Proper preparation of beds in the fall
Now is the very beginning of autumn, the whole crop has not even been harvested from the site. But you may not believe that in order to ensure the harvest of the next season, the vacated soil, under future beds, it is time to start cooking. And this is not a joke at all: you need to prepare this soil not anyhow, but correctly, so as not to be disappointed in the harvest of next year. How to prepare beds, how to dig and fertilize correctly for the most common vegetable crops right now, we will tell you today.
It is clear that the formation of the aboveground mass, the formation of the crop, which we harvest, consume or put in storage, leads to the removal of various elements from the soil. First of all, it is the well-known nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. So, immediately after the harvest and when preparing the beds for the new season, it is advisable to fill the deficit of these elements in the soil, although it is not visible to the naked eye.
The autumn period is almost an ideal period for applying various kinds of fertilizers that “reach” the soil in winter, and plants sown or planted on the beds we made will begin to consume them in an accessible form, rather than waiting until they turn into such, losing valuable time on their development and making us wait longer for the harvest.
For example, organics and various minerals: in fact, any vegetable crops perceive and react to them purely positively. However, in order for the root system to perceive one or another element, it must already be in an accessible, dissolved form, and this takes time. This is exactly the time that winter is.
Of course, when choosing fertilizers, a number of factors must be taken into account - this is the biology of the culture, which will continue to grow at this place, and the type of soil (heavy, sandy soil, black soil, and so on) and even weather conditions at a given time that determine including soil condition.
So, there is enough reasoning, we go directly to the rules for preparing beds in the autumn season for the next season.
Why prepare beds in advance?
Such a question is often asked: after all, there is spring when you can catch time and prepare beds, and sow seeds, and plant seedlings. Yes, it’s absolutely true, but, firstly, not all fertilizers will have time to transfer to the form accessible to plants, as we said above, and secondly, spring is so short-lived that in fact you can simply not have time to do everything, like necessary. Remember the Russian proverb with the words of a peasant peasant: “In the spring, drop your hat - I will not lift it” (that is, it is so busy).
On top of everything, if we prepare the beds for winter in the autumn, think for yourself how much we will ease the spring care: all you need to do is loosen the finished beds, make holes for planting seedlings or furrows to sow seeds, and start regular procedures associated with seedlings or seedlings, without rushing anywhere and not being late.
In what sequence to prepare the beds?
First of all, you need to clean the places of future beds from weeds and plant debris and burn them outside the territory of the site, although if they are without signs of disease, then it is quite possible to put them in a compost heap, and then make fertilizer for digging the soil and, if necessary then, along with fertilizers, add chalk or lime to bring the pH back to normal.
You need to clean the weeds as carefully as possible, all creeping weeds, wheat grass with parts of its root system and dandelions should simply be eliminated (uprooted) from the garden in all possible ways, they should not be there, no matter how much effort you spend on this.
When the soil is free of weeds and plant debris, that is, it is in its pure form, it can be enriched with the necessary elements for each plant - these are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Since nothing will grow on these beds this season, urea (20-25 g per square meter), superphosphate (18-20 g per square meter) and potassium chloride (15-20 g per square meter) can be added. ) In this case, potassium chloride should not be afraid, because until spring chlorine is neutralized and will be safe for plants. In addition, it is advisable to introduce well-rotted manure at 5-6 kg per square meter, or humus (3-4 kg per square meter) and wood ash (furnace or soot) at 250-300 g per square meter of soil.
If the soils of your site are heavy and clay, then you need to bring river sand per bucket per square meter, preferably interspersed with compost in the same amount, this will increase the looseness of the soil and increase its fertility.
Sandy soils poorly retain moisture and nutrients, here it is necessary to add a clay bucket per square meter, as well as well-rotted compost (5-6 kg per square meter), leaf humus (3-4 kg per square meter) and sawdust (bucket per square meter). Be careful about sawdust - they can acidify the soil, so you need to use the most gray, that is, almost overripe sawdust.
