Mulch: compost or non-decomposed organic matter?
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What works more efficiently in the beds?
Some letters that I received from readers, gardeners, contained the statement that mulching the beds with ready-made compost is much more effective than with unripened organic matter. One of the authors even argued that mulching with unripe organic matter is harmful.
Let's see if this is so.
Potatoes and onions grow on mulch
Let's first look at the main functions that mulch performs.
Under a thick layer of organic mulch, moisture is maintained, temperature drops between day and night are reduced, and the structure of the soil is improved. The best conditions are created for the development of soil microorganisms, for which mulch serves as food. Under the mulch, the vital activity of earthworms is activated, as a result of which it becomes looser and does not clog after rains and watering. Under the influence of microorganisms and worms, organic matter inedible for plants decomposes into assimilable mineral elements, with the formation of humus.
Mulch, covering the surface of the soil, inhibits the process of destruction of humus under the influence of the sun. A layer of mulch significantly reduces the amount of weeds in the beds. Thanks to mulch, the top layer of the soil always remains loose, and additional loosening is not required after watering. When organic mulch decomposes, microorganisms release a large amount of carbon dioxide, which is necessary for photosynthesis.
In due time I have tested different materials for mulching. I had the experience of mulching with compost and humus. Based on this experience, I can say the following.
In order to use compost as mulch, it still needs to be prepared. You need to collect the organic matter, grind it, put it in a heap, wait for the organic matter to grind it, take it to the beds. These are considerable labor costs, additional space, and time. In addition, when composting, the amount of organic matter is reduced by four times. This means that if this same organic matter is not composted, but applied in an undecomposed form, then the same amount of organic matter can be used to mulch a four times larger area. Or make the mulch layer thick. This is just the answer to those who claim that the lack of compost prevents them from mulching all the beds. These facts alone make one think about the advisability of using compost as mulch. Non-decomposed organic matter is capable of performing all the functions of mulch, in some cases much better than compost.
The main argument of proponents of compost mulch is that compost is ready-made food for plants. But as a fertilizer, compost, spread in a thin layer on the surface of the garden, will work only with frequent watering. More precisely, you need to keep this layer always moist. If you do not do this, then this layer dries quickly. Plants use nutrients only in solutions. No solutions - no nutrition.
You can, of course, use a thick layer of compost. But then this very compost will need much more, which in turn will increase labor costs. An active humus mineralization occurs on the surface of the open soil. Humus is simply destroyed. It turns out that the gardener composts organic matter to obtain humus. And then, using ready-made compost as mulch, he himself contributes to the destruction of humus. What then is the point of such work? If you have ready-made compost, then it is advisable to place it under the mulch to avoid its destruction.
The color of the finished compost is dark brown or black. This color contributes to the absorption of sunlight, strong heating of the ridges. The loose structure of the compost in this regard only slightly corrects the situation. Undecomposed organic matter is usually light. It reflects a large amount of sunlight, which greatly reduces the heating of the soil. The thermal conductivity of any undecomposed organic matter is lower than the thermal conductivity of the finished compost, therefore, such mulch saves from overheating better. In addition, the sun's rays reflected from the light mulch contribute to the enhancement of photosynthesis. A thin layer of compost in heavy rain very weakly protects the soil from the impact of drops, and itself is washed off into the lowered places of the garden. Non-decomposed organics are much better at solving these problems.
All of the above is more about the classic use of mulch - as a covering material. If there are compost paths, more mulch in the beds is not required. But, nevertheless, mulch can be used not only as a covering material, but as food for plants after processing it by soil digestive devices. In order to enhance these processes, in addition to proper nutrition (non-fermented organic matter) and microbes, moisture, heat and crushing of organic residues are needed. When such conditions are created, mulch will be sufficient for plant nutrition. If you choose this approach to mulch, you will have to add a new layer of mulch every two to three weeks - due to active decomposition, the organic layer will quickly decrease. And keep the bottom layer of the mulch moist.
Good luck with your gardening business!
