Why you can not do without mulching
Never leave the soil surface bare. It should always be covered, if not with plants, then with mulch… The basic requirement of organic farming.
This requirement is explained by the fact that in open soil the top layer, the most necessary for plants, is subjected to a very strong destructive effect of wind, rain, sun, and temperature changes. Rain water washes away nutrients, the sun and wind dry up the earth, and as a result, the structure is destroyed and soil life gradually dies down.
How to mulch the soil
So, soil mulching – what is it? You can mulch the soil with sawdust, straw and mowed grass; peat, pine bark, and covering material are also used for this. You can also mulch the soil with a film. Special or simple polyethylene, but, of course, it is better not to transmit light.
You can use not only straw, peat, pine bark and other materials as mulch. Hay, shavings, fallen needles, leaves of forest trees are often used. It is especially necessary to mulch strawberry ridges, where, in addition to other benefits, mulch also serves as bedding for berries, which protects them from pollution and many diseases. A mulch made from spruce or pine needles improves the taste of berries and repels pests of strawberry plants.
In addition to retaining moisture, mulch suppresses weeds, enriches the soil with organic matter, and protects plant roots from freezing in winter. Mulch from fresh plants, cut grass, weeds can also serve as top dressing.
Using legumes for mulching
Beans are especially good in this regard. Perennial lupine is a real pantry of fertilizers. He himself extracts nutrients from the deep layers of the soil, where other plants do not have access (its roots go deep into2 meters). Lupine blooms beautifully – a real decoration of the garden, it attracts many beneficial pollinators, which significantly increases the yield of all crops.
It is advisable to specially grow lupine in the garden plot for the constant use of green mass for mulch. It is good to plant it on the borders of near-stem circles of fruit trees on the southern, western and eastern sides. But not from the north, as the lupine is photophilous. Its roots will be of great benefit to trees, significantly enrich the soil with nutrients and humus, especially nitrogen, because lupine is able to absorb and transfer nitrogen from the air into the soil.
Lupine grows powerful greens very quickly, which must be cut into mulch at a height 10 centimetersfrom the earth. With sufficient moisture, the greens will soon grow back. It is best to mow the greens at flowering or in the last phase of flowering, as they become fibrous later and will take longer to overripe. Yes, and when the seeds ripen, you can clog the entire area with lupine and it will turn from a friend into a worst enemy. Only if it is necessary to obtain seeds, you can leave a few plants to ripen. Lupine begins to bloom from the second year of life.
Before sowing, the seeds are scarified, that is, by rubbing with sand, scratches are applied to their shell. Sow seeds no deeper than 2-3 cminto moist soil. You can sow from early spring, literally still in the snow, until the end of July, later they no longer sow. The main condition is well-moistened loose soil.
Mulching with cut grass
In order to mulch the soil with cut grass, the cut green mass is crushed and covered with it – ridges with any crops are mulched. In order for the mulch to fulfill its purpose, its layer must be at least5 centimetersthick. And at 15 cm thick, it almost completely suppresses weeds and eliminates the need for weeding. Under such a layer, excellent conditions are created for the nutrition and reproduction of earthworms and other useful soil animals. True, mucus can also accumulate there, but they are not terrible for a growing culture, since they prefer wilted greens, and lupine is generally a special delicacy for them, so they will eat without touching the vegetable plant.
When harvesting, try not to touch the mulch, leave it on the ridge, and when digging, close it into the ground.
Now you know what soil mulching is and will help maintain soil fertility in your garden.