Ways to increase soil fertility
To always get a good harvest and lush flowering of ornamental plants, you need to regularly conduct activities to improve the soil. Over time, the fertile layer becomes thinner, and we can observe a decrease in the amount of nutrients. You can solve the problem by applying three methods, which we will discuss in this article.
1. Siderates for soil improvement
A natural way to restore fertility and health to the soil is to grow green manure. Siderates are plants that form a microbiome in the soil and help maintain balance in the fertile layer that is constantly emptied by fruit and vegetable crops.
Regular cultivation of green manure and legumes reduces the need for mineral fertilizers, serves as an alternative to manure and compost and protects the soil from diseases and pests, and also improves its structure.
The soil receives nutrients by decomposing the green mass of plants and replenishes with organic matter and nitrogen. All "green fertilizers" grow on any soil. Using green manure as a fertilizer is a natural and inexpensive way to increase the amount of nutrients in the soil.
Which siderat is better and how to choose it?
To get the maximum effect from growing green fertilizers, you need to follow three important rules:
- Follow crop rotation rules. Siderat and the main culture should not belong to the same family.
- You can not sow the same siderat two times in a row on the same site.
- On clay soils, it is better to grow green manure from cereals, since they loosen the top layer better than other plants.
Important! When growing any green fertilizers, mow them at the budding stage or at the beginning of flowering, do not allow the formation of seeds. Do not wait for the plant to go green. Since only green stems and leaves can quickly turn into a nutrient mass and give up their nutrients.
Give preference to annual plants so you don't have to breed them next season. If you reach the formation of seeds, you will not be able to obtain high-quality fertilizer.
When to sow siderates?
You can sow siderate crops at any time of the vegetative period. Green fertilizers can be grown two or three times during the season from early spring to autumn:
- before sowing the main crop;
- after harvesting;
- instead of the main culture.
Various crops are used as green fertilizers. Learn more about the benefits of the main green manure and mixtures. Absolutely all siderates are considered honey plants and attract insects, then we will dwell on their features in more detail.
Vika grows very quickly and has a developed root system that absorbs nutrients from the lower layers of the soil. Saturates the soil with nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Most often used in a mixture with oats.
Oats like siderat
Advantages - structures the soil and contains an increased amount of protein. Due to the fact that the wireworm is a pest for oats, many plant growers do not recommend sowing it in front of potatoes. Oats prefer shaded areas and do not give enough green mass for these reasons it is often sown with vetch.
This siderate will help fill the nutrient layer with nitrogen and phosphorus. It loosens heavy soils well, fights wireworms and slugs, which makes it a suitable precursor to potatoes. Mustard reduces the growth of mold and bacteria, significantly reduces the number of pathogens of late blight, scab and putrefactive microorganisms. Planting after tomatoes, potatoes and other vegetables is recommended.
Clover white and red
The culture is rich in protein and saturates the soil with nitrogen and phosphorus. Clover can be used as a decorative and pasture crop. Please note that clover is a perennial plant and reaches its full development in the second year. Like siderat, clover is sown 2 years before the main crop. Red gives 3-4 times more green mass than white clover. Also, this green manure is convenient to grow in places between fruit trees.
Important! White clover is best sown in spring, and red tolerates low temperatures well and can be planted in the winter.
Rapeseed has a powerful root system, which stretches in depth up to two meters, taking useful minerals and trace elements from the depths. Moreover, the roots provide high-quality aeration of the soil. The resulting greens are buried in the ground or compost is made. And 2-3 weeks after harvesting, you can plant the main crop.
A fast-growing annual crop that grows on any soil. Phacelia gives a large amount of green mass. Culture is valued for its ability to deoxidize the soil and fight weeds, especially wheat grass. Phacelia promotes the healing of the earth and resists the development of pathogenic microflora of fungal and viral etiology (late blight, root rot).
