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Video: A Properly Arranged Compost On The Site Will Help You Increase Soil Fertility And Increase Yields In Greenhouses And Garden Beds
2023 Author: Sebastian Paterson | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-07-30 21:03
The clever grows the crop, and the wise grows the soil
Everyone knows that the key to a good harvest is high soil fertility in the garden. Of course, you can grow plants on sand or on artificial soil (hydroponics) and even without soil, as many agricultural firms do now. But you can distinguish the taste of such products grown on artificial soil from vegetables and fruits from your site with your eyes closed.
Scientists say that 1 centimeter of soil in our climatic conditions is formed over 100 years! Gardeners cannot wait that long, so only we ourselves must form a fertile soil layer on our site, in other words, create humus that does not last forever. As organic matter, it decomposes at a rate of 20-50% of its volume per year, depending on the climatic conditions where your site is located. If organic fertilizers are not applied annually, the humus of the soil is gradually destroyed, it is lost, and, therefore, the arable layer becomes thinner. In addition, microorganisms starve without introducing organic matter into the soil.
The more organic matter in the soil, the more microorganisms there will be in it, the higher the yield will be. These microscopic organisms secrete biologically active substances that stimulate the growth of plant roots, increase seed germination, and inhibit the activity of fungi harmful to plants. When fresh organic matter is introduced, bacteria begin to multiply very actively, which has a beneficial effect on plants.
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In addition, the more humus in the soil, the faster it will heat up and retain heat longer, which is very important especially in cold weather and at night. Soils depleted in humus, dense, with little air content and highly moist, quickly lose heat.
Most gardeners apply manure to the soil, but I think the best organic fertilizer is good quality compost. In its composition, it is much richer than manure, because when creating it, we use a huge number of different components.
Therefore, building compost piles and creating compost is the main task of the gardener, who not only wants to grow a rich harvest, but also makes a huge contribution to improving the fertility of the soil on his piece of land. It is thanks to conscientious, diligent gardeners that the land becomes more fertile.
When filling the compost heap, it is important to know that all components introduced there are divided into two groups. The first is inert components (weeds, leaves of trees, mown grass, peat, sawdust); the second is biologically active (manure, bird droppings, kitchen waste, feces, arable soil). Biologically active components in compost speed up and start composting processes. Therefore, it is important to alternate these two groups of components, that is, to apply in layers - the result is a "layer cake".
On our site there are two compost heaps built from scrap material. The length of the compost is 3.5 m, the width is 2.5 m, and the height is 1.3 m. One section of the side wall can be pulled out to make it easier to remove the compost on a wheelbarrow. I believe that the compost heap must be limited by walls so that the compost does not spill out, and most importantly, air must enter there. Moreover, they should be comfortable in height when filling it. Two composting machines alternate each year giving us ready-made organic matter.
Most of the day our compost heaps are illuminated by the sun. This is very important, because when organic matter decomposes, its components must warm up. Many experts advise placing such composts in backyards so as not to spoil the appearance of the site. As a rule, this place is in the shade, which, in my opinion, is unacceptable for the rapid maturation of the compost.
In addition, I use my compost heap every year as an additional bed for growing pumpkin crops. If you do not want to spoil the appearance of your site, then compost heaps can be beautifully decorated, for example, in the form of a wattle fence.
To get a lot of good quality compost, you have to work hard on it in the summer. For example, my father and I spend one day in a decade (the entire warm season of the year) on filling the compost heap with organic matter. First, on the bottom of the compost box, lay the pieces of turf, turned upside down, tightly together in a continuous layer. They will play the role of drainage.
On top we throw in weeds, which have already accumulated in sufficient quantity by this time. We were lucky: there is an equestrian center not far from the dacha. There you can take waste - horse manure (it is with sawdust). And we fill the compost heap with a layer of this fertilizer of at least 10 centimeters on top of the turf. It is warm, so we do not water it with water so that it does not cool down. Throw weeds on top. If you cannot get horse manure with sawdust, you can replace it with any other manure, for example, cow.
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The next layer is peat. It can be found everywhere. But I give preference to slightly decomposed and slightly weathered peat. If the peat has just been dug out of the seam, then I break up the lumps with a shovel so that it decomposes better and mixes with other components of the heap.
It is only necessary to remember that in peat the bacterial activity is reduced and the activity of fungi is activated. In addition, peat has high acidity. Therefore, I sprinkle it with a fair amount of dolomite flour and sifted wood ash. Dolomite flour not only limes peat, but is also used as a magnesium fertilizer, which is very important for our infertile soils.
Peat works well only when applied together with manure. In the ground, it persists for a long time, making it loose, which cannot be said about manure, which is completely used by the microflora, converting organic residues into elements available to plants, which need to be replenished annually. Therefore, it is necessary to introduce a reasonable amount of peat into the soil, taking into account its type on your site.
We have sandy soils at the dacha (they are poor in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium), therefore, the introduction of peat, manure, compost is a necessary condition for maintaining not only soil fertility, but also its necessary moisture.
We put a layer of earth on top of the peat. We once brought it from the site where we were building a cottage. The fertile layer of the earth was removed there, and the new owners did not need it. A pile of this land is located behind our site, and we take it from there if necessary. The top layer of this heap is alive, it is gradually overgrown with weeds, and the inside of it is dead. We take everything from the heap. During the composting period, this soil will be enriched with beneficial bacteria and will become alive. I sprinkle it with simple superphosphate. One layer takes 3 kilograms. During the season, approximately 12 kg of simple superphosphate falls into the compost heap. This fertilizer dissolves poorly in the first year of application to the soil, and after two years in the compost heap it completely dissolves.
I would especially like to draw your attention to the need to apply this fertilizer to the soils of our North-West region. Although the supporters of organic farming do not accept the application of mineral fertilizers, everyone knows that when growing plants, there must be enough nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and trace elements in the soil. Our soils are poor in phosphorus and potassium. Straw, hay, weeds, crop residues, plant roots contain a lot of potassium - they are returned to the soil as a result of composting. Thus, as a result of the cycle of substances in agriculture, potassium returns to the soil, and the return of nitrogen and phosphorus is not ensured even by the introduction of a large amount of manure. Therefore, in the conditions of the Northwest, it is simply necessary to use phosphorus fertilizers. Which is what I do by adding superphosphate to the compost.
We throw weeds and kitchen waste (cleaning) on a layer of earth for a week. I try to throw as many weeded dandelion plants into the compost as possible. They contain a lot of potassium and, what is important, there is selenium, which is deficient in the soils of our climatic zone. When apples ripen, then all low-quality, fallen fruits also go to compost.
In hot and dry weather, I water the compost heap abundantly with water, and then I water it with liquid organic matter, which consists of horse manure, chicken droppings, sapropel (one package 400 g per 200-liter barrel), microbiological fertilizer: Extrasol or Baikal EM- one .
And in this way, our compost heap is filled in layers until late autumn. It constantly alternates inert components with biologically active ones. I do not add to the compost only the tops of tomatoes, potatoes, diseased plants of flower or vegetable crops. Some gardeners do not advise adding fresh rhizomes of malicious weeds to the compost heap: weeds, wheatgrass, thistle, because they supposedly do not rot and then clog the garden. I do not agree with this opinion. Without fear, I put these rhizomes into the compost heap, trying to throw them in the center. They rot there completely. But in the upper layer of the heap they cannot be left, there they will definitely germinate.
Olga Rubtsova, gardener,
candidate of geographical sciences
Vsevolozhsky district of the
Photo by the author
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