Oleg Telepov, member of the Omsk club of potato growers
Pest and disease control using natural farming methods
“Nothing is said anywhere about pests. And at the same time, they usually write that they are hiding in plant debris. How, then, to deal with them? "
The issue of pest control in the framework of natural agriculture is the most difficult for gardeners and gardeners who are accustomed to traditional agricultural technology to understand. It is difficult not because everything is very difficult, but quite the opposite. The whole strategy of protecting crops in natural farming comes down to a complete rejection of pest control. This is what gardeners most often cannot accept. How not to fight like that? And, nevertheless, this principle works. I can declare this with full responsibility based on my own experience. There are more striking examples from the experience of gardeners, in areas of which there are no problems with pests. There are many of them. The most famous of them are Ivan Parfentievich Zamyatkin from the Krasnoyarsk Territory and Alexander Ivanovich Kuznetsov from Altai. On the sites of these people, a biocenosis has been created - a natural balance in which the number of pests and diseases is regulated by the system itself without human intervention.
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Types of smart beds
During the development of the agrotechnical method, a lot of varieties of smart beds have appeared. Fences for such structures are different: boards, plywood, slate, iron, brick, stones, ready-made plastic and metal structures. There is a separate type of lazy beds without sides. In general, their structure is the same, with the difference that they are not so tall. Depending on the material used, it takes a different amount of time to make smart beds.
The beds also differ in width, which depends on the personal preferences of the gardener and the size of the land plot. The narrower they are, the easier it is to process them. The minimum width is 40 cm. Wide ones have another plus - they significantly save space and allow rational use of small plots of land.
The easiest way to create a smart garden bed, which does not require construction skills and expensive materials, is to deepen the layers directly into the ground. Mark a site for planting crops and dig a hole 2 bayonets deep in the selected area.
The advantages of this type of smart beds are the simplicity and ease of organization - you can make them on virgin soil, on a finished lawn or on poor soil. The advanced version allows, in a short time, without serious and expensive agrotechnical solutions, to provide cultivated plants with the conditions they need: food, moisture and heat.
The height of the raised beds is 10-20 cm above the ground level. They look very neat and can be of any shape. This option is created according to the general principle:
- a place is planned for a smart garden
- soil is removed to a depth of 30-40 cm
- the sides are organized from wooden boards or any available material
- layers of straw and compost are laid out alternately
- the last layer is a 10 cm cushion of fertile soil.
Raised smart beds in practice turn out to be not entirely comfortable, they are rather low, and when working with them, the back is under heavy strain. However, experienced gardeners, who are accustomed to dealing with a classic vegetable garden, are no stranger to such difficulties, and they will not have to "tinker" with the soil, since weeds are not expected.
Initially, tall smart beds were created in areas with heavy rains and swampiness. Their multilayer structure ensures optimal drainage - excess moisture freely goes to the lower levels. Subsequently, high beds fell in love with all gardeners because of the convenience of work. At the level of 30 to 80 cm, it is much more comfortable to manipulate crops, mulch and loosen, and the supply of nutrients in the soil will be more than enough for several years.
- Find and clear a spot for the garden bed.
- Make a box of a suitable height from the materials at hand (planks, bricks, metal sheets or plastic plates).
- Install a fine metal mesh on the bottom - this measure is necessary to prevent rodents from accessing ripening root crops and warm soil.
- To exclude the germination of weeds, geotextiles can be laid out on top. But such a complete isolation of the bed will not allow earthworms to get into the soil, namely, they must carry out the composting process.
- Then a 10-centimeter drainage layer of crushed stone, expanded clay or broken brick is laid out.
- The standard "climbing" of the smart bed is laid out on the drainage, culminating in a 10-centimeter layer of fertile soil.
When sowing seeds in such a bed, you need to wait until the sprouts get stronger - until this time, it is recommended to keep the frame covered with a film or geotextile to prevent weed seeds from entering the soil. When the plants are ready for growing outdoors, the soil is mulched with a thick layer of at least 10 cm.
Warm smart beds may well compete with the greenhouse. They are able to provide a bountiful harvest of absolutely all crops, especially those that require "hot" conditions for development and fruiting.
The frame of such a bed completely repeats a high-type box, the differences lie in the filling. The composition of the layers will be as follows:
- Sawdust, doused with boiling water and soaked in a slightly pink solution of potassium permanganate - 15 cm.
- Organic matter (fallen leaves, manure and bird droppings) - 15 cm.
- Rapidly decaying organic matter (compost and cut grass) - 10 cm.
- Fertile soil mixed with mineral fertilizers - 20 cm.
Chopped leaves are the most natural mulching material. They can be useful just about anywhere. In addition, the leaves are readily available in large quantities.
If you lay a mulching layer in the garden in the fall, then it will begin to rot before the spring plantings.
Straw and hay are already proven mulching materials. They protect the soil well from destruction and protect the lower leaves of plants from diseases, keeping them clean. Straw decay is slow, and therefore it will work during the entire active period.
