How to maintain soil fertility

15th Jan, 2020

Organic manure is recommended but care must be taken against the spread of plant diseases through its application.

Healthy soil is that which has sufficient nutrients, proper pH, fertile, well-drained and toxins free. It will lead to the growth of strong and healthy plants. Healthy plants are resistant to pests and hence high yielding.

Here are some farming methods and activities that can help you achieve healthy soils.

Mulching

Mulching is the process of covering bare soil with organic materials. This will help your soil retain its moisture which is a necessity for seed germination.

 Soil erosion will also be reduced since the soil surface is covered. It will encourage the living organisms to survive in the soil and hence improve soil aeration and add nutrients. This will increase your soil fertility and health.

Cover crops

Cover crops help feed with the decomposing leaves from the crops hence improving its fertility. The decaying cover crops provide nutrients to your soil that are required by the plants while the roots allow oxygen and air to penetrate the soil. Recommended cover crops are legumes that provide nitrogen to the soil and grass that improve the soil structure.

Adding organic matter

Manures are the most valuable organic matter since they have already decomposed and the nutrients are available to soil organisms and plants. You should be very careful to avoid the spread of disease-causing agents from homestead and small farm manures.

Minimum tillage

This the process of planting crops from year to year with minimum soil disturbance. This will increase the amount of water in the soil since continuous tillage exposes moist soil that will undergo evaporation thus reducing water amounts in the soil.

Minimum tillage also ensures that the organic matter the soil is allowed to decay and increase nutrients. This improves soil fertility. Continuous sowing of the land weakens the soil structure that makes the soil prone to soil erosion.

Use fertilisers wisely

Use fertilisers that are required to meet the soil need. You will get this information after carrying out a soil test. Excessive use can not only be harmful to your soil but also human beings. It destroys soil organisms that help in soil aeration and adds nutrients to the soil.

Soil testing

Soil testing will help you know what nutrients are required by your soil. Having in mind your soil type can play a vital role in maintaining healthy soil. It will help you know what kind of crops to grow and kind of chemicals to use during pest and disease control.

To achieve increased production you need to invest in improving your soil health since all life depends on the soil. Better soil provides the best conditions for living organisms in the soil to provide nutrients required by plants. 

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