The quality of the soil is of great importance for the future harvest, and it is worthwhile to understand that if planting occurs in poor or inappropriate soil, you simply will not raise it with fertilizers or active watering.
It is necessary to know the composition of the soil, its density, the content of organic matter, which, in principle, is established in any sensible laboratory. But it is not always possible to take samples to such an institution. Therefore, it is worth following the advice of specialists who will help with determining the quality of the soil at the summer cottage.
Acidity of the soil in the country
Acidity is of great importance, since its indicators are based on agrotechnical properties and the ability to grow certain crops. It has long been noticed that on soils with high acidity, many plants develop poorly, so it will be correct to determine the acidity long before planting.
There are several degrees of soil acidity:
- very strongly acidic (pH <4.0);
- strongly acidic (pH = 4.1-4.5);
- acidic (pH = 4.5-5.0);
- slightly acidic (pH = 5.0-5.5);
- close to neutral (pH = 5.5-6.0);
- neutral (pH = 6-7).
Before planting at the cottage of a new plant, it is advisable to know how well it develops on one or another soil, and check its acidity.
How to check acidity
We already answered this question in another article of the site, but today we will give a few more methods that are recommended by specialists:
- Initially, it is necessary to purchase indicators with instructions for use, as well as a special acidity scale;
- then take a sample, about 20-30 g, and place it in 50 ml of distilled water. Now you need to shake the mixture well in a glass of water and wait 5-7 minutes;
- after that, insist water for 50-60 minutes, occasionally shaking the prepared composition;
- then wet the test paper with the resulting solution;
- a standard color of paper that does not change means neutral soil;
- changed color - it is compared with a special scale, according to which the acidity of the soil is established.
High acidity is reduced by liming, alkalinity (pH> 7.5) is eliminated by applying gypsum-containing materials.
The density of soil in the country
The density of the soil is an indicator of the possibility of penetration into not only air and moisture, but also the equipment of the summer resident. With increased density, it is quite difficult to work with the ground, because a shovel, pitchfork or chopper just do not penetrate into it.
Density can depend on so many factors, among which are its content, atmospheric phenomena and the general climate, geographical location, as well as the original site. Density can be high and low, as well as normal, satisfactory. Each density affects the ability to grow certain crops on the site.
How to determine the density of the soil yourself
In fact, this is a fairly simple process where expensive equipment is not needed.
Take a glass jar with a capacity of 200-250 g and check its weight on a high-precision scale (preferably with an error of not more than 1 g). Now, pouring arable layer into the jar from the planting site, tap the jar on the palm of your hand so that the soil is rammed. According to the result of filling the jar should be filled to the brim. Now you need to put it for 5 hours in the oven, heated to 100 ° C. This will help remove moisture from the ground.
At the end of the moisture withdrawal period, cool the jar of earth and place it on the scale. The calculation is very simple - we calculate the density! Divide the mass of soil without a can by the volume of the can that you took. The result is compared with the following values:
- Density, g / cm3 more than 1.5 - poor, or rather, unsatisfactory density for the largest number of plants. To reduce the density, peat should be added, up to 15-20 kg per square meter, with a frequency of 1 time in 3 years.
- Density, g / cm3 1.2-1.5 - unsuitable or unsatisfactory for root crops and many vegetable crops. The situation is corrected by applying the same peat - 10-15 kg per square meter, 1 time in 5 years.
- Density, g / cm3 1.0-1.2 - optimal for root crops, satisfactory for vegetable crops. Organic matter is introduced into such soil as standard.
- Density, g / cm3 less than 1.0 - optimal for vegetable crops. We also do not change anything for this indicator and introduce organic matter in standard norms.
All such analyzes are repeated several times, and the arithmetic mean is taken for determination.
Granulometric composition of the soil
This is a simple soil texture that consists of four standard components. True, their content may be different:
- mineral base of the soil - about 50-60%;
- water - 25-35%;
- air - 15-25%;
- organic matter - about 10%.
The soil in the plots can be the most diverse and in composition have clay, sand, or gravel in the total mass. Values are measured here.
According to these indicators, some rules of agricultural technology are established - the same loosening of the soil and the quantitative part for the period, irrigation, etc. You can even immediately point out some soils:
- clay - poorly permeable, raw and sticky, practically not drained, but with a lot of nutrients;
- loams - soils with approximately the same clay and sand content.
If the sand content is increased, such soil is easy and convenient to cultivate, but there is also a minus - such land does not hold nutrients and water well.
Determination of particle size distribution of the soil
There are two ways to check the soil content, or rather, its mechanical or particle size distribution.
- Take a few tablespoons of soil, moisten it and try to bring to a pasty state.
- Try rolling a long cord from the mixture and observe.
- Sand does not roll.
- The sandy loam does not roll, but gradually shrinks into small lumps of low strength.
- Light loam breaks up into separate pieces, but does not hold in the general form of a rolled cord.
