Mulching, paddding or quilting is a practice both in the field and in gardening that has as main objective to protect and nourish the soil during the planting period, thus seeking to generate a constantly humid ecosystem and free of agents that harm crops. Likewise, it allows to supply the soil of the nitrogen necessary for the healthy growth of the crops, not to mention that it gives a natural beautification to the sowings.
Usually, this technique is usually performed in temperate climates. It is very beneficial in the early agricultural production, as it helps in the process of acceleration of the crops, thus generating an optimization in the use of the soil. This use takes place mainly in areas where the irradiation of the solar rays has a less direct incidence on the floors.
It maintains the proper pH in the soil, directly benefiting the roots of the crops and helps enormously with the conservation of the necessary humidity. It is recommended to use a drip irrigation system in the agricultural productions with which this technique is used , since excessive irrigation can generate the rot of the roots of the crops.
Types Of Mulch Or Quilted
The practice of mulching in agricultural production involves the creation of mantles on the sowing bed. These mantles, or mulch, may be composed of various types of materials. There are mostly organic materials, but there are also synthetic materials, such as polyurethane mantles, whose use is quite common in the agricultural production of vegetables, legumes and fruits.
Among the organic materials for the mulch, we have:
- Dry leaves
- Straw or dry grass
- Wood shavings
- Wood chips
- Newspapers and cartons
For this type of materials, it is recommended that the layer is not less than 8 cm, nor exceed 15 cm, depending on the proximity or remoteness of the rains. Before the rains should be thicker and after the thinner rains, to avoid both dehydration, and over-hydration of the soils.
This organic mantle is made from the reuse of fallen dry leaves of trees. Generally games are accumulated to prevent the wind from lifting them. When wetting, the dry leaves begin a natural process of decomposition, creating a mantle. Particular care must be taken in choosing the type of leaves, which, because of their acidity, may or may not be beneficial to agricultural production. Likewise, the thickness of the mulching layer must be taken care of, so that it does not stifle the earth or prevent contact of the sun.
Straw Or Dry Grass
This mantle is composed of those derived from the pruning of the grass, and it is very important to dry it well, cut it and remove any weed seeds . Otherwise, we will create an undesirable outbreak of weeds, something completely harmful to our agricultural production.
This type of mulch is created from the derivatives of wood, mainly from places such as sawmills, barracks and carpentry workshops. All of these establishments generate this type of waste, popularly known as sawdust. This is an excellent ingredient for the production of organic mulching.
However, we must be careful to select the most suitable type of sawdust : pine, for example, is a wood very rich in acidifying and turpentine, so we must study well if our crops will benefit from this type of organic mantle.
Unlike sawdust , wood chips are much thicker and come mainly from tree barks, due to the natural effects of falling, or changing bark, or obtained also in the industrial processes of wood use, when The trunks of the trees are stripped of the bark. Usually, mulch made from wood chips takes longer to decompose , giving it more durability.
Newspapers And Cartons
This type of mulching is perhaps the most economical and simple to make , since people often keep stocks of newspapers and cardboard boxes. This is usually done by wetting the sheets of newspaper or cardboard, interspersed with fertile soil and compost , and repeating the process several times until a fairly thick layer (between eight and fifteen centimeters), depending on the rainy season.
Before the rainy season a thicker layer is placed, and during and after this is placed thinner.
Polyethylene padding is widely used in agricultural production because of its practicality, easy handling, cost-effectiveness and low cost. It is used in many crops throughout different countries, becoming very popular in the cultivation of lettuce, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, among other vegetables and legumes. It is also commonly used in prolific fruit cultivation, such as strawberry, blackberry, and raspberry.
This is placed on the bed of moist soil and helps in accelerating the outbreak of the crops , generating a micro-greenhouse effect and producing fertile growth between small holes along the plastic sheets. When the crops have grown, the plastic mulch prevents excess soil, helping to harvest more cleanly..
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