Table of contents:
- 1. Mulch
- 2. Compost
- 3. Liquid fertilizer from needles
- 4. Pest and disease control
- 5. Warm beds
- 6. Shelter of plants for the winter
Video: How To Use Needles In The Garden And Vegetable Garden? Mulch. Compost. Fertilizer. Photo
2023 Author: Ava Durham | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 07:50
Many summer residents actively use fallen leaves and other plant residues as fertilizers, prepare compost from them, mulch the aisles. But at the same time, pine and spruce needles are used with great caution for this purpose, and sometimes they are completely taken out of the site. After all, there is an opinion that the needles strongly acidify the soil and inhibit the plants. Meanwhile, coniferous litter is a very valuable raw material from which you can get maximum benefit. Let's figure out how you need to use pine needles in your garden.
Most often, needles are collected for mulching plants in the garden and in the garden. Under a layer of needles 3-5 cm thick, moisture can persist for a long time, thereby reducing the need for watering. In addition, a thick layer of mulch protects the beds from weeds and creates a favorable microclimate for plants. In this case, you do not have to waste time weeding and loosening row spacings, because the mulch works for us.
There are several more advantages of a shelter made of needles, which distinguish it favorably from other types of vegetable mulch:
- A carpet made of pine needles can be left unchanged for a long time, because, unlike straw or grass, the needles are re-heated for several years;
- Snails and slugs do not start under the mulch from the needles - they are frightened off by essential compounds, which are present in large quantities in pine and spruce needles;
- Coniferous mulch is water permeable and does not absorb moisture, so mold and other fungi appear in it less often. Phytoncides contained in needles also prevent the development of pathogens.
However, the same phytoncides in many cases can inhibit plant growth. Well, and, among other things, it must be borne in mind that coniferous litter is characterized by an increased level of acidity, which means that for some crops such a shelter may not be beneficial, but harm. On which beds is it better to use pine mulch?
Some horticultural and ornamental crops need acidic soil for good growth and development. This group includes rhododendrons, hydrangeas, honeysuckle, blueberries, cranberries, lingonberries. For such plantings, needles mulch will be just right. Here it can be left for a long time, as well as dripped into the soil as fertilizer.
Many flower cultures love coniferous litter. Admirers of this kind of shelter include roses, lilies, lavender, tulips, crocuses, hyacinths, primroses, chrysanthemums.
Of the annual flowers, zinnia, aster, forget-me-not, cosmea, calendula, sage react well to coniferous mulch. Flowers in such a flower bed become brighter, weeds do not grow too actively, and pests try to bypass the planting with the aroma of needles.
Many gardeners use pine needles for mulching eggplants and even tomatoes. You can also safely use coniferous litter on strawberry beds. Berries on a bed of needles grow clean and healthy, rarely affected by rot and various pests.
If conifer needles are abundant, you can sprinkle them on paths and wide aisles. And so that the acidity of the soil does not increase, it is recommended at the end of the season to remove the needles from the site and additionally add ash to the soil.
Used mulch can be mixed with leaves and other plant debris to further apply it all as fertilizer.
As we have already found out, fresh needles sometimes have a depressing effect on plants. But if a lot of pines, spruces and other conifers grow on your site, then their litter can also be used for fertilization. But you just need to do it correctly, having previously prepared the raw materials using composting.
Coniferous needles rot slowly, you need to wait at least 5 years until they are completely decomposed. To speed up this process, it is best to place them in a compost pit, mixed with leaves and other plant debris.
To reduce the acidity of the future compost, each layer of needles should be sprinkled with ground limestone, dolomite or powdered chalk. It is advisable to spill the compost layers on top with a strong solution of mullein or chicken droppings. If there is none on the farm, then you can replace it with a urea solution (at the rate of 200 g per 10 liters of water).
While the compost is ripening, you need to mix it periodically, spilling it with the above mixtures. You can also moisten the compost layers with a solution of any microbiological fertilizer (such as "Baikal - EM-1" and the like). Such an additive will significantly speed up the decomposition of organic raw materials.
This obtained organic fertilizer should be applied only after its full maturation. If all the conditions are met, then humus based on needles can be ready in 1.5-2 years after laying the compost. The finished humus should be colored dark brown, have a characteristic "mushroom" smell and crumble in the hands.
