How I made narrow beds and simplified my life
The most difficult work on the "garden field" is the arrangement of the site, its breakdown into beds, their autumn digging. Loosening, planting, grooming and even watering (although this is also not an easy job for older people) gardeners are less likely to fear, because these works are more extended in time, and can give at least a brief respite in the warm season. How to organize a summer cottage so that it remains attractive, the garden clean, and maintenance work is reduced? I recommend making narrow beds. In this article I will tell you how narrow beds save summer residents from big labor costs, and share the experience of their creation.
- Why a large garden is not a big harvest yet
- A simple way to create narrow beds
- Why are narrow beds good?
- Narrow crop rotation
- Narrow Ridge Care
Why a large garden is not a big crop yet
Years of gardening experience have shown that the quantity of quality crop is not provided by a large area. In a small area for plants, more thorough care is possible, which means that the yield from the bush and from the area as a whole will be the largest and with the best quality of the fruits. It takes 2-3 times less time and energy to care for a crop in a small area.
Multiple crop rotation (8-12 crops) with large areas of beds in old age is an overwhelming labor. I am 77 years old and in the last 15 years I have been using the narrow bed method in my garden. Very convenient and does not require cash costs and excessive physical effort.
A simple way to create narrow beds
To change your traditional garden to a more progressive one, you first need to measure the total area of the site. Level the area reserved for the garden, and divide it into narrow beds with wide paths. The width of the beds should be no more than 40-50 cm. Between the beds it is necessary to leave wide paths - 80-120 cm. The length of the beds is arbitrary and depends on the desire of the owner. The beds are best sent from north to south. This arrangement will lengthen the illumination of plants in the beds. All grass and the remains of garden plants (not affected by diseases) are dumped onto the paths.
You can swap narrow ridges and paths in 2-4 years. In the middle of a wide track, select a narrow bed, and form wide tracks from the waste beds and side parts of the tracks. Over the years, a sufficient layer of semi-decomposed mulch will accumulate on them from weeds, tops and stems of garden plants.
New narrow beds deep by 8-10 cm are loosened with choppers. During winter, the soil swells, becomes airy, in the spring, loosening is repeated. Digging is not needed. If not all the work (for various reasons) was completed in a timely manner, and the weeds rose on the beds and paths, they are mowed and left to rot.
You can not transfer narrow beds from place to place, and then wide paths can be sown with lawn grass: a polevole, bluegrass and other herbs that are resistant to trampling. They suppress ordinary weeds, the beds in the green grass of lawn grasses are obtained.
Some owners cover the tracks with old sheets of plywood, roofing material to reduce their overgrowth with weeds, and it was more convenient to work on the garden bed. In this case, the harvested weeds are left in the aisles on the bed.
If there is time and effort, you can fence the beds and raise them above the ground. But these works require time and materials. In addition, on free land, without any fencing, plants develop better.
Why are narrow beds good?
There is a free approach to plants on such a bed from two sides. It is easy to process, loosen, plant. You can perform these works while sitting on a bench along the garden bed or move across when planting large planting material (potatoes, arbazheyki, zucchini, peas, etc.)
Only one strict condition: you can not step on the bed so as not to compact the soil. All work is performed from wide tracks between the beds. On wide tracks, they carry out all auxiliary work using containers, trolleys, utility equipment, without touching the bed.
Crops are planted on a bed in 2-3 rows no more than small seeds (black onions, dill, radishes, salads, etc.). On narrow beds, aisles are left minimally narrow. With such a planting, the growing aerial part of garden plants will quickly close empty soil.
For example, on narrow beds, row-spacings for early tomatoes leave 35x35 cm, and for tall, large bush - 40x40 and no more than 50x50 cm, for carrots - 5x5 cm. Cucumber aisles do not exceed 20x20 cm. Weeds will die under the green mass of growing crops, and frequent cultivation will not be needed to kill weeds. In addition, moisture is evaporated through the leaf surface of plants 20-25 times less than from the open surface of the soil.
