After the harvest, avid gardeners are unlikely to sit at home reading the newspaper or watching soap operas. There is still much work to be done! The main activity now is preparing the soil for winter. This mainly involves turning the soil (autumn tillage). However, there are several opinions on this subject. This article Bubgo explains the advantages and disadvantages of this process and explains which fertilizers should be used in fall tillage to apply to the soil in the fall. Most gardeners are in favor of digging in the fall.
Advantages of Digging in the Fall
Opponents have different views on the issue of re-tillage. Some are in favor of forced tillage, others believe that such measures can only cause harm. The latter include mainly proponents of organic farming. And most gardeners still believe that digging in the fall is more useful and effective than digging in the spring.
Gardeners have found many benefits to tilling the soil in the fall.
1. The structure of the land is improved due to the presence of various voids that improve air access to the deeper soil layers. Their air and water supply is improved. Looseness is increased. As a result, the activity of soil microorganisms increases.
2. Enrichment of oxygen in the soil accelerates the process of processing plant residues by soil microorganisms. The process of humus formation is improved by the use of mineral and organic fertilizers.
3. It leads to the death of the main number of pests when large pieces of soil are turned out. Some pests will be killed by winter frosts. Birds will also be happy to help you and happily peck at the ready food.
4. The soil retains most of its moisture in the form of snow and rain, which accumulates in various irregular forms. The ground will provide enough moistness for spring work.
5. It will kill various pathogens that overwinter in the soil layer.
6. It is not uncommon for the holes and nests of many small rodents to be destroyed.
7. The soil is saturated with moisture and air, which improves the humus formation process involving the decomposition of various organic elements.
The autumn procedure also improves the nutrient supply to the soil. After all, organic matter, mineral fertilizers, and deoxidizers are incorporated into the soil and are recommended to be applied from autumn onwards to reduce soil acidity. Autumn plowing also improves the characteristics of virgin soils and clay areas that are prone to long-term flooding.
Tip: During this process, many weed roots appear on the surface and can be easily selected by hand. Land preparation is also carried out to improve the conditions for spring planting. This procedure improves the soil structure.
Disadvantages of Digging a Vegetable Garden in Autumn
The disadvantages of the autumn procedure are as follows.
1. The soil structure is disturbed. This kills not only harmful but also beneficial microorganisms that cannot live in the deeper soil layers. And the beneficial organisms that are brought to the surface are killed.
2. If left untreated, loose soil will be severely compacted.
3. The earthworms that improve the structure of the land die.
4. Increased weed infestation in the area as a result of crushing their roots. Note: Picking out weeds with an ordinary rake will help here.
5. Less fertile soil layers that require additional fertilization will move to the surface.
6. the cost of mechanized processing.
7. a tedious and time-consuming process.
Opponents argue that the activity encourages weed growth.
How and when to Best Dig in the Fall
You should start digging up your garden almost immediately after the end of the gardening season, as soon as the last of the vegetables and plant debris have been removed from the beds. It is a good idea to do this before the first frosts and long autumn rains, which make digging more difficult. Therefore, the timing of the work depends on the climate of the area. It is recommended that this work be done before mid and late fall.
The recommended digging depth is 10-12 inches (25-30 cm), the same as the depth of the shovel's bayonet. Potatoes, root crops, melons, and parsnips can be planted in these areas afterward.
For some crops that do not require this depth, half the depth is sufficient. Shallow plowing is suitable for tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, peas, beans, and other legumes. While proponents of organic farming do not advocate deep digging, they do recommend loosening the topsoil, but not deeper than 2-3 inches (5-7.5 cm). This shallow digging should be done with forks and plowshares.
The resulting large clods of soil should not be broken up, but simply turned over or moved to an adjacent area. This work can be done manually or mechanically. In overly dense stony areas, it is sometimes necessary to dig in two layers (two shovels).
Tip: root cleaning is required when digging
Otherwise, in spring, each severed root mass will produce a new, fully grown plant. The roots left in the ground will survive the frost perfectly.
Which Soils Need to Be Excavated and Which Do Not
The necessity of this operation depends on the type of soil. Experience shows that light, sandy, and loosely fertile soils do not need to be tilled in the fall. Routine loosening is sufficient. But this must be done in the spring. In warm, dry areas, as well as in areas subject to weathering and leaching, this autumn work is not necessary.
Compulsory recultivation is required.
1. virgin land. And this action must be carried out in the coming years.
