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How To Grow A Crop Without Digging
How To Grow A Crop Without Digging

Video: How To Grow A Crop Without Digging

Отличия серверных жестких дисков от десктопных
Video: Turn COVER CROPS Into FOOD Using NO DIG Methods - Including Results After 3.5 Months 2023, February

To dig or not to dig? That's the question

"Why is it harmful to dig? - many gardeners will ask. - After all, everyone digs, and even twice a season: in the spring they dig, in the fall they dig up again. And if the earth is solid clay or virgin soil, how can you not dig it!"

Don't dig

Don't dig
Don't dig

Let's first figure it out: why is digging harmful? There are at least four reasons why this should not be done.

The first is as follows: we are used to thinking of the earth as inorganic matter, that is, inanimate, and we treat it accordingly. And the soil is a very complex living organism with its own hierarchical structure, its own laws of community. It is densely populated with microorganisms and lower animal organisms, such as earthworms. In the upper soil layer, at a depth of about 5-15 cm, the soil is inhabited by micro-fungi and aerobic bacteria, that is, those lower organisms that need oxygen for their existence. In addition, earthworms have chosen this layer.

In the lower layer, approximately at a depth of 20-25 cm, there are anaerobic bacteria, for which oxygen is harmful, they need carbon dioxide. When digging the soil to the depth of a shovel bayonet, turning the layer over, we change these layers, and each type of microorganism finds itself in an unfavorable environment for itself. Most of them die in this case.

It takes at least two to five years to restore a broken hierarchy. The soil devoid of microorganisms becomes dead, loses its fertility, since this very fertility of the soil is created and maintained by the microorganisms and earthworms inhabiting the earth. And no amount of fertilization will help here until its population is restored on every floor.

In addition, the soil, losing its inhabitants, loses its structure along with them, and therefore collapses. This soil is washed away by the rains and carried away by the winds. Outstanding soil scientists, such as A.T. Bolotov in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, I.E. Osievsky in the middle of the 19th century, and finally, V.V.Dokuchaev - at the end of the 19th century, they opposed deep plowing of the land with overturning of the layer.

Also, the soil cannot be strongly compacted as it happens when using heavy equipment (remember at least the Kirovets monster tractor), since excessive compaction of the soil layers also leads to the death of soil microorganisms.

You probably have your own experience here. Recall, for example, how, when planning to build a house, you removed the fertile soil from the building site and piled it up in a large heap. And then, deciding to use it in the garden and in the beds, you suddenly discovered that for some reason it became sterile, although you were piling up mostly sod.

But the tradition of digging the soil is very tenacious. Therefore, now we have almost completely ruined the most fertile lands on the entire planet and an inexorable decline in soil fertility, and, accordingly, a drop in yield from each square meter of cultivated area. And at the same time, the world's population is growing steadily. So it turns out that if humanity does not come to its senses in time, it will inevitably face death from hunger.

You and I cannot enlighten the whole of humanity, but on our own plots we are quite capable of suspending destructive agriculture and starting to restore the lost (more precisely, never existed in our plots) soil fertility. First, stop digging, and twice a year!

Recently, in the literature, more and more often there are serious and not very work in defense of this call. We must pay tribute to at least a few people who have done a lot for our enlightenment on this issue. I mean the American Alan Chadwick and his follower John Jevons, the founders of the biodynamic school of agriculture, as well as our scientists Yu.I. Slashchinin, N.I. Kurdyumov and A.A. Komarov.

How do our greatest helpers, the inhabitants of the soil, live and act? For their prosperous existence, organic matter is necessary, that is, all kinds of organic remains of dead plants and dead animals. It is their bacteria that "eat" for breakfast, lunch and dinner without a break in between. That is, while they live, they continuously feed and reproduce by simple cell division. And they live only about half an hour. Such a short but very intense life takes place in the arable layer, which is only 20-25 cm thick. And this layer is quite enough for the growth and development of most plants on Earth. Our task is to help microorganisms (or not interfere with them, at least) to make this layer fertile.

What does it mean? This means that in such a layer there should be at least 4% (or better 6%) humus. The soil, rich in humus, does not cake, does not compact, it does not need to be dug, it is enough to loosen it.

The second reason is as follows. When digging the soil, we break all the microchannels through which moisture and air penetrate into the arable layer. As a result, moisture and air do not enter the zone of sucking roots, and normal plant nutrition is disrupted. Usually such soil becomes viscous during rains, like plasticine, and after drying it turns into "reinforced concrete". The roots suffocate there, the plant weakens. What kind of harvest there can be. Plants "have no time for fat, I would live."

How are these microchannels formed in the soil?

The fact is that the root system of plants is huge. It not only can go down to 2-5 m (in beets, for example, the central root sometimes penetrates to a depth of 3-4 meters), but also branches in all directions. And each of these roots is covered with hundreds of thousands of sucking hairs, the total length of which can reach 10 km!

