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how to properly prepare your soil

How to properly prepare your soil

Regularity and Homogeneity.

60% of the yield of a crop is achieved at emergence. This is why preparing your soil well means contributing to the success of the crop that will be sown and ensuring the success of your plot. 

Soil preparation consists of the succession of several stages of careful work, to create a structure favorable to a rapid emergence and a good rooting of crops.

For this, two main operations are recommended.

 

Maintain soil fertility

Soil fertility is its ability to ensure crop growth. This fertility can be studied and controlled by the farmer through different stages.

knowing your soil

Knowing your soil

It is recommended to carry out every 3 to 5 years a soil analysis before the sowing season to better understand the composition of the plot. Depending on the results, the soil will need certain amendments, i.e. mineral or organic fertilizers that will improve the physical, chemical and biological state of the soil. The amendments used will depend on several criteria: pH, organic matter content, mineral element content... and will enable a fertilization strategy to be put in place.

 

Bringing organic matter into the soil

The contribution of organic matter compensates for the depletion of the plot due to previous crops and prepares it for future crops. The contribution of material has several objectives: the fertilization of the plots with a view to their cultivation and the contribution to the structural stability of the soil (resistance to deformations and degradation by erosion or compaction, porosity of the soil, stability of aggregates etc.).

Some products such as slurry or chicken droppings will have a mainly fertilizing action, while composts mainly provide organic matter that will help structure the soil. Depending on the types of fertilizers provided, the release of minerals into the soil is more or less rapid. The contribution of organic matter is therefore to be reasoned according to the products used and the needs of the soil.

 

Restoring the pH of acidic soils through liming

Liming is the contribution of a basic mineral amendment to the soil (lime, dolomite ...) to control its pH. It is important to maintain soil fertility, reducing their acidity. Indeed, the pH of the soil acts on the availability of mineral elements for plants. It is recommended to have a pH content between 6 and 7.5 to avoid any deficiency.

Liming is not compulsory work: it depends on the acidity of the soil, which is determined through soil analysis. If the it is very acidic, then the pH recovery will be carried out over several years, but in case of maintenance liming, an intake every 3 years is sufficient.

Depending on the composition of the products available and the pH value to be corrected, the intakes may vary. It is best to control the amount of lime to bring with the supplier.

 

Preparing the seedbed 

Once the soil has been studied and adjusted in its composition, it is time to make a seedbed suitable for future crops, by means of mechanical actions.

seedbed

Ploughing 

Ploughing is a cultivation technique that involves opening the soil to a certain depth and turning it over so that it can be sown again. Ploughing meets several objectives: 

  • It allows the aeration of the soil, which will promote soil-plant-atmosphere exchanges; 
  • It makes it possible to mix the residues of the previous crop, manure or other inputs (lime, fertilizers ...) with the earth, to accelerate their mineralization; 
  • It has a mechanical weeding effect, by burying residues and surface weeds (reduction of regrowth). It also breaks the reproductive cycle of certain diseases or pests. 

Depending on the surface to be worked and the equipment available, the ploughing work can be carried out with a spade, plow, hitch or tractor, within the first 20 centimeters of the ground.

 

labour

Have a fine and homogeneous soil to sow

It is important to break the clods as a result of ploughing, to have a flat, regular seedbed and erase the irregularities of the soil. A regular fine soil, and pressed will promote contact between the earth and the seed, while maintaining the diffusion of water and oxygen. Crumbling the clods will also reduce the presence of obstacles to the emergence of plants.

As for ploughing, this work can be done with a spade or with specific mechanical tools (cultivator, harrow, rotary hoe etc.).  

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