The procedure for digging the soil in the fall causes controversy among summer residents. Some even doubt the need for such work. In fact, from time to time, you need to dig up any soil in the garden in order to get a good harvest.
Why turn the earth in autumn
The autumn digging of the garden has many advantages. It keeps the soil moist. Winter snowdrifts are better retained by hilly, dug earth. In the spring, snow does not run away from the beds in streams, but lingers in the soil, abundantly moistening it.
Digging ensures the saturation of the soil with oxygen. Loose earth allows air to circulate more freely.
It also gives good access to fertilizer. Most often in the fall, the beds are fertilized with compost or manure. As digging mixes the soil with fertilizer and oxygenates the organic fertilizer, it degrades faster and weeds are reduced. Unfortunately, annual weeds are still carried by the wind, but as a result of digging the beds, the roots of perennial weeds can be easily pulled out of the soil or even left on the surface - anyway, frosts will kill them.
The number of harmful insects is also decreasing.
On the dug-up beds, you can see many pests - both larvae and adults. The birds that live in the country are making a feast for themselves, the remaining insects will die from frost.
How to do it right
First, you need to rake the area of foliage, debris, old tops and other things. Then you need to scatter pre-prepared fertilizers over the area. The digging process itself can be carried out with any tool that is convenient for you. The simplest option for a small area is a shovel. It is good because it can handle any type of soil, even heavy, but its disadvantage is that it requires a lot of physical effort.
Forks are a good option. It is easier to dig with them, moreover, the soil is loosened better. For young plants, this is the preferred tool.
You can also use a cultivator, but it is less economical for the price. In addition, the cultivator is not able to cope with all types of soil, so some areas still have to be dug up with a shovel.Many summer residents are wondering how deep to dig the earth. You need to focus on the type of crops that will grow on the site, and the type of soil. If you want to plant potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, parsley and beets, then dig to a depth of 25-30 cm. If you plan to give the beds to crops such as tomatoes, radishes, peppers, beans, peas and cucumbers, the depth will be no more than 5-10 cm.
It is better to shift the soil layers on top of each other.
If you turn them over, then the beneficial microflora contained in the earth will be destroyed. If the garden is neglected and has not been dug for many years, then it will be necessary to carry out a deep digging and turn over the layers of earth. There is no need to break the soil layers. In the spring, they usually disintegrate on their own.
When to start processing
It is necessary to choose in advance the correct dates for the autumn digging of the earth. It is usually advised to carry out this procedure after harvesting the entire crop. Depending on the terrain, they dig up the soil after the snow falls, which does not melt.
In the northern regions - in October, and in the south - in December.
In any case, this must be done before the nighttime air temperature drops below -5 degrees, and the daily average is close to zero.
After digging up the soil, its fertility increases. This is especially noticeable after digging up clay and uncultivated soil overgrown with grass. If the soil in the garden is sandy, loose, dries quickly and passes air well, then a complete digging will not give a tangible effect. In this case, it is enough to destroy the surface crust with a rake or a shovel. The main task of digging is the elimination of weeds and pests. In addition, sometimes digging is required in order to fertilize the soil as efficiently as possible.
The advantages of digging land in the garden:
- harmful microorganisms are destroyed from the surface of the beds
- the soil becomes loose, which contributes to the activation of special bacteria that saturate the soil structure with nitrogen
- weed plants freeze roots, the volume of weeds on the territory decreases, since their seeds go deeper into the ground during digging and cannot germinate until spring
- the soil that falls to the surface from the depths contains a large amount of minerals and nutrients that are needed for future crops
- in the process of digging the earth, compost and other substances are introduced into the soil, enriching it with beneficial bacteria
- ventilation of the soil layers occurs
- weeds move to the lower layers, rot and serve as additional fertilizer
- adults and larvae of pests living under the surface of the soil, when it turns over, end up outside and die from external factors (wind, sun, birds, etc.)
- during a drought, digging up a site allows you to save moisture
- if there are trees on the territory, then the foliage from them, during digging, gets into the soil, after which it rots and saturates it with useful substances and minerals.
