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For any gardener and gardener, the question of the quality of the land in his beds and flower beds is the most burning issue. Both those who started cultivating their land from scratch and others who have inherited cultivated land for many years are equally concerned about how to arrange and maintain the fertility of their land. Indeed, without special care, the land is very quickly overgrown with weeds and it is already difficult to grow something on it. But, on the other hand, the care can be so intense that after a few years, even on the initially good land, the harvest will fall, and it will be harder and harder to care for it.
This article will consider the main so-called difficult soil types in Russia. The basic options for arranging beds on various types of land will be described.
Good soil for plants - what is it
Of course, for each type of plant, including garden plants, ideas about the ideal land may differ slightly. Some like the lighter, others the heavier. Some prefer a slightly alkaline reaction of the environment, while others serve acidic peat bogs. But still, for most garden crops there are more or less general average requirements for the land, without which they either will not grow at all, or the yields will be minimal.
So, what are the main properties of the land so that the plants can develop well and delight you with their productivity.
- Sufficient breathability. It often refers to loose soil, but this is not always the case. Sometimes good soil with many air capillaries may look relatively dense, but this is only at first glance.
- Moisture permeability and moisture capacity. Ideally, the earth should simultaneously conduct moisture well and retain some of it, so that moisture remains inside the soil layer in any weather and at any temperature.
- Neutral reaction of the environment. Since the overwhelming majority of lands on the territory of Russia are rather acidic, only a limited set of crops can grow on them. Most garden plants need a neutral or slightly alkaline environment. In any case, it is initially better to start from a neutral environment, and then, as individual crops with specific requirements are grown, adjust the reaction of the environment in the right direction.
- Saturation of the soil with nutrients is desirable in a form that is easily digestible for plants. This can be achieved using both mineral and organic fertilizers. But, given that future food products will be grown on this land, it is better to give preference to organics. Moreover, it acts softer and more durable than mineral fertilizers.
The fastest solution to the problem
Unfortunately, not all gardeners can boast that they have land in their garden beds or in the garden that has all of the above properties. Otherwise, they would hardly be interested in the topic of this article. And there is also a whole army of newcomers who have just received land and, in general, do not know what to do with it, and whether anything cultural will grow on it. Therefore, the creation of suitable land for the beds is more than an urgent problem for most gardeners.
For those who are desperate to grow something satisfactory on their land, or those who have just acquired uncultivated land, the most convenient and fastest option seems to be to buy and bring one or more machines of fertile soil to the site. Then carefully scatter this land throughout the site, or form ready-made beds from it, or even fill it with the so-called high beds, and grow whatever your heart desires. Apart from the high financial costs, it seems that this option has no disadvantages.
Indeed, the composition of fertile land, which is offered for sale by many specialized companies, is quite attractive: 50% peat, 30% black soil and 20% sand. But even if this composition is fully respected, the newly brought land will have enough resources for growth for a maximum of several years. Then you will still have to do something with it. Not to mention the fact that if you just scatter it around the site, it will quickly mix with the original soil, it will quickly be occupied by weeds and everything will return to normal.
But the main problem, perhaps, is that anything can be in the composition of this so-called fertile soil. The so-called black soil can be dug from a neighboring lawn and turn out to be an ordinary swampy land, often acquiring a black color. Even if black soil was brought from the southern regions, then it could be taken from completely exhausted industrial fields, fertilized for many years with shock doses of chemicals. Peat may be high-moor and not completely decomposed with an acidic reaction.
Therefore, this option can work quite well only if a reliable supplier is found and not the entire territory of the garden is backfilled, but only high beds specially erected for these purposes.
Tall beds or boxes are now in vogue. For many owners of small plots of land from 6 to 20 acres, they really are the solution to many problems. This is both a neat type of garden, and a small laboriousness in further caring for them, and, most importantly, a good and fast growth of almost all cultivated plants in these structures. It's just that making such beds is not an easy job, although it pays off quickly enough - already in the current season.