3. Liquid fertilizer from needles
Coniferous needles can be used not only to prepare humus, but also as a base for liquid fertilizer. After all, the needles contain a large amount of micro- and macroelements, vitamins, essential oils and other useful substances. Raw materials for this purpose can be harvested in the summer or after the New Year holidays, when the pines and spruces that have served their service become useless and are thrown into the trash in armfuls.
It takes much less time to prepare a liquid fertilizer than to ripen humus. The process of preparing liquid top dressing from needles consists of several stages:
- The needles must be finely chopped and folded into a suitable dish, leaving a few centimeters to the edge;
- Pour raw materials with water and bring to a boil. Boil over low heat for 5-10 minutes and set aside;
- Insist the needles for another 2-3 days in the same container, then strain;
- Pour the liquid into bottles and store in a cool dark place.
Concentrated fertilizer from needles is diluted with water in a ratio of 1:10 and watered with this solution of the plant. In the same concentration, the liquid can be used for foliar dressing.
To neutralize acidity, you can add crushed eggshells to the solution and insist for 7-10 days in a dark place. An even better effect will be obtained if you add the EM preparation to the solution according to the instructions. But it should be remembered that not all plants like the phytoncides contained in the needles.
4. Pest and disease control
Needle infusion has long been known as a bactericidal and disinfectant. It can be used to prevent diseases and fungal diseases, in particular when growing seedlings.
For this, the concentrated solution is diluted with water in a ratio of 1: 2 and young plants are sprayed every 10-14 days. The same remedy is used for the prevention of late blight on tomatoes and potatoes, as well as against powdery mildew on melons.
Concentrated liquid fertilizer can also be used as an insecticide by spraying plants with a spray bottle. Unlike chemicals, pine needles infusion is safe and environmentally friendly. It works well for the defeat of horticultural crops by the apple moth and firefly, it is also used against aphids, flea beetles and other small insects.
Some gardeners use coniferous infusion to combat the Colorado potato beetle. Cabbage seedlings are sprayed with a solution of needles at a concentration of 1: 2, starting from the moment of planting in the ground, and this procedure is repeated every 10-12 days.
To scare off pests and prevent egg-laying, you can sprinkle chopped needles in the aisles of onions, carrots and cabbage. This procedure is carried out every two weeks. When planting potatoes, they also add some needles to the hole to scare away the wireworm.
5. Warm beds
It has long been known that organic matter releases heat during decomposition. This property is often used by gardeners, getting the earliest vegetables on their site without special heating costs. To do this, since the fall, they dig a trench two bayonet deep with a shovel, which is then filled with plant residues.
The needles can be used as a filler for a warm bed, pouring it into a thick layer at the bottom of the trench. Coniferous needles are sprinkled with wood ash, followed by small branches, tops, roots and stems of weeds, and then fill the voids with a small amount of soil. A fertile layer is poured on top - garden soil mixed with humus. The thickness of this layer should be at least 15-20 cm.
The finished bed is spilled with a solution of organic matter or an EM preparation in the same way as when preparing compost. From above, the bed is covered with a black film and left so until spring.
With the onset of warmth, organic matter will begin to actively decompose and heat up the soil in the garden bed, which will allow planting seedlings almost a month earlier than usual. You can not remove the film, but make cross-shaped cuts in it and plant plants there. To protect against spring frosts, arcs are placed over the bed and a transparent film or agrofibre is pulled on top.
6. Shelter of plants for the winter
Pine and spruce branches are suitable for winter shelter of grapes, climbing roses, rhododendrons, azaleas, hydrangeas and clematis. They protect plants well from freezing and drying.
First, the lashes are removed from the supports, tied and laid on coniferous branches in a ring, or simply bent to the ground and pinned. Instead of branches, you can use the needles themselves. To do this, you need to fill it with a mound, and lay the lashes of plants on top. You can combine such a shelter with peat or compost, and then wrap the branches with non-woven covering material.
In a similar way, you can cover the winter planting of vegetables and bulbous plants. The needles are also suitable for warming the root system of young seedlings. To do this, bags filled with coniferous needles are placed in the trunk circle. Such a shelter will not only protect the roots from severe frosts, but also drive away uninvited guests - mice and hares.
Dear Readers! Perhaps you are using pine needles in the garden or in the garden in some way that we did not remember in this article. Write about it in the comments. We are sure that your experience will be of interest to many readers of Botanichka.
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