It is customary for summer residents to dig up the beds in the fall after harvesting. This work is laborious, and the quality of the soil does not improve, but decreases.
Gardeners using organic farming methods have a different approach to gardening. Let's look at how to properly prepare a vegetable garden for winter.
Why do you need a "blanket" for the garden?
The uncovered soil collapses and does not rest. In organic farming, soil is treated like a living being. It is made alive by a large mass of soil organisms - small soil animals and bacteria, which create the basis of soil fertility.
When the top layer of the soil dries up and freezes, those inhabitants of the soil who are able to move go into the depths... The rest go into a state of dormancy or die. When sowing in the spring, the lifeless soil with great difficulty provides nutrition to the short roots of the seedlings.
Hence, it is clear that it is best to cover the land for the winter - to mulch it. When using organic farming, mulching is considered to be quite an important technique. It ensures the preservation of the fertility of the uppermost soil layer, which is most important for the process of feeding the roots.
The main task of winter mulch is the ability to protect the upper soil layer from freezing and drying out with a fur coat.
Coarse mulch is used for winter mulching. It includes post-harvest residues, peat (not sour), fallen leaves, sawdust, hay, straw. The layer of mulch has a thickness of 6 to 8 cm. After harvesting, perennial weeds are removed, the soil is loosened, compost is applied, and the top is covered with mulch.
Fresh sawdust contains many tannins. They inhibit plant growth. For winter mulching, only rotted sawdust is used.... The most suitable material is hay and straw. They ensure the creation of a loose heat-protective layer, and they can be left on the beds for the whole summer.
Other materials are poorly permeable to air, and in the spring, immediately after frosts, they must be removed so that there are no obstacles to warming the soil. In the form of mulch, semi-rotted coarse compost can be used. They directly cover the soil before the first frosts, and in the spring, after thawing, the soil is sealed to a depth of 10 to 15 cm.
All of these materials are so-called organic mulch. There is inorganic mulch - film, expanded clay, gravel. There is an opinion that inorganic mulch is not suitable for winter mulching. Can gravel or sheeting provide frost protection as effectively as a sawdust or straw coat?
A little imagination is enough to independently choose the material necessary for winter mulching. For winter mulch, you need to make completely different requirements than for summer mulch.
In addition to protecting the soil surface, summer mulch performs very important functions: moisture preservation, weed control, fertilization, etc. Black film, weeds, cut grass are excellent for these requirements. This is not required from winter mulch, so other materials are used for it.
If, after the early crops have been harvested, 1.5 - 2 months remain before the onset of frost, then you can mulch the garden with green fertilizer.
Some types of fast-growing plants are useful here, for example, wheat, oats, mustard, horse beans. In autumn they do not need to be removed, they can be left in the garden so that they can cover the soil surface. In the spring, they close it up on the sternum from 10 to 15 cm.
Winter mulch not only protects the soil, but is also an effective way of freezing the organs of perennial plants and roots.
Planting of perennial onions needs mulching. Frost, especially during cold, snowless winters, can damage the roots of berry bushes and fruit trees. Trunk circles can be covered with mulch for the winter, 0.5 m recedes from the trunk to the crown perimeter.
Under berry bushes and fruit trees, mulch can be covered with an old film for the winter. Some pests winter in the soil (currant moth, flower beetle), and they wake up in early spring, emerge from the soil and begin to move to plants. The film can make it difficult for them to move, which reduces damage.