Table of contents:
A quick vegetable garden. Part 1
Zucchini on a compost heap
Imagine a very common situation: you have just become the proud owner of your own garden. But not mastered, on which everything has long been planted and fragrant, but a real virgin land or a plot so neglected that it has long ceased to fit under the category of “mastered”.
In this case, bushes, stones and solid sod will be at your disposal. And instead of all this, you are planning to see a fairy garden in the near future. Well, all the impossible is possible, there would only be strength, knowledge and a passionate desire to fulfill your dream.
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But what do all budding gardeners usually do? Either they manually start digging up the virgin lands in front of them, or they simply hire a tractor driver to plow the area. Both are completely unreasonable. Digging up by hand will require superhuman strength and perseverance and will take more than one season, although this way you can methodically select all the roots and stones from the surface layer of the soil.
Plowing the soil with a tractor is most often pointless at all, since in this case the sod and stones will be mixed, and the roots and tussocks will also be cut into many smaller roots, and in the future it will be necessary to shovel all this soil again (this time by hand) and select all stones and roots. Moreover, it will be much more difficult to choose the roots due to the fact that they will be cut. Moreover, in both cases, the end result will be deplorable, since decades will pass before you can boast of the first zucchini and the first dill. There is no need to talk about everything else.
The reason for such a sad state of affairs lies in the fact that with the traditional approach to the development of the site, several problems arise before novice gardeners:
1. The complete absence of a fertile humus layer - our Ural soil, or rather, what remains after a thorough shaving of the sod, in reality, is not soil - it is podzol. Our unpretentious weeds can grow on it, but it is absolutely not suitable for gardening activities. And the layer of this podzol is not large - only 3-5 cm. And an apple tree needs about 1-2 m of fertile soil, carrots - up to 30 cm, etc.
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2. The need to recycle whole mountains of perennial turf. Usually, it is customary to send such sod into a compost pit - most beginners stoically dig out a similar pit on their site, quickly fill it with sod and safely forget about this pit, which is not surprising, because the sod itself (that is, without the addition of other organic matter) can rot up to three years or more. Some of the newcomers are trying to burn the sod.
Both solutions are very laborious and completely unreasonable, because organic matter is needed to form the soil on the site (and not in three years, but immediately, now), because without it, nothing will grow. And turf, if used correctly, is just a fairly good organic matter.
3. Rocky ground. Unfortunately, under a thin layer of podzol, in many areas, there is rocky ground, or even real rocks. If this is your case, then from each square meter of the area, if you go the traditional way (that is, you dig up virgin soil), you will have to turn out a whole mountain of stones. Thus, the necessary initial material for pouring the foundations will be obtained, but not the soil, since after shaking off the sod and sifting out stones, an approximately three-centimeter layer of podzol will remain and nothing more.
As a result, with conventional technology, after enormous work over several seasons, mountains of stones and sod and a thin layer of podzol, proudly called soil, appear on the site. At the same time, there is still no question of the harvest, because real plantings can be done only after the completion of a complete digging of the site, its leveling or terracing, the introduction of some imported organic matter and the drawing up of a project for your own garden.
Alas, the plants planted (despite the titanic work that preceded planting) on such soil do not please with their appearance and do not bring yields, because there was no fertile soil, and there is not. In the end, many beginners simply give up, others continue to bring peat and manure to the site every year and, in the end, after ten years they still get more or less acceptable soil, which already allows them to grow something. But this takes years and years of life and a lot of energy …
At the same time, you want to have everything now and at once, and with a minimum of effort - and this is correct to a certain extent. Why spend years of life on almost meaningless work, if the process can be both accelerated and significantly facilitated by approaching the matter not quite traditionally. Of course, you will hardly be able to grow tall tomatoes in the first year (that is, on the turf), although 1-2 plants can be planted by planting them in old barrels, if you manage to get them. However, there are crops that allow obtaining, with a certain technology, a completely acceptable (for beginners) harvest already in the first year of the development of the site. In what way - that's what we'll talk about.
Preliminary preparation of the site
Of course, before you plant something on the turf, you still have to do some preliminary work. Namely: remove stones protruding upward so that the surface becomes relatively flat; remove shrubs, if any, grow on the site, as well as stumps. Of course, you will have to bring one car of manure, weathered (that is, non-acidic) peat and sawdust, and a couple of dozen packages of complex fertilizers containing vermicompost, for example, the Giant fertilizer.
And if you plan to plant a dozen bushes of tomatoes and bush beans, then the number of packets of ready-made soil will also correspond to the number of bushes. You will also have to manually dig up a small piece of your site - this is only required in order to get several buckets of podzol to add it to the ridges. You don't have to, but in this case you will have to get the appropriate number of buckets of leafy soil in the forest. This is not difficult if you take the soil from old crumbling stumps, where there is usually a lot of it.
It should be said that no root crops can be grown without a normal soil layer: beets, carrots, turnips, radishes, root parsley, etc. But it's okay, plant these crops next year - not all at once. But if you wish, you can get the first harvests of zucchini and pumpkins, potatoes, early cabbage, green crops (dill, lettuce, leafy parsley, leafy turnips, leafy mustard, onions on a feather), onions from seedlings and even low-growing tomatoes and beans.
Zucchini and pumpkins
Both squash and pumpkins love to grow on compost heaps, which, in the presence of peat, sawdust and manure, can be formed right on the turf. How to do it? There are two options.
First option. A tall compost bed can be formed. To do this, first enclose a small area (about 2x1 m in size) with old boards or other available material. Then directly on the turf place the chopped branches of removed shrubs and other woody organic debris (chips, bark, etc.) collected during the preliminary preparation of the site.
Then cover all this with a layer of finer and faster rotting organic matter. Its role can be played by perennial tall herbaceous plants such as willow-tea, collected on or near the site, or sod. Place the next layer of manure and make holes in it. Sprinkle the entire surface, including the holes, with a layer of sawdust and, finally, a layer of peat. Finally, add one handful of fertilizer with vermicompost to the wells and fill the wells to the level of the bed surface with a layer of peat with podzol in a 1: 1 ratio, mix the contents of the wells thoroughly. Then spill the bed well with water and cover it with a film - the last operation is necessary in order to avoid the soil quickly drying out. After completing all these operations, make holes in the foil in place of the holes, plant the seedlings of squash or pumpkins in them and water them.
Second option. You can go the other way and form small compost mini-beds on the sod layer in the form of miniature compost piles, which do not need to be enclosed with boards. For one such bed, you need a bucket of sod and manure - put the sod with the bottom layer, then the manure, in which make a large hole and sprinkle everything thickly with several handfuls of sawdust. Then pour half a bucket of forest soil or podzol mixed with peat into the hole, add one handful of fertilizer with vermicompost and mix the contents of the hole thoroughly.
Several such heaps can be formed by placing them at a certain distance from each other - so that in the future the plants will be free enough. Then all the heaps need to be well shed with water from a watering can in order to achieve thorough moistening of all components, and cover them with a film. Each pile needs its own piece of tape. Along the edges, it must be pressed down with stones so that it does not blow away by the wind. In the middle of each mini-garden, make a small round hole, plant one squash or pumpkin plant in it and water them.
In both cases, the harvest will be good. True, during the season you will have to feed the plants with ash and fertilizers several times ("Piksa", "Giant", "Breadwinner", etc.). And if, before planting, bury a package of long-term fertilizer under the Apion brand in each hole, then the harvest will generally be excellent (even without any additional fertilizing).
Read part 2. Rapid development of the garden plot →