As a result, every inch of the earth is literally riddled with these hairs. When the aerial part of the plant dies off, the remains of the roots begin to eat up the soil microorganisms. As a result, microscopic channels are formed through which moisture penetrates, and after it is absorbed by the soil, air rushes into the soil through the channels. In addition, there are passages that worms make in the soil. And they also serve as channels for water and air, only larger. Through all these passages, the roots of the next generation of plants easily penetrate deep into the soil.

We are strongly advised to do the autumn digging of the soil in order to destroy the pests that have settled down to winter in the surface layer of the soil, as well as so that moisture penetrates between the clods, freezes and expands the passages for spring water and air, which will rush into the soil layer through these cracks. Yes, of course, some of the pests die, but we completely disrupt the complex system of water and air exchange, replacing it with several large gaps. In the spring, with repeated digging, we finally destroy the channels created by roots and bacteria. With such double shoveling, this entire complex system is destroyed, and the soil is compacted so much that it literally has to be hammered.

The third reason not to dig and plow is very simple. During the autumn digging, we transfer all weed seeds from the soil surface to the depths, where they remain until spring. And with repeated digging in the spring, we bring the overwintered weed seeds to the surface, and they immediately begin to germinate.

And the fourth reason why the soil should not be dug up is that usually after that we leave its surface "bare", and this leads to the destruction of the topmost layer. In addition, "a holy place is never empty," and weeds will immediately begin to take their place under the sun. The soil should not be left bare. It should not be dug up, but covered with any mulching material on top. The easiest way is to do it the way nature does, covering the earth with organic remains. In autumn - fallen leaves and aerial parts of dead annuals. In the spring - young green growth.

Why is she doing this? In the first case, to return the organic matter consumed by plants to the soil. In the second - to cover the surface from direct sunlight, to protect the top layer from drying out and destruction.

So, the earth is a living organism, and it is impossible to meddle in its life thoughtlessly and with impunity. Soil fertility is created by the indigenous inhabitants of the earth.

What to do?

Like what! Of course, grow, groom, cherish the inhabitants of the soil and loosen, only loosen the soil so as not to harm them!

Humus is the most valuable component of any soil. It is what earthworms and soil microorganisms create. Therefore, the number of earthworms living in it is a completely reliable indicator of fertility. The more there are, the more fertile the soil. The more humus, the darker the color of the soil.

Humus is a complex organo-mineral formation. Its main part is humic acids and fulvates. Humic acids "glue" like synthetic glue the smallest lumps of soil into aggregates that do not stick together. Thus, a soil structure is created, in which water and air can easily penetrate into the soil between these aggregates. Fulvates carry a negative electrostatic charge on their surface and attract positively charged ions of chemical elements in the soil solution (in particular, nitrogen). That is, they contribute to the saturation of the soil with minerals.

One square meter of 25 cm thick soil (topsoil) weighs about 250 kg. If the humus in the soil is about 4%, then these 250 kg contain only 10 kg. During the season, the roots of plants destroy about 200 g of humus from each square meter of the arable layer. To restore it, you will need to annually bring in a bucket (5 kg) of humus per meter of soil surface. If, instead of humus, a green mass of green manure, weeds, grass, leaves or other not rotted organic matter is introduced, then their number should be increased three times.

The question arises: should organic matter be introduced into the upper soil layer or the lower one? It is more economically feasible to enter into the lower one. That is, to build up the fertile soil layer from below. At the depth of the bayonet of the shovel, humus is formed 6 times more than in the upper layer, with the same amount of organic matter introduced. But digging is allowed only in a layer of 5 cm! How to be?

If your soil is very poor (gray indicates that there is only 2% humus in the soil), then the first digging should be done as follows.

Mark the garden bed. To avoid trampling the soil, lay a plank across the bed, pushing it away from the edge a width of four shovel bayonets. While standing on the board, remove the soil and stack it near the end of the bed. Loosen the bottom layer with a fork. Fill the dug trench with green mass and move the board further.

Now the soil removed from the next trench, without turning it over, is folded onto the green mass. Loosen the bottom layer in the second trench with a pitchfork, put the green mass into it, move the board even further and continue this way until the end of the garden bed.

When the last trench is filled with green mass, transfer to it the soil that was removed from the very first trench and piled up near the end of the bed. The most important thing in this kind of digging is not to turn the soil.

In all subsequent years, you will apply the green mass of weeds or sawdust, leaves and other organic matter to the surface of the garden. Then it will need to be lightly sprinkled with earth or dug up together with the top layer of soil to a depth of no more than 5 cm. This work is best done in late summer or early autumn, so that by spring most of the organic matter has time to rot.

Also read:

How to increase fertility on difficult soils without digging

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