Keywords: mulch, mulching, application, how to use, organic, organic fertilization, root protection, mulching methods, leaves, tree bark, hay, straw, Compost, grass cuttings, garden, vegetable garden, when to mulch
Description of the book "Garden and vegetable garden: we do everything on time. We sow, fertilize, collect"
Description and summary "Garden and vegetable garden: we do everything on time. We sow, fertilize, collect" read for free online.
Have you noticed? In spring, time seems to be shrinking, and many are surprised to find that they are already late to sow seeds for seedlings or put trapping belts on tree trunks. Therefore, so that summer does not come suddenly, you need to draw up a plan of all work in advance and follow it, making only adjustments to the dates of their implementation, depending on the vagaries of the weather. As a basis, you can take the calendar of work in the garden and vegetable garden, proposed by the author of the book, a gardener with 55 years of experience, Galina Aleksandrovna Kizima. You will also find in the book folk weather signs for each month and a detailed Lunar calendar for several years in advance.
Garden and vegetable garden: we do everything on time. We sow, we fertilize, we collect
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© AST Publishing House LLC, 2015
My Tips for Reasonably Lazy Gardeners
It would be nice for all mature gardeners to become reasonably lazy. It should be remembered that we are not for the garden, but it is for us. It is necessary to organize the business in such a way so that not only to work in the garden from dawn to dawn, but also to have time to rest and admire their achievements, otherwise many will plant flowers, and for the whole season they cannot find a look at them for a minute. As they say, in order to work less, you have to think more. So what can you offer for the sanely lazy?
1. Plan your work ahead of time, highlighting the most urgent and important ones. Everything must be done on time, then you will have time for everything, and even time will remain, because most of the work can be done in the fall after harvesting.
2. The most difficult job on the site is to dig the ground. Do not dig, but loosen, for this you need to make the soil in your area light and loose, if necessary, then make it artificial. I already wrote about this in the book "As you sit, so you eat."
3. Another equally laborious job is weeding. Do not water. Or use the advice of Dr. Mietlider: with a high concentration of mineral salts, weeds on his beds do not grow, but only grow on an earthen roller around the garden. To prevent this, the rollers fall apart as soon as weed shoots appear, and a day later they rake around the beds again. You can surround the beds with boards, poles, and on the garden bed itself, pre-grow the weeds under the film, and as soon as their shoots appear, remove the film, loosen the soil and leave the weeds for a day without shelter, as a result of which they all die. After that, you can sow cultivated plants, but you cannot dig up such a bed, otherwise you will again bring weed seeds to the surface from a deeper layer of soil, and they will grow again. In spring, when sowing, sow the prepared bed as soon as the soil is prepared, without delaying this work for a minute, so as not to give the weeds the opportunity to overtake the cultivated plants.
To avoid weeding strawberries, plant them on a black spunbond. In this case, watering will not be required, there will be no disease of the berries with gray rot, the mustache will not take root, and the processing of the bushes will be greatly simplified.
Do not water the weeds under berry bushes and trees, but only cut them off at the level of the soil with a special weeder, or with a sharply sharpened shovel or Fokin flat cutter and leave them right there under the plants.Firstly, this is the organic matter necessary for plants, and secondly, mulch, which protects the topsoil from drying out, which halves the amount of watering. Thirdly, it is not necessary to carry the weeds into the compost, in order to then return the rotted compost back under the bushes - let them rot naturally on the spot. And fourthly, the mulch layer inhibits the growth of weeds, so they will grow less and less. Pour all the slops and water from the wash one by one directly under the apple trees, and so that flies do not start in the slops, cover them with cut weeds. And do not be afraid of pests supposedly hibernating under a layer of this mulch - there are no less and no more of them than usual. Digging of the trunk circles is not required either. When treating the garden from pests in autumn, spray not only the plantings, but also the soil under them - the pests will die.
4. Another time consuming job is watering. So that the seeds sown in spring do not dry out, they must be covered with foil or double spanbond immediately after sowing and the foil should be removed only after germination, and the spunbond should be left in a single layer - then there will be no need to fight pests. Systematic watering is required only for young shoots of greens and vegetables in the spring, and starting from the moment the root crop or bulb is tied, watering should be stopped altogether. Only cabbage and radishes need constant watering. Cucumbers can be immediately planted on a gel (Aquadon) that retains moisture in the soil, then they can be watered once every two weeks. Many people think that zucchini and pumpkins also need constant watering, like, say, cucumbers. And they are mistaken, because, unlike cucumbers, these crops are drought-resistant, and they need to be watered in moderation.