The wireworm does not tolerate phacelia; therefore, it is an excellent precursor for potatoes. Predatory insects that fly on the nectar of phacelia eat the codling moth, leafworms and other garden pests. Plant phacelia next to cucumbers, cabbage, sweet pepper - the plant will give a slight shadow, attract insects for pollination and protect it from wireworms.
Refers to cruciferous, the most unpretentious green fertilizer, shade-tolerant and resistant to drought and low temperatures. Promotes aeration of the topsoil and inhibits weed growth. Can be mixed with rapeseed and white mustard.
Benefits of Using Siderates
The benefits of siderata are obvious:
- enrich the soil with organic matter, easily digestible mineral compounds and microelements;
- perfectly loosen and structure the earth;
- protect the soil from freezing and retain moisture;
- suppress weeds;
- prevent the appearance of viral and fungal diseases;
- effective for controlling insects and soil nematodes;
- suitable as feed crops. Promote rapid weight gain of domestic animals, have preventive properties against diseases;
- are good honey plants;
- during flowering, beneficial insects are attracted.
Seeds of green manure in the Agro success line
Pure siderat seeds with good germination.
In order to restore fertility to the soil in the same natural way as in the natural environment, it is recommended to use vermicompost. This biological fertilizer will restore the balance of nutrients in the soil, which could be disturbed due to the use of mineral fertilizers and manure.
Vermicompost is a product of processing manure by earthworms and special bacteria. It is impossible to compare vermicompost with manure or with ordinary compost, since the former is an absolutely pure product and does not contain pathogens, helminth eggs and plant seeds.
This perfect organic fertilizer improves the physical properties and fertility of the soil due to microorganisms, enzymes, amino acids and natural antibiotics.
The effect of vermicompost:
- It will fully restore the balance of nutrients and form biodiversity in the soil.
- Properly feed the plants and increase productivity up to 30-40%.
- It accelerates the ripening of fruits, vegetables and berries for 2-3 weeks.
- Helps survival during transplantation.
How to apply vermicompost to improve soil?
It can be used for soil mixtures and for root and foliar top dressing of garden crops, garden and indoor plants.
Use vermicompost Biohumus TUT with a content of 25 or 35% humus. Plant growers usually choose the form of biological fertilizers that is more convenient for them to work with.
- humus - not less than 25% and 35%;
- nitrogen - from 2.5%;
- phosphorus - from 1.8%;
- potassium - from 2%;
- Calcium - from 6%;
- Trace elements.
PH reaction: 6.8-7.2 (slightly alkaline) for 35% humus and neutral.
Biological fertilizer application rate
- vegetables: 200 ml per plant;
- potatoes: 100-150ml per tuber;
- strawberries: 250-200 ml per plant;
- green crops: salads, radishes, sorrel, parsley, 1-1.5 liters per square. meter.
- indoor flowers and seedlings: 3 tablespoons per plant;
- coniferous and deciduous shrubs and trees 1-1.5 liters per tree;
- lawn grass: when planting - 1.5 liters per square. m; application to finished lawns, where the earth cannot be loosened - mix with sand 1: 1 and scatter 1l per 1 sq.m on the lawn.
Be sure to mix with soil or sand and pour plenty of water after application. The application rate should be selected depending on the phase of development and the size of the plant.
3. Soil acidity level
The reaction of the soil environment, or the level of acidity, also affects the growth and yield of plants. Soils are acidic, neutral and alkaline. The acidity level is determined using special indicators that measure the reaction of the soil environment.
Acidity should be adjusted if the pH is below 5 (acidic soil) or above 7.5 (alkaline soil). With such indicators, plants develop poorly, their immunity is weakened, the root system does not absorb nutrients, diseases and pests attack plants with a vengeance.
How to neutralize acidic soil?
Use chalk, lime, dolomite flour or wood ash. A soil neutralizer is applied in spring or autumn when it is dug up, removing all vegetation from the surface.
The soil improvement methods we described in this article are natural and environmentally friendly. We must not forget about regular cultivation, crop rotation, weed removal, which are also important for maintaining soil fertility.