Black Earth Flows in our Blood
Routine Gardening Tips from Ukraine
This story is written through the eyes (hands) of an immigrant to Canada. My name is Daiana and I am from Ukraine.
I grew up in a wonderful city near Kyiv. As a child, I was taught how to respect the lands that feed us.
Each autumn we would use different techniques to maintain the health of the land. These are the routine activities in Ukraine:
- Cleaning and processing plant beds after harvest.
- Cultivating the soil and loosening the top layer (at least 3 cm).
- Digging and processing the land for the winter – considered the most important step when preparing the soil for the following spring. Digging significantly improves soil structure, especially if the site has a clay base.
- If previous crops were damaged by disease, it is essential to disinfect the soil before winter. Digging is effective along with planting siderates – plants that are temporarily grown on plots to improve soil structure (white mustard is perfect!). If possible, lay a vegetative mass of marigolds in dug beds.
- Digging is recommended each autumn to apply most of the fertilizers for the future harvest. During this period, it is good to “charge” the earth not only with organic matter (compost from fallen apples, leaves, grass, and humus), but also with potassium and phosphorus. Do not forget about the autumn liming of the soil, its oxidation.
- Planning the queue for growing different varieties of plants on the beds. Crop rotation should be well thought out because the condition of the soil and the prevalence of pests depend on it. In autumn, after the harvest, think about where to sow “this” or “that” variety the following year. For example, it is good to replace late cabbage with potatoes or legumes (beans, peas); instead of cucumbers, plant cauliflower or garlic.
While conducting any work on the land, we sing songs, give thanks for the harvest, and ask for a good harvest the following year. As my grandmother once said, “Black earth flows in our blood,” and I have no right to forget it.
Now that I live in Canada, I enjoy being in an environment related to cultivation, land, food, and support. I am very grateful to Green Iglu for the opportunity to work in such an environment. There are many achievements ahead!
Swipe through to see photos of Daiana’s garden and farm in the village of Obmachiv, Ukraine: