Why dig the soil in the fall, and when is it better not to dig?
If a summer resident manages to dig the beds, and deeper, the plan for the care of the soil is considered fulfilled. For a long time we acted like everyone else - we dug beds approximately on the bayonet of a shovel (no more than 25 cm). But somehow I read that there are plants (for example, beets, lupins, sunflowers) that have roots from 1.5 to 2.5 m long. But no gardener processes the soil to such a depth! And I must say that they grow well and do not require special attention. I thought about it and started to “dig” - is it really necessary to dig the soil in the fall and what can replace this procedure with? I will share my conclusions in the article.
Benefits of Autumn Digging
- In the autumn digging large clods of land do not break, and they help trap snow and melt water on the site.
- Large clods of land when digging necessarily flip, which allows you to move pests and seeds of many weed plants to the surface, where they will not transfer overwintering.
- Digging up areas with heavy clay soil in the fall, we saturate it with air, which allows us to decompose plant residues faster and enrich the soil with nutrients.
Autumn digging should be done before heavy rains begin!
Disadvantages of Autumn Digging
And now about the back of the coin.
- During the autumn digging, large clods of land with a surface fertile layer are turned over, and the fertile land moves inland with the seeds and rhizomes of some perennial weeds, where they successfully winter (for example, creeping wheatgrass or field bindweed). In addition, when digging, the plants are cut, and as you know, weeds are able to quickly grow from tiny pieces of rhizomes that have a large number of sleeping buds.
- All useful microorganisms (microscopic fungi, bacteria, microbes, algae), as well as earthworms and beneficial insects, are prepared for wintering in the fall, but if they are pulled out with a lump of earth and turned over, then they will not survive until spring.
- Digging dramatically violates the structure of the soil and does not allow preserving the network of corridors along which many types of earthworms travel at various depths. By the way, there are earthworms that constantly live only on the surface of the soil, they are called litterworms and they do not fall below 10 cm. When digging the soil, these earthworms are the worst, since most of them fall into the depths, and can’t get out of there anymore. .
When is autumn digging necessary?
If an abandoned site or virgin land is being processedif the land in the garden is not at all prepared for planting, then you can’t do without autumn digging with the addition of everything you need (and this: potash and phosphorus fertilizers, ammonium nitrate, ash or lime, compost, manure). Next year's crop will depend on proper autumn soil preparation.
In the fall, I would recommend deeply dig the beds reserved for sowing carrots, with the obligatory introduction of rotted manure, compost, wood ash, potash and phosphorus fertilizers.
A feature of carrots is that its roots, depending on the variety, go to a depth of 1.5 to 2 meters, but the bulk of the roots is at a depth of 50-60 cm. Carrots will grow better on deeply cultivated, loose, nutritious soil, it cannot, for example, beets or sunflowers, receive nutrients from compacted deep layers.
If you need to get rid of ants, then autumn digging, carried out after the first frosts, can help. Such sanitary digging is carried out to the depth of two bayonet shovels.
Late autumn digging is used in the fight against wheat grass creeping. This is the most time-consuming digging carried out according to a certain scheme and is called the “deep pass”. It is carried out to a depth of three bayonets.
At the same time, a trench is digging in the area to a depth of approximately 60 cm, and its subsoil is loosened with a pitchfork to the depth of another bayonet. Digging the next trench, the previous one is filled with earth. At the same time, at the top of the first trench is the subsoil of the second.
But sometimes wheatgrass rhizomes are able to penetrate to a depth below 70-80 cm (for waiting for drought or chemical treatment) and are there for quite a long time, therefore such painstaking work may not lead to success.
When is autumn digging harmful?
If the soil in the garden is “live”, drained, loose, with a large number of earthworms, microorganisms, it is not necessary to break its structure, and such areas are not dug up in the fall.
Do not dig the soil in tree trunk circles deeper than 10-15 cm, as their small (dewy), but the most active roots are very close to the soil surface. When digging, most of these roots die. In this situation, the tree "tries" to protect itself and in the spring in the near-stem circle a large number of shoots will appear.
How to create a loose topsoil without digging?
Firstly, during the whole season the land must be “covered” so that it does not dry out and weather, and a crust does not form on the surface. To do this, use different types of mulch, green manure, special films. Only in such conditions the number of beneficial soil organisms (microbes, bacteria, fungi, earthworms, insects) will not decrease, and soil fertility will constantly increase.
Secondly, throughout the season it is necessary to systematically weed. Any weed takes nutrients and water from the soil, is a pedigree of fungal and viral diseases, a hotbed of harmful insects, a shelter for slugs. Weeds, trying to conquer a larger space, act on their neighbors with volatile production (leaves) and colins (root), which inhibits the development and growth of cultivated plants.
By the way, creeping wheatgrass ranks first in the number of "harmful" secretions among weeds.
The use of green manure is an effective way to protect, enrich the soil and prepare it for the new season without additional digging. Autumn sowing of green manure is no less important than spring sowing. It also leads to an increase in the humus layer and saturation of the soil with nutrients, prevents soil compaction, helps to retain snow, and prevents weathering.
What siderata to sow in the fall, read our article.
The root system of siderates (especially legumes) penetrates the soil to a sufficient depth (up to two meters) and serves as a biological drainage that improves the permeability of the soil. It is very important to note that with the proper selection of mulch and green manure the number of pests and pathogens of various diseases is reduced.
If winter siderates (radish, sweet clover, rapeseed, rape, rape, rape, wheat) were not planted at the end of August, then to prevent the earth from caking under a layer of snow, it must be mulched, it is excellent to use mowed grass (nettle is the best option) with the addition of ash .
And before the autumn mulching there is no reason to dig such lands, it is enough to loosen the top layer of the soil, not deeper than 5-7 cm.