newspapers on the garden bed.


Soil mulching

For better care and moisture retention in the south, mulching is indispensable. Mowed grass from the lawn, weeds weeded out, cut siderates - all for the beds and under the fruit bushes! We also actively add shavings and sawdust there. We use sawdust mulching not only in the garden and berry fields, but also on the site, where the dogs have a latrine. Sawdust perfectly absorb odor.

You should not be afraid of acidification of the soil from pine wood, because there is a lot of ash from kebabs, burnt currant branches and fruit twigs, it perfectly deoxidizes the environment. Mulching the soil with organic residues is very useful; such mulch makes an invaluable contribution to improving the microclimate of the site.

Branches less than 2 cm in diameter, raspberries and other waste from thinning the garden and fruit shrubs - into the shredder! The finest material for mulching the entire garden and vegetable garden. Durable enough and one might even say beautiful. We tried to buy imported pine bark for the heather - the enormous high cost. Why our woodworking cartels do not accumulate such waste mulching material for sale is not clear.

Twig milling as mulch has a small drawback - weeds still crawl through it, it is not very dense. But there are still more advantages. The tree perfectly absorbs and accumulates moisture, the earth under it never compresses. And about the aesthetic appearance has already been mentioned. Pour raspberry grind under fruit, grind from fruit - under raspberries. So we reduce the effect of allelopathy, specialized bacteria do not accumulate.

Annual mulching of trees, or rather tree trunks, in addition to preserving moisture and protecting from weeds, eliminates the need to loosen the soil. In general, we have already abandoned loosening everywhere - we do not disturb the soil, not only in the garden, but also in the garden. And although mulching with grass from mowing the lawn and sod in the garden is carried out weekly, the mulching layer melts before our eyes. This indicates the activity of our microenvironment - fungi, microbes and worms quickly process all organic matter, return nutrients to plants. Together with this, carbon dioxide is released, which is also needed for plant growth. Therefore, mulching beds with plant residues for agrotechnical significance is much more useful than composting in the backyards.


What is mulch and how to use it

Mulching is the covering of the earth's surface with any material that will regulate the air and water regimes in the upper layers of the soil. As mulch, you can use a special coating sold in the store, as well as improvised materials: cut grass without seeds, fallen leaves or humus, expanded clay, compost, peat, sea pebbles or small stones, needles or fallen cones, husks, crushed tree bark, chips, shavings, plastic films, paper, fabrics, etc.

Each type of mulch is suitable for a particular crop, since the degree of hydro and thermal insulation, the rate of decomposition of the material differ. Improper use of this agricultural technique can lead to the appearance of mold, pests, drying out of the soil. You can experiment on your own, or listen to the advice of experienced gardeners. For example, not all types of mulch are suitable for heat-loving plants (tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, peppers), since they contribute to the appearance of fungal diseases, slugs, and harmful insects.

You can mulch the soil only after it warms up, preferably in late spring or early summer. If you cover the heated soil, its temperature will be 2-3 degrees higher, but if you hurry, the mulch, on the contrary, will prevent heating. In addition, the soil must be moist, but not soggy, otherwise the soil may become too compacted.

Choose a time to mulch, preferably after rain or watering. Remove all weeds and debris, apply and lightly cover with fertilizer, loosen. Cover the ground with mulching material evenly, leaving a space between the plant stems and the mulch for air to circulate. The layer of green material must be thin, otherwise it will rot, and the layer of dry material, for example, straw or stones, can be up to 5-8 cm thick.For shrubs, the mulching radius can be up to 50 cm, for trees - up to 80 cm.


How to use mulching as fertilizer?

Many types of fertilizers are quite expensive. Sawdust in this regard is a very profitable option, in addition, they are absolutely safe. They serve as the basis for a nutritional complex.

The best way to prepare it is to run the sawdust through the compost. However, remember that it is forbidden to put clean, fresh sawdust into the soil (as fertilizer).


It is necessary to apply natural fertilizer based on mulch and compost in the spring, because certain, rather high temperatures are required for decay.

Fresh sawdust is not a fertilizer, it is extremely low in nitrogen, it is fibrous and contains cellulose.

However, the lignin contained in the mulch helps to form the trunk of the plant, conducts nutrients to it.

After some time, microorganisms begin to use mulch as a medium, saturating wood chips with useful elements.

If the sawdust is not placed in the compost pit, the soil rotting process will take several years. In compost, this period can be significantly reduced.

Sawdust compost is quite easy to make. We take large quantities of fresh shavings, urea, water, ash as ingredients.

If you have household organic waste, straw, grass - then they can also be added to the compost pit.

Urea is first dissolved in water, and then the materials of the future fertilizer are watered. You can also add manure to enhance the beneficial properties.

Do not forget to paint the curbs and fences again after the work carried out in order to give the summer cottage a cozy look.


Site about a garden, a summer residence and houseplants.

In the long-standing debate about "dig or not dig", advocates of "lazy" cultivation have a new argument.

To dig or not to dig? How to use mulch and green manure correctly? After all, what happens in practice: we discuss new agricultural practices, agree, nod, but we still dig up the soil every year (or even twice a year), destroy its structure, and destroy soil living creatures.

Moreover, as a result of hard physical labor, we acquire various ailments. A decent result, there is nothing to say ...

Of course, it is scary to break the established traditions.

I also had doubts at first, but this episode pushed me to the decision to stop unnecessary digging.


Watch the video: Gardeners World 2021 Episode 7