Soils are acidic, where the acid-base balance (pH) below 6.0 must be chalked or chalked. If the acidity is lower than 4.5, then lime should be used at 200-250 g per square meter, if the acidity is from 5.5 to 4.6, then chalk: add 250-300 g of chalk per square meter.
Naturally, fertilizers, chalk, and lime - all this in the autumn period when preparing the beds is made for digging, by initially spreading it over the surface and filling it up later by digging a shovel for a full bayonet.
How to dig beds?
Usually, there are two main options for digging the soil - this is a non-stocking method and a dumping method. Let's start with the subsurface digging method. With the non-dumping method, they try to dig so that the earthen lump for the most part does not break and does not turn over. The purpose of such a digging of the soil is to maximize the preservation of beneficial microflora of both the lower and upper layers of the soil. Lumps of land are also not broken.
With the dumping method, digging the soil lumps turns over and breaks. Usually, the second option is often used in the preparation of beds in the fall. Thus, we cover the fertilizers deep into the soil, and with them chalk or lime, if necessary, and literally pull out the wintering stages of pests and diseases to the surface.
At the same time, it is undesirable to break up clods of soil, because the soil in this case will freeze to great depths, disinfected as much as possible. But if you decide to prepare a full-fledged garden bed with clearly defined edges and in the spring do not care about breaking up clods, then it is better to bring the digging task to the end: break the clods, level the bed and make a bed a couple of centimeters higher by pouring layers of soil when digging into each other. soil level, so that as a result, the soil warms up faster than on the rest of the site.
Preparation of beds for certain crops
So, we talked about how to prepare the garden in general. There is nothing complicated about it: we clear the plot, we make fertilizers for digging, we try to dig the bed with an increase in the soil level, thus outlining the edges of the future bed, but this is in general. It seems to us that we need to tell also about how to properly prepare the garden bed for the main crops, which certainly are in every garden, the garden beds for them can also be prepared in the fall.
So, in order for the beetroot to spoil well, you need to choose the most lit area where the soil is light and well-drained. Ideally, of course, a beet bed in the fall should be prepared on sandy loam and loam with necessarily neutral acidity. On heavy clay soils, for example, beets will grow poorly even with sufficient nutrition. You should also avoid places where melt, irrigation, rain water, and, of course, acidified soils accumulate for a long time.
The best predecessors for beetroot are crops that leave the site early, such as cucumbers, zucchini, early potatoes, early varieties of sweet pepper and eggplant and, again, early tomatoes. Do not sow table beets after spinach, rapeseed, carrots, chard and cabbage.
In autumn, when preparing the soil for beets, it is advisable to add organic fertilizers, for example, compost or humus in the amount of half a bucket per square meter of the future bed. From mineral fertilizers, it is quite possible to add potassium chloride in the amount of 12-14 g per square meter, as well as ammonium nitrate and superphosphate at 22-25 g per square meter.
The only thing that is not recommended to be added to the soil when preparing beds for beets, even in the autumn period, is fresh manure, because there is a possibility of increasing nitrates in the next year's crop.
Next, we prepare a pumpkin bed and zucchini
You need to know that these crops are generally unpretentious and simply remarkably respond to various fertilizers contained in the soil. Under them, you can make manure, but it is well rotted and in the amount of 3 - 4 kg per square meter of beds, no more, of course - for digging.
As for the choice of place, the soil should be neutral, therefore, if acid predominates, then chalk or lime must also be brought in for digging.
The best predecessors for pumpkin and zucchini are: potatoes, onions, cabbage, root vegetables and legumes, but cucumbers, zucchini and squash are considered the worst.
Pay particular attention to the soil, so if the soil is clay, then, as with the general preparation of the beds, half a bucket of humus and a bucket of river sand per square meter for digging should be made under the pumpkin and zucchini. As for mineral fertilizers, 10-15 g of superphosphate, 250 g of ash and 15 g of potassium sulfate is enough.