Narrow crop rotation
In winter, there is enough time to think over the crop rotation (crop rotation) of your garden. The main rule - in the garden, a change of culture should go on throughout the warm season. For example: if you do not need large yields, you can divide the garden into 2-3 parts. On one sow radishes of several ripening periods, and on the second - spinach or salads, then - onion-batun as an annual crop.
Radish will occupy its part of the garden for no more than 1-1.5 months. After harvesting, you can plant seedlings of early cabbage, early tomatoes, 40-day potatoes. After harvesting the salads, the second half of the garden can be occupied with medium or medium early tomatoes, green (dill, celery, parsley, basil), spring garlic.
Read more about crop rotation in the material “Five crop rotation methods for a summer cottage”.
If planting seedlings of middle and late dates, white cabbage is planned to be planted on the garden bed, then it is necessary to sow this bed with green manure in the fall or spring so that it does not empty, becoming a landfill for weeds (see the articles “Which green manure to sow in autumn”, “Which green manure to sow” in spring ”). By the time of transplanting the seedlings, siderates mow and use as mulch for crops. All crop care can be done slowly, better - on a bench adapted for this.
Narrow Ridge Care
Sitting on a small bench it is easy to reach a row of plants on a bed on one and the other side, to loosen the soil, to destroy weeds. It is better to leave weeds in the aisles of the culture, but if there are still a lot of them, and they have grown (in the first years it happens), then the weeds destroyed are dumped onto the track. A layer of weeds will spring under the feet, which will reduce the load on the soil. She will not be so trampled down. Weeds will rot, form humus, which will be very useful in the future. If the weeds also rose on the paths, they are easily destroyed by surface cultivation.
Narrow beds are easy to mulch. As the mulch, the same weeds are used (they are placed between rows), straw, sawdust (except for conifers) and wood shavings, green mass of mowed green manure.
Through a 7-10 cm layer of mulch (no less, otherwise the mulch does not work) the weeds do not sprout, they die, as do some pests, including the Colorado potato beetle (the number of treatments against it decreases). In addition, green manure with its root system loosens the soil, it will not need to be dug up and at the same time they will serve as a green fertilizer for the main crop.
Permanent employment of the site does not require large expenditures for constant weed control. Mulching will prevent the fruits of vegetable crops close to the ground from soil contamination (tomatoes, zucchini, strawberries, etc.) and damage by fungal infections (late blight, rot). Rotting, mulch replenishes the soil with organic matter, which will increase soil fertility and improve its structure.
If the site is heavily clogged, then part of the weeds can be removed before the start of spring work without much effort. It is only necessary to provoke their faster germination. In spring, peat, ash, humus are scattered on the garden in the snow and covered with a transparent film. The sun's rays are attracted by a dark surface, the ground under the film warms up faster and weeds begin to sprout. After 1.5-2.0 weeks, the soil on the beds and paths is loosened, destroying weeds.
If late crops are planned to be planted in the garden, the provocation is repeated. Simply expose the bare soil once again by surface loosening (no digging of the soil is necessary).
Narrow ridges, especially strawberry or under perennials, it is convenient to mulch not transmitting light, but transmitting moisture, covering material.
If weeds were not promptly removed from the tracks, they are cut under the root and used to mulch garden crops in the beds.
With sufficient May rains and plentiful timely mulching of the soil, it is possible to reduce a part of irrigation, increasing the irrigation interval. Moisture is well preserved under the mulch, does not allow the soil to form a dry crust, which often harms the delicate stems of plants.
On narrow ridges it is easy to organize drip irrigation. From the main hose running along the garden, a hose with holes is laid on each narrow bed. The smaller the diameter of the holes, the more they are located. The main hose is attached to the tap. The pressure of the water is made small, the water should drip, and not pour.
Dear readers! Remember that the transition to narrow ridges will not automatically release the garden from weeds in one year, but will help reduce labor costs for processing the site and will allow you to get fairly high yields of vegetables without physical stress.