Earth itself will tell
The gardener, treating the soil on his site, changes its density, water, thermal and air regimes, biological activity, the availability of nutrients and ultimately affects the crop. The preparation of the site for vegetable crops depends on the type of soil, the topography of the site, but primarily on the mechanical composition of the soil, that is, the content of sand and clay.
The soils of the Non-Black Earth Zone of Russia (NPZ) are characterized by different contents of these components. Clay, in comparison with sand, more dense, cold and wet. With excessive moisture, they become viscous, sticky, covered with bluish-ocher spots. In such soil there is little oxygen, sometimes it even smells like hydrogen sulfide, like a swamp, and in the soil solution there are many ions of iron, manganese, aluminum, from which the plants die.
What then to do? First of all - loosen the upper layers, prevent the formation of soil crust, remove excess moisture through the drainage grooves. On such soils, it is necessary to form high ridges: they dry out faster, are better ventilated and warmed up. Note that the more clay in the soil, the shorter the period for processing it. If you dig damp soil - there are blocks. If it is dry, then digging it is more difficult, and the structure is destroyed: the soil turns into dust.
At the same time, clay soils have an advantage - high buffering, that is, the acidity and composition of the soil solution when applying fertilizers or calcareous materials does not change sharply, but gradually. Therefore, they can be brought closer to the roots of plants and embedded at a shallower depth, which is important when growing pumpkin crops and peppers.
Sand the soil is warmer and ripen one to two weeks earlier. As a result, the growing season increases, which means that long-growing heat-loving crops work better. The disadvantage of these soils is that water does not reach the surface from the lower horizons, and in dry years, vegetable plants suffer from a moisture deficit. And when watering, water quickly goes deeper, taking away nutrients from the root zone. No wonder they say: how water leaves in the sand. Due to the low buffering of sandy soils, fertilizers are closed away from the roots, gradually and more often.
In the northern regions, where there is little heat, but a lot of precipitation, thin, acidic, nutrient-poor predominate peat glue and podzolic the soil. The latter got its name because of the whitish, ashes, horizon (podzol) lying under the fertile. The thicker it is, the less fertile the soil. Below the podzol lies an illuvial, often reddish-brown horizon.
In the central part of the NPZ, sod-podzolic soils are widespread. They differ from podzolic more thick upper fertile layer. When processing these two types of soils, it is better to go deep into the podzolic horizon gradually, by no more than 2 cm per year, and before digging, it is imperative to sprinkle organic matter.
In the south of NCHZ, fertile gray forest and leached chernozems with a thick dark gray or black humus layer prevail. It’s not a big deal if, when digging these soils, you slightly grab the underlying layer.
The terrain plays an important role. So, in the depressions, the earth is clayey and moist, and on slopes of more than 3 °, washed-out light gray slightly acidic or reddish-brown strongly acidic soils prevail.
Given all of the above, before you begin preparing the soil, you need to determine what it is and what effect you expect from the treatment. For example, digging with a turnover of the reservoir creates a deeper homogeneous fertile layer, which is important when planting organic fertilizers. Deep (more than 20 cm) loosening of the soil reduces its density and moisture, increases water permeability, saturates with oxygen, it is better to warm up, and also accumulate moisture after snow melts. Loosening the upper horizon reduces water loss due to evaporation; loosening without formation rotation forms a richer fertile upper layer. Unfortunately, in this case weeds, pests and pathogens accumulate in the arable horizon.
Soil properties largely determine the processing time. It is good to dig up virgin soil or fall in autumn. I advise you to thoroughly loosen and chop the sod with a heavy hoe. On a full bayonet, shovels dig clay soils, previously introducing organic matter. In this case, inverted lumps and lumps do not crush. Such arable land accumulates moisture better, and frozen pests die. Light soils are preferable to dig and fertilize in the spring.
The main soil preparation is carried out during the period of its ripeness, which is defined as follows: take a lump from a depth of 10 cm, squeeze it in your hand and let it fall from a height of 1.5 m. If it is flattened, the ground is still too damp; crumbled into approximately equal parts - the soil ripened; and if it is not pressed in the hand, it is already dry. After the main treatment, it is prepared for sowing: if the soil has been dug up since the autumn, then in the spring, when it stops sticking to tools, it is well loosened with a rake or cultivator to a depth of 5-7 cm.I do not recommend taking breaks between digging and cutting arable land.
Summer residents often argue whether ridges are needed. Of course, they are needed in the northern regions, on clay soils, in low places, when groundwater occurs at a depth of less than 90 cm and when the fertile layer is small (less than 15 cm) and the podzolic and illuvial, especially on washed away soils, are quite powerful. But keep in mind that in hot, dry summers, if there is no watering on the plot, plants may lack moisture in high ridges.
To form ridges, organic fertilizers are applied to the designated places in the fall, and then the ground is poured from the aisles. According to classical agricultural technology, the width of the ridges is made within 1-1.5 m, and the distance between them is 30-40 cm. The height of the ridges depends on the size of the fertile layer and is 20-50 cm. The surface of the ridges must be well leveled. For uniform illumination of garden crops, it is better to arrange them from east to west. If the terrain is rough, then across the slope. After all, the main task of processing slope soils is protection against erosion, otherwise over time you can lose the entire fertile layer.
Even magnificent chernozems cannot be favorable for all cultures at once. For example, potatoes, vegetable legumes, sorrel and other greens work best in sod-podzolic areas. Each plant requires its own soil and its own cultivation of the earth.
Various garden crops work best on the following soils:
|Eggplant||chernozem and floodplain soils|
|Peas||fertilized, calcium-rich medium loamy soils|
|Squash||fertile medium loam|
|Early-seasoned cabbage||floodplain and loamy lands|
|Lack cabbage late||sod-podzolic soils and chernozem|
|Bulb onions||light fertile sandy loam and loam and chernozem|
|Carrot||weakly acidic loose peaty, floodplain soils|
|Cucumber||light high humus sandy loam and loam|
|Peppers - early grades||fertile sandy loam|
|Peppers - late grades||organic enriched loam|
|Rhubarb, radish, turnip, radish||slightly acidic humus loams|
|Beet||loose, neutral loams, chernozems, floodplain soils and calcareous peatlands|
|Tomato, Pumpkin||slightly acid fertile medium loam|
|Garlic||chernozems and well-drained fertile sod-podzolic soils|
|Potatoes||loamy and light loamy soils well seasoned with organic matter|
- V. Savich, professor of the Moscow Art Academy