Tall beds can be of different sizes. There are so-called boxes, their height usually does not exceed 10-20 cm, and they are made from wide boards or from slate. However, it is not forbidden to use any materials at hand, as long as they keep the shape of the garden. More permanent structures are erected from bricks, stones, blocks or concrete. They are usually higher in height - they can reach 50 or even 70 cm. At the very bottom of such beds, coarse organic material is placed - rotten boards, logs, hemp. A little higher is placed the material "softer" - branches, wood chips, bark, all this is flavored with a thick layer of manure, maybe even half-decomposed, and watered abundantly with water. Then any organic material, such as hay, straw, sawdust, cut grass, is laid in layers and shifted with humus. It is advisable to sprinkle or spill each layer of 5 cm with any complex of beneficial microorganisms. Now there are many of them on sale. Baikal, Radiance, Emochki and so on. The topmost layer in the bed, at least 7-8 cm thick, consists of compost or soil mixed with humus. For small in height boxes, there can be about two or three layers, for high ones - more than a dozen.
There is no need to mix them, everything will be done for you by microorganisms that will settle in such a bed and will constantly maintain the most favorable conditions for plant growth in it. All you have to do is to regularly sprinkle a mixture of earth with compost or even clean compost on top.
Options for arranging beds on what is
For most gardeners, the option of purchasing land is impossible, due to the high cost of materials or because of the large areas of the garden and vegetable garden. What can you advise in such cases?
In fact, there are no bad lands. On any of them, you can grow very good harvests of even the most capricious crops. Simply for this you need to take into account the peculiarities of those lands that you got, and turn their disadvantages into advantages. And, of course, use the knowledge suggested by nature itself.
First of all, you need to understand the difference between humus and compost.
Humus is completely decomposed manure. Accordingly, if you do not have a cow or at least chickens, then you will have to buy it.
Compost is a collection of all kinds of organic residues, primarily plant residues, flavored with waste from your table. It completely turns into humus only after a year or two. With the use of compost maturation accelerators, this process can be accelerated several times.
Some of the best for growing any plant, because they have the following advantages:
- They accumulate heat;
- Create a favorable environment for root development;
- They retain moisture well with a large layer thickness.
The main disadvantage of sandy lands is the poverty in the content of nutrients and their easy leaching from it.
Accordingly, the main technique for improving sandy lands is the regular application of fertilizers, best of all organic. Moreover, you can use both humus and compost. But compost for use on sandy soils is preferable, since it is not yet completely decomposed plant debris. This means that when organic matter is washed out of the sand, it will constantly come in the right quantities from the compost that continues to decompose.
Another technique for improving sandy lands is to add some clay to them to improve the adhesion of soil particles.
This is a fairly common type of land, which is a heavy loam or clay in combination with a high level of groundwater.
This is a difficult type of land, and gardeners prefer to make high ridges with loose earth on them, assuming that nothing else can be done with them. In principle, this is one of the correct approaches, especially when considering trees and shrubs, which require a large layer of breathable soil. For ordinary garden plants, there are other methods.
It will be useful to install drainage ditches, which will allow the groundwater level to be lowered by a few centimeters and the earth will dry out slightly.
It is advisable to prepare such lands for planting in the fall, then during the winter they will have time to ripen and all harmful secretions will evaporate. They must be dug very shallowly, by a maximum of 10 cm. It is imperative to apply ash on the soil surface after digging, since these lands are usually highly acidified. Applying large amounts of organic debris will also help the soil ripen faster by spring. But mineral fertilizers can only harm in this situation.
Attention! The best way to improve such land is to sow green manure before winter.
In the spring, the earth is no longer dug up, but simply loosened up along with the plant remains from the sown green manure. This land is already quite suitable for the beds. Although good yields can begin to be harvested only a couple of years after the constant introduction of organic materials, ash and growing green manure beds in the vacated beds.
Only a rather meager assortment of vegetables grows on these lands, primarily due to a lack of heat. Therefore, the most common way in these conditions is soil insulation. To do this, a trench is dug at the site of the future bed, at least 50 -70 cm deep. Any heat-insulating materials are placed at the bottom of the trench: from logs and boards to empty closed plastic bottles. From above, the trench is filled with a mixture of earth, humus and compost.
So, in order to significantly improve the land for the beds on your site, you need:
- Grow green manures regularly on your plot to obtain a large volume of organic matter for compost and beds.
- Form compost heaps annually for regular replenishment of tall and regular beds.
- Constantly mulch the soil in the beds with a layer of mown grass or straw.
If you follow all the above recommendations, the land for your beds will soon satisfy all the most sophisticated requirements of the most capricious crops, wherever you are.