On sandy soils where you decide to grow zucchini and pumpkin, add a bucket of clay and half a bucket of humus per square meter.
Beds for dill and other herbs
To get a good harvest of dill and other herbs, you must first deal with the predecessors. Good predecessors for green crops are: cabbage, tomatoes and onions, and bad ones are parsnips, celery and carrots.
Next, try in the autumn to choose the most well-lit garden bed, and, therefore, as much as possible warmed up. Ideally, the soil should be made as fertile as possible and try to keep the snow on it, throwing fir spruce branches. Do not forget to pay attention to the acidity of the future beds, on acidic soil green crops grow poorly, so lime and chalking for digging, subject to increased acidity, are necessary.
For green crops, preparing the garden in the fall is not difficult, the digging depth should not be very large, only 22-23 cm. Be sure to add 2-3 kg of well-rotted manure per square meter and 15-20 g of ammonium nitrate, 8-10 g of potassium sulfate and 10-12 g of superphosphate in the same area. In the spring, it remains only to loosen the finished bed, make grooves for sowing, be sure to water them (2-3 liters of water per meter) and tighten slightly before sowing to prevent seed penetration (a couple of centimeters of depth is enough).
Preparation of beds for tomatoes
Tomatoes are their best predecessors: table beets, cucumbers, onions, beans, carrots, various greens, peas, corn and zucchini, and the bad ones are potatoes, late cabbage, peppers and eggplant.
We figured it out, now let's pick up a plot for tomatoes, until it gets colder. Fertile soil will be the best, it’s enough to dig it, and if it is acidic, then lime (150-200 g per square meter), but with fertilizers, in particular superphosphate, which tomatoes adore, you can take your time and just scatter it on the soil surface without digging. By the way, tomatoes are very jealous of acidity and the dose that we indicated may not work on different types of soils. For example, if you have sandy loam or loam in the area, then it is better to add 250 g of lime for digging, and if medium and heavy loam, then 350 g of lime and also for digging.
Do not make too high beds for tomatoes, do not forget that they themselves are tall plants, so 22-23 cm is quite enough and about a meter wide, it is also not necessary anymore.
Beds for cucumbers
Well, cucumbers, because it is unlikely you will find a site where cucumbers do not grow, but only tomatoes or cabbage. The best predecessors for cucumbers are: tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, onions, legumes, spinach, rhubarb, early and cauliflower, beets, carrots and greens, but the worst are cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkin, squash, melon and watermelon.
Ideally, the bed in the fall should be made so that it is light, preferably loamy or sandy loam. If only clay and heavy soils are available, add a bucket of river sand per square meter for digging. By the way, cucumbers grow well on slightly acidic soil, so if you have this, then you should not worry.
The beds for cucumbers must be dug up for a full bayonet of shovels with 5-6 kg of well-rotted manure.
The subtleties of fertilizing warm beds in the autumn
In the autumn period, you can build a warm bed, first you need to knock down a box, usually about a meter wide and two meters long, lay a drainage layer in the base, it can be, in fact, any large garbage, for example, various branches, pieces of boards, stumps , tops of plants. You can sprinkle all this with river sand, sawdust, wood chips, weeds, peeling potatoes and other vegetables, you need to lay leaf litter on top, humus and sprinkle wood ash. Of course, the layer should be such that a fertile garden soil (20-30 cm) fits on top, in which vegetable crops will grow next season.
A few words about mulching
Questions arise whether it is necessary to mulch the beds prepared since the fall, the answer will be yes. In principle, mulch, if it is made from natural components (the same leaf litter pressed by fir spruce branches), then it will not affect the vital processes of beneficial microorganisms in the garden you built. Therefore, in the spring, after removing the mulch, the bed will look even fresher. The main thing is to remove the mulch early, so that the soil warms up quickly.