In order to avoid becoming simply a means of transmitting information, we also have to break a sweat and try some projects when designing and managing a garden. To be honest, we knew the deep bed method through stories and experiences, but we had not tried it. Now yes and we are going to tell you the results. Do you want to know our experience?
DOES THE DEEP BED WORK OR NOT WORK?
Some of you will be surprised by the photo we have selected, but it was not even painted for what we are going to tell you;). We had the technical knowledge to start up the deep bed and the good time to plant was approaching. Spring had already arrived and with it the good weather. Well, the truth is that the good weather was already established since we are in the south. Time to plant nightshades such as peppers, aubergines, chillies, etc. If there was a time to start making the deep bench, that was the best.
We have to admit that we love spicy . We have already created some articles like the one we dedicated almost at the beginning of this blog about the Scoville scale (the one that measured the spiciness), or the cultivation of chili peppers at home . Luckily we live in an area where we are a great power in terms of crops (especially horticultural) and you practically go out to the street and find shops where you can buy seedlings for 10-20 euro cents.
As we already had in mind that we were going to make a deep bed , it was just a matter of buying the necessary plants, knowing that with this method we can gather them a little more and reduce the cultivation frame, but always considering the ones we need, then leftover!
It was only a matter of following step by step the article we wrote about the deep bed .
And this is where we have some things to tell you.
THE TOOLS WE CHOSE
We basically use the same tools that appear in the article, but we use some more than others. For example, the shovel was simply to pick up the dirt that we had already shredded and it was ready to collect.
There is nothing else that makes us more envious than to see in some videos where they carry out tutorials on how to plant than to see how they insert the shovel without much effort and collect the soil. In our case it was not like that and hence we put the cover photo that we have put :(. The structure of the ground It is different depending on the area in which we are, and it is closely linked to the content of organic matter. The more quantity, the better properties the soil will have, the greater the sponginess and the easier it is to work it. In our case it is the opposite. A very damaged soil, the result of hundreds of years of cultivation, lack of rain, crusted and very hard to work. Every time we put the hoe in it was like hitting a reinforced concrete wall, and it was practically unthinkable to try to reach the 40 cm depth recommended by Mr. John Seymour . Although with effort we succeeded.
But hey, a deep terrace is an element that we can enjoy for a few years so the effort will not be in vain. Also, if later we wanted to plant some crops with well-developed roots, or potatoes or carrots, we need a terrace … as the name implies, deep … right?
After hours and hours of removing soil, mixing it with manure (in our case it was animal) and arranging a kind of central path with tiles to be able to pass without affecting the structure of the soil, we could say that the deep bed was finished. Sorry we don’t have photos;).
With the naked eye you could see a totally spongy, soft earth with a high content of organic matter. That was the key to the deep bench and it seems that we had achieved it. Now it was just a matter of planting and seeing the response of the plants.
But wait … we have not come here to plant without more. Why not do an experiment?
THE DEEP BED EXPERIMENT
How to evaluate the response of a system that effectively works if it is not compared with a standard? All investigations have one and it is the best method to check the evolution of something. For example, two well separated orange trees are planted, one is left as it is and another is periodically added gasoline and the evolution is observed.
Excuse the example, but under this system we will foreseeably know empirically that gasoline is not good for crops and that there has been no external pattern that could have interfered with the results (since otherwise the pattern would also be involved) ;).
Well that’s what we did. Plant our aubergine, zucchini, normal peppers and padrón peppers in the deep terrace , some are hot and others are not! Although we have to say that these padrón peppers were seeds that we had saved and that we knew for a fact that they all were biting;). And outside the deep terrace, another batch of the same peppers that came from the same seeds, and some zucchini and eggplant seedlings. The irrigation of the two systems was through programmed drip irrigation, and on which we made some corrections regarding the flow output.
DEEP BEDNORMAL AND ORDINARY SOIL
When we say normal soil we do not mean to plant without more. If not, of course we would see different results between the two tests. A normal soil we mean digging, making a hole, adding some manure and planting. On that ground you can step on and do what you want. However, in the deep terrace, the contribution of organic matter had already been made previously and it was forbidden to tread . Simply, when we planted, we moved a little soil with our hands (no hoe or anything like that was needed), we planted and we gave it a settlement irrigation.
In the first weeks already quite big changes were noticed , and even the first days. It usually happens that when you buy a seedling that is used to living very, very well in a greenhouse and without receiving direct sun, we see a seedling in perfect condition. However, when we plant it, after a few hours we see how the leaves turn downwards and in general it has a sad appearance. What’s going on? Well, it’s simple. It goes from a very comfortable environment for her, especially because she is used to it, to another hostile environment, where it is hotter, it can be in direct sun, it is affected by the wind, etc. It usually happens but here is some advice.
It depends on the plant you buy and the state in which it is, the step from being in those conditions to growing it in another is hard. It does not mean by any means lose the plant, but especially if it is very hot, the plant receives a shock and “becomes sad . ” Little by little, with frequent watering, he recovers and gets used to the new environment. There are some techniques to avoid this. We can plant when the temperatures have dropped or when we do not expect it to be very hot (it is not advisable to plant at 1 in the afternoon of course).
Another option is to initially plant it in a pot and put it in semi-shade, so that little by little it gets used to the new environment, and after a few days in which we observe that the plant has “hardened”, plant it definitively in our garden.
Returning to the topic of the deep bed, the initial shock of the transplant was less harsh for the plants we had in the deep bed. We do not know for sure why, but they noticed much less the change from one environment to another. In general, the crops we selected are resistant nightshades and there were no problems. Some irrigation adjustments and little else.
As the weeks passed, the growth of the plants that we had in the deep bed was much more advanced than the standard plants, and it was already a good sign that this method was working. Luckily we did not receive the unfortunate visit of some plague or disease, so we expected a good production.
Regarding the response of the size of the fruits of one method and another, the answer is clear. You could tell that in the case of aubergines and zucchini the size and color was much better. Unfortunately we did not check the possible difference in flavor, although we believe that this would come more from the seed than from anything else. We also saw how there was greater precocityin the deep terrace and the explanation makes sense. If plant roots grow in soft soil with greater availability of organic matter and easier to move through the soil, development is advanced. On the other hand, standard plants grow in hard soil, and root development is much less. Therefore, less obtaining of nutrients and less development and precocity.
Regarding hot peppers , we saw a difference in size between plants in our garden under one method and another, but we did not observe a difference in the size of their fruits. Of course, the two plants itched to rage! Ripening was homogeneous and equally, but the plant that grew in the deep bed , being larger, produced more fruits. Actually in this crop it was not a very reliable experiment because padrón peppers are harvested before they continue to grow more and more, and long before they turn red. That is why the size check was not very reliable under this method.
In short, a great harvest from which right now in October, we can still pick the last peppers, courgettes and aubergines.
+++++ RESISTANCE TO TRANSPLANT SHOCK: deep bed wins
+++++ PLANT GROWTH: deep bed wins
+++++ FRUIT GROWTH: verified in aubergine and zucchini, in the same pepper (influenced by being padrón peppers in which they are harvested before their maximum development and their red maturation)
+++++ EARLY: zucchini, aubergine and peppers started to produce earlier than in the pattern
Everything we told in the article about the deep bed has been verified, all that remains is to start it! We can already enjoy it for a few more years. And you?