In greenhouses, it is best to organize drip irrigation; for this, two-liter plastic water bottles must be inserted between each four plants, from which, of course, you must unscrew the corks and make holes with a hot nail along the side surface on the lower third of the bottle. This part of the bottle should be in the soil. If the water runs out too quickly, you need to turn the bottle several times so that an earthen plug forms in the holes. Water will slowly seep into the root zone, and the roots, in search of moisture, will all gather around the drinking bowl. Such a root system is not afraid of drought, unlike the pampered one, which is watered all the time in excess, and therefore is in the upper layer and, naturally, easily dies in the slightest drought, so you have to carry water to greenhouses all the time. In these plastic drinkers, you can pour not water, but a weak solution of mineral fertilizers, then the plants will constantly receive not only water, but also top dressing. And you will have less work. You can run hoses with small holes along the entire length of the bed and connect them to a container into which you will pour the mild fertilizer solution.
5. Another favorite activity you can avoid is pest and disease control. No one attacks healthy plants, because they quickly synthesize protein, and there is more of it in the cell sap than carbohydrates, and pests, as you know, prefer sugar, that is, carbohydrates. In weakened plants, protein synthesis is slow and carbohydrates predominate in the cell sap, and it is them that pests are looking for to feed themselves. So try to keep the plants in your area healthy, help them, if necessary, to strengthen their own immune system with the help of the latest preparations of biological origin. Use good seeds of zoned varieties, plant varieties and hybrids that are resistant to common diseases in our country, do not use pesticides - do not interfere with beneficial insects and birds to cope with pests themselves. And to strengthen the immune system of plants, spray your garden with Silk (or Novosil), Zircon, Epin-extra, Energen or Healthy Garden - this is good for plants and harmless for beneficial insects and birds, and your own liver.
6. You will need to apply organic matter in the fall only to the beds, because under the bushes and trees it will accumulate over the summer itself. You will not remove the fallen leaves - one less work, and mineral fertilizers can be applied in very small quantities and, moreover, once every three years, if you use the new AVA fertilizer. So they avoided one more laborious business - to carry mineral fertilizers to the site every year.
7. Spring planting can be made easier by starching the seeds onto toilet paper in the winter between times. In the spring, all that remains is to roll out the rolls on a moistened bed and sprinkle on top with a layer of prepared soil - that's the whole sowing.
8. We grow old with the garden, and therefore try to organize your flower gardens in such a way that they do not require a lot of work from you. Therefore, if you are not young anymore, give up rocky and alpine hills, too complex flower beds or too whimsical flowers. Leave those that do not require constant care: astilbe, phlox, chamomile, perennial bells and asters, hosts, lupines, daylilies, Siberian irises, peonies, lilies (Asian hybrids are best), daffodils - this is the small assortment on which you can stop, and then it's up to your taste to arrange them on the site so that they please the eye all summer.
You can generally limit yourself to a few conifers, ferns and a couple of bushes with decorative foliage. Of the annuals, it is also best to sow those that do not require growing seedlings: cornflowers, poppies, including escholzia, nemesia, mattiola, cosmea. You just sow them in early spring scattered on wet soil - and that's it.
Calendar of work for the whole year in the garden and vegetable garden
What, when and how to do in the garden
The calendar, addressed to amateur gardeners, lists by month the main work that needs to be done in the garden, in the garden, in the flower garden during the year. But the weather, as you know, the young lady is capricious, and for example, the onset of spring can be shifted two weeks earlier or later relative to the calendar date, so the timing of these works is indicated approximately. It is also important to take into account the difference in the timing of plant development in the south and north. So, the beginning of sap movement in plants in the south begins, on average, a month and a half earlier than in the north, so you should not literally follow the calendar, it is much more important to closely monitor the condition of the plants in your area and, taking into account local weather conditions, timely carry out the recommended in the work calendar.
Better than compost and humus: active mulch for super yields
Not everyone knows that mulch can be active. She is able to work wonders with your plants right before your eyes, making them healthier and allowing you to get maximum yields. And active mulch also has one advantage that makes it even more valuable than compost or humus. If you are interested in learning more about the charms and intricacies of this phenomenon, read this article further ...
Watch the video: How to Make Fast Compost, Time-lapse of Compost Breakdown in 3 Days