In addition, digging the ground allows you to prepare the soil for planting crops.
However, this type of processing has disadvantages:
- Digging is hard physical work.
- During the overturning of the soil layers, the pests in them change places. The soil contains spiders, microbes, worms. Each of the species prefers to dwell at its own depth. When the environment changes, many living organisms die, which can negatively affect fertility. This is especially harmful to the land if you dig the beds not only in the fall or spring, but also at other times of the year.
Experts note that the elimination of beneficial organisms is the most significant disadvantage of digging land in the garden, therefore, it is undesirable to resort to processing in some cases. For example, a plot with potatoes should not be dug up, because when growing this crop, it is carefully hilled and weeded.
Do I need to dig up the ground in the fall in the garden - the disadvantages of digging
And now let's consider what are the disadvantages of digging the soil, why the adherents of organic farming disliked it so much.
The soil is home to many living organisms, and each of them has its own place in this "kingdom". When digging, not only harmful inhabitants appear on the surface, but also useful ones, those thanks to which the soil retains its fertility. By depriving the beds of "good" bacteria and insects, we thereby impoverish the soil. And, alas, it is not easy to restore soil fertility.
There is also a possibility that the weed seeds will survive under the soil and overwinter safely until spring. In addition, with deep and frequent digging, a less nutritious soil layer rises to the surface, the structure of the soil is disturbed, and it loses its physical properties.
And, finally, digging is hard work that has a bad effect on the condition of the back, heart and health in general, if the summer resident is not very physically prepared. Mechanized digging also requires considerable effort and preparation.
When is it better to dig a garden - timing
Experienced gardeners note that digging land in the garden in the fall is much more useful than in the spring. With this procedure, you can quickly get rid of many problems. This is especially true for regions with arid soil.
This technique is called "winter plowing". After it, the inverted weeds freeze and die. If you dig up the garden in the spring, then the weeds can germinate again. Therefore, it is recommended to dig the earth in the fall every year. This will maximize the result.
In the fall, you can not only dig up a garden, but also add compost, humus or manure to the soil. In vegetable gardens, where crops often suffer from Colorado beetles, beetles, wireworms and other parasites, digging allows them to eliminate their larvae. To do this, the ground must be turned over to a depth of 20-25 cm.
In this case, it is necessary to take into account the timing of processing the site in the fall. This may vary from region to region. It all depends on the weather conditions. The general approach is this: you need to dig up the ground as late as possible in the fall, before the first heavy rains and the onset of frost.
After harvesting, you need to grind the tops, distribute it in an even layer on the surface of the soil and dig up the earth manually or using a special tool (light digger) or equipment (walk-behind tractor). It is recommended to schedule the procedure in October-November as long as the temperature outside is maintained above 0 ° C.
Digging the soil in the garden in the spring will have a beneficial effect on the yield of vegetables, as it becomes loose and saturated with oxygen. The timing of digging the land in the spring also depends on the weather conditions of a particular region. You need to dig up the ground in the spring no later than a week before planting vegetables in the garden. Unlike autumn, in the spring you can do a shallow digging of soil in the garden (up to 10 cm).
Advantages and disadvantages of mechanized tillage
The advantages of mechanical soil cultivation include the following points:
- high degree of soil oxygenation
- deep processing, allowing to turn over the layer of the earth
- increasing the productivity of soil processing
- reducing the labor intensity of the process and physical efforts of a person
- the ability to combine several operations, for example, plowing with fertilization
- the ability to process large areas of soil in a short time.
Despite the large number of obvious advantages of using mini-equipment, it is advisable to use such units not in all areas. The use of this technique has several disadvantages:
- after mechanized plowing of the soil, it is necessary to carry out additional agro-technological operations - harrowing
- the use of such a technique on areas contaminated with weeds contributes to their even greater clogging, since the processing is carried out by a moldboard method and weed seeds are spread throughout the garden. Shallow processing also contributes to this.
Before using certain units on your site, the listed factors should be taken into account. If the site has heavy soil and a lot of weeds, then the best way to work it is plowing and subsequent harrowing.