Further, with the arrival of autumn, which has its official calendar date set for March 20, the landscape shows the first signs of change. Migratory birds begin to fly over the skies. The winds intensify and facilitate seed dispersal.
If you want your garden to be ready for the new season, it’s worth doing a more careful study. As you prepare the soil for the next planting, try to record in a notebook a kind of drawing – such as a house plan – indicating which crops occurred in the last year and, if possible, in previous years.
Mapping past crops will help you decide what to plant, and where to plant. The crop rotation is critical in preventing diseases, land structure, and soil fertility.
Write down the plants that grew and were harvested in full formation, and those that were left for seed production. Be creative, use color for each plant family, and write down the places that were least productive on your garden beds.
This record will be outstanding at the time of sowing and transplantation because one should avoid repeating cultivars of the same family in the same place. But what is a family? I explain.
What defines a family in horticulture is the structure of the flower: therefore, flowers in similar shapes, equal families. I give an example to be clear: carrots, parsley, coriander, and celery are from the Umbelliferae family, flowers arranged in umbrella-shaped bunches. Already kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and arugula are from the family of Crucifers, plants that have flowers of four petals.
The important thing is that you know that every crop prints a substance in the soil because plants trade with it to grow, and these substances last for a certain period so that if the crop is repeated in one place without the ground renewed, nutrients will be lacking for your plant.
And the most exciting detail is that the substances left in the soil can favor or harm other families, which we call allelopathy. In short: there are compatible plants and incompatible plants, hence the importance of planning the plantings so that in the garden there is a network of chemical and physical exchange between species.
Another example: beans and pods from the legume family bring out from the depths of the soil nitrogen, a fertilizer element in plants. For this reason, the cultivation of legumes is widely used as green manure, which is nothing more than planting and harvesting before flowering, reincorporating the crop, its stalks, roots, and leaves in the soil, bringing nitrogen and organic matter to the surface…
This type of fertilization also allows verifying if the irrigation is homogeneous and if there are invasive species still to be removed. It also allows the incorporation of minerals such as limestone and manganese in different stages of fertilization.
For new plants, which will begin to grow in the fall, the soil must be prepared in advance. If you want to incorporate manure or earthworm humus, it is essential to do this a few weeks before planting, so that nutrient release occurs in time for new plants to arrive. These should already be sown and grown in their sowing, which is trays with spaces, reduced to sow in a place protected from heavy rains and intense sun, ie, in a nursery.
During this time of preparation for the coming season, it is essential to watch over the garden of natural enemies like slugs. They are from the clam family and like to eat tender leaves when the sun is low. They leave after the afternoon and dawn rains, and despite the slow connotation that characterizes them, they disappear very quickly, hiding among cracks, stones, dry leaves, and logs. The best way to identify them is through their trail, a silver ribbon that extends along the garden paths. Slugs devour seedlings already formed without a trace and reproduce in droves. But, to our delight, they can easily be captured and thrown around. There is an instrumental trap of burying a deep dish full of beer close to the ground. They will be attracted to the odor of yeast at night, and in the morning, you can easily remove them. Slugs die when they come in contact with salt, but, as I have already commented, this method seems very cruel to a little animal that wants to eat and causes so much fascination among children.