The importance of soil for agriculture depends on its characteristics such as fertility. What does it mean? Soil fertility is the ability to meet the plant's needs for nutrients, water, heat and air.
Types of fertility
Soil fertility can be 4 types:
Artificial soil fertility is created with human intervention. Reclamation, the use of fertilizers and other methods contribute to giving the soil characteristics suitable for fast growing crops.
Moreover, such fertility is associated with natural. The soil initially has some characteristics of a natural nature, and due to human intervention, it slightly changes its composition.
Potential fertility - the ability of the soil for a long time to provide plants with everything that they need for life. So, chernozem soils will have significant potential fertility, and podzolic soils will have the lowest.
Formed without human intervention. Basically, it is inherent in virgin soils and is calculated based on the number of plant mass that is created on any area during the year.
It is a combination of artificial and natural fertility, measured by productivity. Simply put, this is what happens when the potential fertility is realized. At the same time, a lot of nuances play the role - weather, crop selection, processing technology, plant care and much more.
Have you ever wondered why soil fertility depends? Actually from the amount of humus that is in it. The more humus, the more fertile the soil. It is he who makes the soil loose, able to absorb moisture well and have excellent air permeability. Humus is obtained as a result of the activity of microorganisms that combine soil particles with organic substances, and as a result, lumps form. It turns out that there are rich, medium or humus-poor soils.
Soil fertility is assessed based on which plants grow on it. As a rule, clean soils are not found, for the most part they are mixed.
For poor soil, the presence of plants such as:
- plow clover;
- small sorrel;
- buttercup anemone;
- real bedstraw;
- marsh cudgel;
- medium clover.
Restoring soil fertility
Increasing soil fertility is an urgent issue due to the fact that often gardeners themselves make the soil poor. How? They collect leftovers in the form of leaves, which could become a good organic fertilizer, and burn them.
Moreover, then the soil is “poisoned” by chemicals in the form of various non-natural fertilizers.
Fertility can be restored in the following ways:
- Use mixed planting plants.
- Do not dig the soil deeper than 10 cm, it is better to use cultivators.
- Switch to spraying from a hose instead of abundant watering.
- For winter, fertilize the earth and cover it.
- Sow siderite.
- No - to pesticides, yes - to biological preparations.
- Use microorganisms and run earthworms.
- Do not fight weeds, but stop on mulching.
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Key methods for improving land fertility
Restoring soil fertility is an important issue, because with a decrease in fertility, plants not only do not grow as they would like, but they also undergo the appearance of various diseases.
So how to improve soil fertility?
- Correctly organize the crop rotation. This means that perennial and annual crops cannot be planted in the same place if 5 years have not passed. Every year it is necessary to change the seeding of crops.
- Use different types of medicinal plants (marigolds, nettles, garlic, shepherd’s bag).
- Heat or heat treatment. In this case, under the influence of heat, pests die and weeds are destroyed. The only minus of the method is the inability to use them on large areas. Mostly used in greenhouses.
- Ground rest. The soil also needs to rest, for this try to plant nothing for at least a year. At this time, you can do weeding and mulching. Dig the soil in the fall so that the top layer is at the bottom.
- Place a satellite plant next to each main plant. In this case, the incidence will decrease, and the cultures will grow much better. Marigolds, rosemary, and chamomile are used as satellite plants. They not only do not allow the soil to deplete, but are also very attractive to bees.
- Do not abandon old proven organic fertilizers - compost, ash, manure. You can also make fertilizer with your own hands.
- The use of California worms. The presented worms differ from ordinary ones in that they live long and perfectly digest the soil. As a result, productivity increases several times. Worms are very prolific.
- A great way to rectify the situation is to sow the green manure. These are plants with a high content of nitrogen, starch and protein. We are talking about oats, sunflower, mustard. Sowing is carried out in September, after the crop has already been harvested. Then they wait until the siderates grow and mow before flowering. They are left right in the soil for the winter.
Soil fertility is the main factor affecting the growth and development of plants. If the soil does not provide enough nutrients, there will be no good harvest! There are various types of soil fertility enhancement: the use of worms, microorganisms, mixed planting, and the introduction of organic fertilizers. But before proceeding with decisive action, it is necessary to evaluate how much humus contains soil.