2. Heavy clay soils. Without additional fall treatment, the soil will become very compacted, making it difficult to use in the future.
3. Sites where the water table is close to the ground.
This procedure is applied to areas where the water table is close to the ground.
Fertilizer in Autumn: the 7 Most Important Ingredients
It's no secret to anyone that most gardeners do fall digging to apply and incorporate fertilizer. Basically, organic matter is applied in the fall, less often - mineral fertilizers are recommended for fall. Don't think it's an easy process! This activity should be carried out systematically, subject to certain requirements.
Fertilizer #1: Manure
Manure is the most commonly used fertilizer in the fall. It improves the structure of the soil and increases the formation of humus. Autumn is the best time to apply it. In addition, manure contains a lot of seeds of various weeds that are ready to germinate once they enter the soil. These seeds will germinate quickly. However, the seedling problem can be easily solved by loosening the topsoil just a little.
During the long winter months, the manure undergoes various enzymatic processes as it is mixed with the soil and soaked in water. As a result, it is better able to release nutrients into the soil. Use in spring, especially when fresh, is fraught with the risk of plant roots being burned.
Tip: It is recommended to apply horse manure every 3-4 years, regardless of soil type, at a rate of 660-880 lbs (300-400 kg) per hectare. For cattle manure, the amount is slightly higher, about 1100 lbs (500 kg).
Apply the manure alone or mix it with ashes, compost, or other organic products. Everything depends on the culture where you plan to place the fertilization. The acidity of the soil is also an important factor.
Tip: Only allow the use of fresh manure in uninhabited areas to avoid root scorch.
Fertilizer #2: Compost
This is a very popular organic fertilizer that is very low cost because gardeners usually produce it themselves. Compost will be most useful after 1-2 years of maturity. Use a maximum of two buckets per square meter. Compost can be applied from autumn onwards, even in uncultivated areas.
Fertilizer #3: Sediment - green manure
Green manure is an eco-friendly and inexpensive organic remedy that can be used to fertilize the soil when digging in the fall. In the absence of organic waste from pets and birds, this green manure is the best solution. After summer and fall planting, simply dig out the green manure plots.
Not only will you get a weed and pathogen-free site fertilized with organic matter, but you will also increase the looseness of the soil and its water and air permeability.
Tip: The main prerequisite for success is hoeing at the right time, during the period of maximum vegetation formation, in order to avoid the overgrowth of plants. If the plants are up to 4 inches (10 cm) tall, simply dig them up. For taller plants, it is better to cut off the top part and leave it there until spring work.
Fertilizer #4: Peat
Peat contains a lot of organic matter. It significantly increases fertility and improves the structure of the earth and its resistance to various pathogens. It is suitable for digging in doses of 66-88 lbs (30-40 kg) per square meter.
It is recommended to apply this soil fertilizer - together with humus - not only in autumn but also in spring. When mixed with compost, the fertilizer is much more effective.
Fertilizer #5: Sawdust
Sawdust is usually applied from fall on heavy soils to loosen them up and on dry, sandy soils to retain moisture. It is recommended that sawdust be combined with poultry manure, manure, or urea.
Fertilizer #6: Minerals
It is best to apply mineral fertilizers in the spring before planting major crops. You can find "mineral fertilizers" on the market which are labeled on the package: "For fall use".
Mineral fertilizers that are difficult to dissolve and do not lose their beneficial properties until spring must be applied in the fall. Among the major macronutrients, potassium is recommended for application in the fall, especially if chlorine, which many crops do not tolerate well, is included in this compound.
The application rate of potassium fertilizer depends on its composition. Commonly used rates are 22-88 lbs (10-40 kg) per 100 m2. Other types of mineral fertilizers are also recommended for fall use. From phosphorus-phosphite and bone meal, perphosphate.
Fertilizer #7: Wood Ash
Wood ash contains high levels of potassium. How much to apply depends on the crop and soil composition. Fall applications are recommended primarily on heavy clay and loam soils. On other soils, it is best to apply wood ash in the spring before the main work. Spread a maximum of two cups per square meter. It is not necessary to apply this fertilizer every autumn, once every 2-3 years is sufficient.
You now know what to apply to the soil in the fall when you dig. You should not put any fertilizer too deep in the soil. Otherwise, it will not decompose properly and the quality of the soil will be adversely affected. The organic matter should be spread evenly over the entire plot before digging. Use mineral fertilizers only after reading the instructions on the package.
Will you be digging up soil in the fall season? Share your feedback and suggestions with other gardeners in the comments!
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