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Video: What To Make Mulch From, Materials For Mulch, Which Mulch Is Better
2023 Author: Sebastian Paterson | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-07-30 21:03
Mulch mulch strife
Mulching, as an agricultural technique borrowed from nature, has long been familiar to farmers. It is also well known that mulch weakens moisture evaporation, protects the soil from leaching of nutrients, reduces fluctuations in soil temperature, prevents the formation of soil crust, intensifies the activity of microorganisms, and suppresses the growth of weeds.
To achieve these goals, the literature recommends using, as a rule, either film and sheet materials, or various organics. It is on this most important issue that most of the owners of summer cottages and garden plots stumble most often.
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To choose the right mulch and ensure its effectiveness, first consider the first group of mulch materials.
Proceeding from the fact that lately it has been advertised most often, with an emphasis on the fact that such mulching is ideal, simple, requires almost no labor and gives the fastest and most tangible effect. However, as practice shows, all these advantages relate primarily to black opaque films and to specially colored mulch paper. Moreover, this manifests itself in the pre-planting period in the accelerated heating of the soil, and in the post-sowing period - in the acceleration of seed germination and emergence of seedlings. In winter, under such a shelter, according to experience, plants, such as strawberries, often freeze slightly, with late spring frosts they lose flowers, and in summer the soil there overheats, and the roots are often damaged. In addition, judging by the published data, from the second year the strawberry harvest has been falling due to the increased formation of whiskers.
The transparent film is not suitable for mulching either, as it stimulates the growth and development of weeds, which adversely affects the crops grown. New self-decomposing films based on mulch paper also did not meet expectations, since the process of their decay is uncontrollable and highly dependent on climatic conditions.
In practice, such frequently recommended materials as spunbond, roofing felt and cardboard turned out to be far from ideal. As evidenced by the experience, for example, of the amateur gardener K. Firsova, when the newly appeared sprouts of plants were covered with spunbond, they froze under it and were partially removed, and the plants remained unharmed in the clumps of hay. From the experience of the amateur gardener A. Lebedeva, it is known that covering strawberry beds with slots for bushes with roofing material did not give a positive result, since very little rain and irrigation moisture got through the slots, the soil became compacted, the plants gradually wore off, and froze in winter.
My personal experience of using cardboard from boxes for mulching was also unsuccessful. Despite all the measures to fix it on the soil, individual pieces were strongly deformed from moisture and the sun, and with a strong gusty wind they easily spread around the site. Such cardboard took root only as a cover for the aisles between the beds in the garden and in greenhouses, thanks to which it was possible to protect not only the passages themselves from weeds, but also to protect the soil of the beds.
From all points of view, various types of organic matter showed themselves better than the other materials named in the article when mulching:stall manure, peat, straw, green manure, semi-rotten compost, post-harvest residues, garden and garden seedless weeds, wilted grass, hay, various garden waste, as well as wood waste in the form of sawdust, shavings, bark, foliage and needles. True, here it is worth saying right away that gardeners do not have much to count on the first four varieties of mulching materials, since manure is scarce and expensive, peat is mainly processed and sold through stores, straw has become a rarity, and special cultivation of green manure in the volumes required for the plots is unrealistic. However, as practice shows, the remaining mulch materials in this list, which are obtained practically free of charge, can be completely dispensed with on the plots.
Experience has shown that the use of organic mulch instead of film and sheet mulch materials provides many very important advantages.
Firstly, the mulch cover from the specified organic matter has not only protective, but also nutritious properties, since in the zone of contact between soil and mulch in the warm season, the vigorous activity of various microorganisms is almost immediately initiated. At the same time, due to the contact of organic matter with microbes and minerals, gas exchange occurs, and the resulting carbon dioxide is continuously delivered to the plants for fertilization and assimilation through the stomatal gaps from the bottom of the leaves. Secondly, by mixing mulch varieties of different composition and properties, the same diverse communities of microorganisms are involved in the processing of organic matter, due to which the process of mulch decomposition is enhanced. The result of this interaction of organic matter and microorganisms is a loose, finely lumpy, porous, aerated and very nutritious soil environment,unattainable with other mulch materials.
Speaking of organic mulch, one cannot fail to note the conditions under which the best mulching results are achieved. In addition to the already mentioned mixing of various mulch components, an equally important factor is the grinding of the raw materials, which allows not only to more evenly distribute the mulch over the row spacing, but also to accelerate the processes of its decomposition. It is equally important that the soil before covering with mulch is well moistened, loosened and warmed up.
If in specific conditions it is required to accelerate or lengthen the process of soil mulching in time, then it is very important to choose the right mulch components. To accelerate the decomposition of mulch in the mass, garden and vegetable waste, grass and weeds should prevail. At the same time, when a long duration of mulch action is desirable, wood waste should prevail in it: bark and foliage, sawdust and shavings. Taking this factor into account, when mulching annual vegetable crops, vegetable garden waste is best suited for this purpose, and woody ones when mulching perennial fruit and berry crops.
The most important indicator of the effectiveness of soil mulching with organic materials is the thickness of the mulch cover, and the recommendations in the literature on this are either completely absent or very contradictory. Based on my experience, I consider it sufficient to have a mulch layer of 4-6 cm. However, this applies to sufficiently cultivated soil.
As for heavy clay soils, in order to avoid rotting of the lowest layer, it is best to mulch in 2-3 steps, but in thin layers of 2-3 cm. Sandy soils for mulching are ideal, and even with a thicker layer, there is no mulch rotting. True, in these two cases, it is also highly desirable to apply appropriate fertilizers, for example, compost compost, before mulch application.
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In the event that for any reason the above plant mulch materials are not enough for mulching the soil, good results are obtained by using specific weed plants present on or near the site: lupine, mouse pea, dandelion, plantain, dream, burdock, horsetail and others. It is only important that they wilted and were well chopped with pruners or scissors. Additives to such mulch are very effective with chopped nettle, which repels slugs and snails, and valerian, which attracts earthworms.
Excellent results - I can judge this from my own experience - gives mulch from wood waste. It has been found, for example, that shavings and sawdust, applied after about two weeks in very thin layers and evenly, not only protect the soil, but also provide illumination of the plants from below. And such illumination, for example, when growing tomatoes and peppers, not only has a beneficial effect on the lower surface of the leaves, but also causes their better growth and development, increasing the yield.
They have proved to be excellent for mulching bark and needles. For example, needles, having a high physiological activity, when added to the mixture in a volume of up to 30%, made it possible to completely get rid of the scab of potatoes grown from tubers with this disease. When mulching with such a mixture of row spacings of strawberries, it was possible not only to get rid of pests, but also to get a higher yield, and with berries that had a particularly pleasant taste. In addition, to use the needles, it is not at all necessary to cut it off green, but it is quite possible to do with the fallen one, since it does not lose its special properties.
I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the beds, covered with organic mulch, warm up slowly in spring, especially during prolonged cold weather. Therefore, before sowing or planting, mulch should either be removed from the beds so that the soil warms up, or embedded in the soil if the mulch has decomposed well by this time.
Regular consumption of green crops helps to prevent serious diseases, including cancer. Serious scientific research abroad has proven that beta-carotene, found in carrots, yellow and orange tomatoes and sweet peppers, as well as in green crops, inhibits the development of cancer in 75 % cases
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