- Middle loam rolls into a cord, but when it is shaped like a ring, it bursts.
- Heavy loam rolls well and forms a ring, but only with cracks.
- Clay easily rolls and forms a solid ring.
- It is necessary to take a test tube for research and fill it with distilled water.
- After pour in a couple of teaspoons of soil there and shake well.
- Take a minute and check.
- The sand settles completely and the water clarifies.
- The sandy loam is clarified by 60-70 mm, about half of the liquid.
- Light loam is clarified by 20-50 mm, about a third of the capacity.
- Middle loam - 10-20 mm.
- Heavy loam - only 1-3 mm.
- Clay - on almost imperceptible 1 mm.
Soil moisture in the area
Plant growth and development are seriously dependent on soil moisture, and therefore these indicators should be carefully studied.
Humidity is checked in three states (liquid, solid and gaseous) and is expressed as a percentage of the total volume or mass of the soil.
How to determine humidity
The beginning of the whole process is precision equipment. This is a technical scale with an accuracy of 0.1 g, as well as a medical crucible. You can use a small porcelain cup, up to 50 ml.
20 g of soil are poured into it, necessarily measured on the scales, and the cup is placed in the oven for 5 hours. The temperature in the oven is 100 ° C.
Now math! Set the mass of water contained in the soil. To do this, we check the mass of soil before placing it in the oven and after. We take away the mass of the glass and get the mass of water previously contained in the ground.
Next, set the percentage of moisture in the soil. To do this, multiply the mass of water by 100 and divide by the mass of dry material.
The soil must not be allowed to show wilting moisture when plants cannot develop normally. For different soils, the wilting moisture is shown in different percentage amounts:
- sandy soils - 1-3%;
- sandy loam - 3-6%;
- loams - 6-15%;
- clay - 10-15%;
- peat soils - 50-60%.
It is believed that the optimum humidity on loams and clay soils is about 20-45%, and on sandy and sandy soils - 10-20%.
Organic content in the soil
Each experienced summer resident understands perfectly what organic matter is and what significance it has for crops grown in the country.
It is very important that the organic content in the soil is not lower than a satisfactory level. Then you will not need to fertilize with high urgency and constantly get nervous about the fact that some seedlings do not sprout, or the harvest of certain crops does not suit you.
All organic matter in the soil is formed from the remains of plants or animals. Here, in deep or superficial layers, decomposition takes place. Due to this, humus is formed.
Humus, due to its properties, improves the quality of the soil, and also increases its ability to retain moisture and trace elements necessary for the development of plants.
How to check the amount of organic matter in the soil
A satisfactory or high amount of organic substances in the soil of a summer cottage is, in most cases, very good. But this level is worth knowing!
Often, summer residents themselves decide that the land is poor or unfertilized, and, following the advice of more experienced summer residents, they also add fertilizer. Sometimes it is good, sometimes the other way around, because organics can be enough. And we all know that a glut of fertilizers is also not good.
So, we need to find out the amount of organic matter in the soil. How to do it right? Just say that everything is simple, except for the verification formula. If you immediately understand it, then the research itself will be carried out very quickly:
- take a metal cup, pour 50 g of dry earth into it from the site and place it on a tile in a ventilated room for 3 hours;
- if there is little organics, it will smoke a little, if there is a lot, the amount of smoke will increase significantly;
- after 3 hours, weigh the glass with soil on an accurate scale;
- Next, make a calculation. Immediately we need to find out the mass of material lost when the cup was warmed up. We can install it simply - from the total mass of the glass with soil to the calcination we take the mass after. We get the result. Now we multiply it by 100 and divide by the initially loaded mass, and also subtract the static coefficient, which indicates the content of chemically bound water in the soil. For clay soils - 4, for loam - 3, for sandstone - 2 and for sand - 1.
It remains the most elementary - to assess the organic content, establish its level and find out what to do next:
- if the result is less than 2, this is a rather low content, which means that it is necessary to add up to 5 kg of manure and 10 kg of peat annually per square meter of land;
- if the value is from 2 to 3, the level is low, and fertilizing the soil is still necessary. 5 kg of manure and peat will suffice;
- a value from 3 to 6 is satisfactory when only fertilizing with manure is needed, about 3 kg per year;
- value more than 6 - high organic content. You can make a small amount of manure, only 1-2 kg per square meter.
A similar assessment method is used for chernozems and sod-podzolic, but not applicable for marsh, semi-bog, and carbonate-containing soils.
Determination of soil acidity (video)
Checking the soil content in the summer cottage will help not only with the cultivation of vegetables and fruits, berries and herbs, but in some cases it will also tell you about the possibility of building in a certain area. True, in this situation, it will also be necessary to find out the groundwater level, the slope angle of the site, and conduct some additional research.
Checking the quality of the soil in the country is an important study that will give you much more opportunities, because now you will definitely know what needs to be done to improve it.