Today, in this particular entry in Gardenprue, we dedicate it to the soil. It is not for less since it is the means of sustenance of all the plants, without counting on those that are based on the pure hydroponic method .
We are going to comment on how doing some very simple tasks is capable of exponentially improving the quality of the soil. A tough and tedious job, but one that reports magnificent results.
THE BENEFITS OF THE PLOW
With the plow of the suel or seek one thing: to improve soil conditions. This means that if for example we have a flooded soil, try not to accumulate water on the surface.
On the contrary, if we have a very dry soil, with high water filtration, we want it to retain water a little better and be assimilable by plants.
If we divided into segments those elements that significantly influence a soil and that, of course, affect plants, we could mention humidity, aeration, structure and also temperature.
Knowing what changes appear with the plowing of the soil with respect to these variables is important to know a little more about the land we cultivate.
SOIL MOISTURE CONSERVATION
The humidity of a soil is influenced by its turning. It is something as we have told it before. If you have problems with water retention ( slow drainage ), it will allow the water to drain better. And in the opposite case the same will happen.
A soil located in a desert climate will conserve the water in the subsoil much better after turning the earth.
IMPROVED AERATION AND OXYGENATION
Although we have already mentioned it in other articles, turning the ground allows you to increase the number of macropores in the ground.
These are responsible for storing gases, (such as oxygen), that the roots of the plants need so that problems do not appear.
A soft soil will allow the entry of air from the outside, which is also an entry of atmospheric nitrogen (which can be fixed by climatic effects, such as rain).
PRESERVATION OF SOIL STRUCTURE
A soil can have different textures, and that is what causes it to be classified as sandy, silty or clayey. It is a bit more complex than these three definitions, since there are mixtures between them, but basically it is that.
Depending on the plowing system that we use, we will get the land to change the size of its aggregates, being able to increase or reduce them.
This greatly influences both plant growth and seed germination .
If very large aggregates are left, greater than 5 mm, there would be an excessively large proportion of macropores, there is no water retention and the plant finds it difficult to absorb it.
A soil with very small aggregates , around 1 mm, produces an imbalance between macropores and micropores.
Indeed, due to the absence of the former, the water is not retained efficiently and we will also have problems with the development of the plants.
What does temperature have to do with the tillage or softness of a soil? Well, although it may not seem like it, a lot.
The temperature of a soil is influenced by the environment and the climate where we are, as it seems logical.
However, turning it over can reduce the temperature difference between night and day. This is very important, because it allows a greater comfort of the roots and, of course, that is paid for with a greater development of the plant in general.
For this same reason it is advisable to leave the plow for another day if frosts are expected .
Air is a poor conductor so worse consequences are obtained if the air content is higher. A substitution of that air for water, a much better conductor, produces benefits and passively prevents frost damage.
OKAY, WHAT ABOUT MICROORGANISMS?
Imagine that you were a microorganism (well, one day you were) in which you are given two options:
- It grows in an environment without much oxygen, with little space, with unpleasant temperatures and possibly waterlogged or excessively dry.
- It grows in an environment with a balance between humidity and gases, with ease of movement, porous, without stagnations, with a comfortable temperature and a granulated soil structure.
What option do you prefer? No need to answer.
What we mean is that although a priori we think that tillage produces mechanical damage to the soil, it uncovers beneficial worms and insects from the depths that later form part of the feeding of birds and other animals, the balance is corrected in a short time and the density increases exponentially in a short time.
Yes and no, you have to qualify.
If your soil has a good structure , with good oxygen content, with normal drainage and in general, well, there is no need to till.
Because the microorganisms will take care of improving the soil even more and it would get worse with the plow.
You would modify the peaceful environment they have created and reduce the quality of it.
On the other hand, if your soil has poor drainage, is continually subjected to flooding and the soil structure is bad, the initial conditions for the development of microorganisms are bad or very bad.
Therefore, you have to act. Once they improve, you will not need to work frequently (in fact, not recommended).
ORGANIC MATTER IN A PLOWED SOIL
You have to think that with the turning, even if organic matter is not applied, its content also improves. How is this possible, if nothing has been contributed to the earth?
Because poor soil tends to create a surface layer of fertilizer compounds, including organic matter, at a depth where most herbaceous plants cannot access.
That is, the soil has a good percentage of organic matter , yes, but it is not balanced. You have a gold mine on the ground but you do not have the shovel and the pick to access it (well, today he gave us for the similes).
When we plow the soil, if it is deep , we are removing deep layers with the superficial ones, so that all the mixture is distributed evenly.
Now all the mineral and organic content of the soil will be available to plants.
Without contributing anything, we have greatly improved the fertility of the soil.
Not only that, since it is not about removing and disposing it to the crops. As we have a soft soil with greater aeration, all the nutrients and minerals that the organic matter houses are oxidized in greater volume and facilitate their absorption by the plants.
I WORK YES, BUT WITHOUT ABUSING
The balance of life allows us to use all the resources we want, up to a point. Any element considered as positive is so until it is abused, so that when it reaches the peak of profit, damages begin to appear due to its abuse.
In fact, the current trend is conservation tillage . That is, plow only when necessary, not always annually, since in the long run, all the physical benefits that we obtained with the soil are lost.
The best thing is that we dedicate a future post to it, since it is also a long and widespread topic. You already know that you have our social networks and the subscription so you don’t miss anything we post.