Success in growing horticultural crops depends on many factors: climatic and weather conditions, planting dates, plant varieties and how conscientiously you comply with agricultural conditions. One of the dominant roles in agriculture is played by the soil in which you grow plants.
We will talk about what types of soils are, how to improve them or change their composition, in this article.
The main types of soil
There are seven main types of soil:
- sandy loam
- black earth.
In terms of agriculture, any of these soils has both advantages and disadvantages. In its pure form, these types are not common.
Sandy soil is characterized by friability, lightness, flowability, it easily passes air, water, heat and fertilizing to the roots of plants, however, these advantages are also disadvantages: sandy soils dry quickly, cool down, and nutrients are easily washed out of them.
To increase the fertility of the sandy soil, it is necessary to regularly introduce sealing and binding substances into it:
and in three or four years, the quality of the sandy soil can be significantly improved.
In the meantime, the process of cultivation is taking place, in the sand you can grow carrots and currants, plant strawberries , sow onions , pumpkin crops and fruit trees, and if you often add small doses of fast fertilizers to the soil, you can also grow potatoes , plant beets , various cabbage and peas .
Some gardeners do not want to tinker with the improvement of the structure for years and do it easier: they resort to claying, that is, they lay a clay layer 5-6 cm thick under the beds, and the beds themselves are 35-40 cm high from brought loam or sandy loam soil.
In the photo: Beds in boxes
Sandy loam soil
The mechanical composition of this soil is also considered light, but it contains a certain amount of clay, therefore it better holds air, water and nutrients, it warms up well and does not cool down so quickly. Sandy loamy soil is easy to cultivate, and you can grow almost any crop on it, but it is advisable to maintain the fertility of this soil by adding organic matter, growing and planting green manure, and regular mulching.
This heavy soil is difficult to process, dries and heats for a very long time. As a rule, clay soil has an acid reaction, poorly passes food, heat, moisture and air to the roots of plants, there are no conditions for the development of beneficial microorganisms, and plant residues in clay decompose for a very long time.
Due to the fact that clay soil dries for a long time after snow melts and slowly warms up, planting of crops has to be delayed. In order to improve the composition of the soil, coarse-grained sand, peat and humus must be brought into it for digging, and in order to neutralize the acid reaction, the clay soil must be calcified once every three years. If you regularly increase the fertility of clay soil, you can successfully grow potatoes , flowers, fast-growing shrubs and fruit trees on it.
For the cultivation of garden crops, loam is one of the best soils: it is nutritious, heat-, water- and breathable, it is easy to process. The main thing is that there is no need to improve it, you only need to maintain the fertility of the soil by mulching and introducing manure for digging at the rate of 3-4 kg / m². And crops grown in loam should be regularly fed with mineral complexes.
Limestone soils can be heavy or light, but they are all poor. They include many stony fragments, their pH is shifted to the alkaline side, they quickly heat up and dry out, block the uptake by manganese and iron cultures, which leaves the leaves yellow and growth retardation occurs.
Soil structure can be improved by regularly adding organic matter for digging and using it in the form of mulch, growing and incorporating green manure into the top layer, and applying potash fertilizers. After cultivation in calcareous soils, any crops can be grown under the condition of timely watering, regular cultivation of row-spacing and the reasonable application of organic and mineral fertilizers.
Worst of all grow in calcareous soil:
therefore, they should not be fed with fertilizers that alkalize the soil, for example, urea or ammonium sulfate.
Peat or marshy soils can also not be called suitable for agriculture, since the nutrient elements in them are in a form inaccessible to assimilation by plants. These soils quickly absorb and return water just as quickly, warm up slowly and are usually acidified. The positive qualities of peat soil can be considered that it is fed to cultivation and retains mineral fertilizers.
It is possible to grow on peat soils without cultivation:
To increase the fertility of peat soil, it is deeply dug with clay flour or sand, heavily acidified areas are calcified, and subsequently regularly fertilized with organic matter - slurry, compost , humus, microbiological additives and potassium-phosphorus fertilizers.
When planting trees, planting pits should be filled with a specially prepared soil mixture suitable for culture, and when breaking vegetable beds on peat bogs, they do the same as with sandy soil: they lay a clay layer as a base, and on top make beds from a mixture of peat with loam, organic fertilizers and lime.
Chernozems are high fertility soils with a stable structure, high humus content and a sufficient amount of calcium and other nutrients. They absorb and retain air, water and heat well, therefore they are the best of all types of soil for growing vegetable, flower and fruit crops. But, like any soil, chernozem depletes over time, and after 2-3 years of continuous use, it requires fertilizer application or restoration of the structure due to the cultivation of green manure.
I must say that chernozem is not a light soil, and for some crops it has to be dug with peat or sand. In addition, its reaction can be either neutral, or shifted to the alkaline or acidic side, so chernozem may require both deoxidation and alkalization.