Types of soil amelioration of a garden plot: how can soil fertility be improved?

When the happy owners of their own summer cottage for the first time come to their 5-10 acres, then in most cases an unsightly picture awaits them. The land overgrown with weeds and wild shoots, with fir trees and self-propagating needles at first glance hints that the work here is unmeasured. It is useless to rely on a high yield without land reclamation, which is why summer residents first of all take up an analysis of the soil composition of the land, acidity, humidity, etc. And depending on the problems identified, they carry out the necessary types of land reclamation.

From Latin melioratio is translated as "improvement." This word in the ancient world designated a system of measures whose purpose is to improve the quality and fertility of the land in order to increase productivity. Good land has been valued for all ages, so agronomists have come up with various ways to turn empty unsuitable soils into an oasis of fertility. They brought water to arid places, eliminated waterlogging and excess salts, adjusted the composition of the soil, introducing different types of fertilizers. As a result, four areas of land reclamation were developed, which are now used on garden plots, in farms, etc.

Cultivation - the beginning of reclamation work

A cultural-technical type of land reclamation is carried out by each summer resident at the initial stage of development of the site. In order to get decent land from the abandoned wasteland for breaking up beds and flower beds, you must at least cut down old trees, uproot stumps, cut hummocks and fill up holes, and also clean the area from stones. By the way, you can read about the most effective ways of rooting out stumps in a separate article, "Rooting of tree stumps." When the ground is cleared for the first plowing, the type of soil is analyzed. On clay heavy soils, sanding is carried out, introducing from 10 to 20 cm of sand and smelling it in the upper layers of the soil. This improves the air and water regime of the earth, increases the degree of warming up of the soil, eliminates the formation of crusts in the dry season.

The opposite is claying. It is carried out on light and poor sandy lands. Loam is scattered with a layer of up to 10 cm under plowing. Clay helps retain moisture and enriches the soil with trace elements that are not enough in the sand.

Depending on the type of soil prevailing in the summer cottage, sand, clay, chernozem, peat crumb and other components are added to help improve the air and water permeability of the soil

If the site has got on peat bogs, then it is recommended to introduce clay and sand at the same time. Peat bogs tend to freeze to great depths, and the introduction of a clay-sand mixture makes the soil lighter, accelerates the process of thawing soil in the spring and allows sowing beds 10-12 days earlier than usual.

Reclamation work: regulate the level of humidity

Each plant has its own water needs, but most still do not tolerate excess or lack of moisture. Therefore, soil reclamation includes such a direction as hydraulic engineering. Its task is to establish a normal level of moisture in the soil with the help of a set of measures, affecting crop yields. Depending on the location of the site (lowland or hill, proximity to a natural reservoir or hilly terrain ...), determine what irrigation and drainage work is required in specific places of the site.

Drainage: eliminates excess moisture

If a summer resident is “lucky" to get land in a lowland, where after every rain the soil does not dry for weeks, then you will have to create a drainage system. Otherwise, the plants will wither away, and the foundation of the buildings will begin to undermine during the melting of snow or floods. Depending on the degree of overmoistening, an open, point or closed drainage system covering the entire area is created. You can read more about the technology of laying drainage in the article "System of drainage of water on the site."

If the site is located in a lowland, then its main problem will be increased soil moisture, which can be eliminated by closed drainage

Irrigation of the soil: helps combat drought

If the soil is light and weakly holds moisture, as well as in areas with a hot climate, the irrigation system of the site must be thought out. In summer, during the growth of garden crops, moisture is vital. Without it, plants can discard color, reduce the degree of formation of ovaries, and the fruits will be wrinkled and small. Therefore, summer residents choose one of the types of irrigation, the most profitable in specific conditions.

So, the surface method of irrigation is used more often in large agricultural lands. Water is let on the soil surface through special ditches, furrows, strips, and sometimes complete flooding of the sites is used.

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Sprinkling is a more common way of watering on private farmsteads. Water enters the soil in the form of small raindrops through sprinklers installed in the right places. The advantage of such irrigation is that the water consumption is significantly lower than with surface irrigation. In this case, it is not necessary to dig special furrows, which means that the soil is used to the maximum. Moisture saturates not only the roots of plants, but also forms an elevated column, cleansing the leaves of plants from dust and accelerating photosynthesis.

When irrigating a plot by sprinkling, not only the plant roots, but also the entire aboveground part are saturated with moisture, which accelerates the processes of photosynthesis

Subsoil irrigation is the most laborious way to increase soil moisture. It requires laying perforated pipes throughout the section and connecting them to the pumps. The water pumped by pressure will run through the pipes and gradually leave through the holes in the soil, thereby increasing its moisture content. A variety of subsoil irrigation is drip irrigation. True, today the laying of pipes by this method can be carried out both in the soil and above it. With the drip method of irrigation, a minimal amount of water is consumed, weeds are not “fed” with moisture, and each plant receives exactly as much “drink” as it needs, and not in plentiful doses, but gradually.

In addition to drainage and irrigation, irrigation and drainage measures may include the fight against landslides, mudflows, soil erosion, etc.

Chemical reclamation: regulates PH balance

Perhaps the most popular type of soil reclamation can be called chemical, because each summer resident annually makes certain fertilizers to improve the composition of the soil and fights against high acidity. Sour land is a very common problem, because rainfall, excess mineral fertilizers, and improper crop rotation destroy the PH balance, reducing the yield and quality of the land itself. We have already written about how to deal with soil acidity and improve its fertility (articles “Liming soil in the garden” and “What determines soil fertility”), so we will focus on other types of chemical reclamation works.

The introduction of lime, dolomite flour or wood ash into the soil helps to normalize the acidity of the soil and improve the development of most garden crops

Excess salts, like excess acid, are unfavorable for plants. And if the summer resident got a site with the so-called salt marshes - places on the site where a large amount of natural salts are concentrated in the soil, then these sites are first neutralized.

According to the degree of salinization, soils are different - from slightly salted to salt marshes, but the fight against a similar phenomenon on all lands is the same. The soil is washed to remove salts from the upper fertile layer. About 150 liters of water are consumed per square meter. It is clear that no culture can withstand such flooding, therefore, washing is carried out on clean soil. Flushing in areas with a closed drainage system is very effective. Excess salts with water will go into pipes, and from there - outside the site. So with subsequent plowing, the earth from the depths will also not be salted.

Additional warming up of the soil: insurance against frosts

In a cold climate, thermal reclamation works help to quickly heat the soil in the spring. Their goal is to increase the temperature of the surface and deep layers so that during late frosts the roots are protected from the penetration of frost through the soil. For this, different types of mulching are used, laying compost layers and holes in the soil, compaction of light soils, etc.

Mulching near tree trunks of trees helps to reduce the likelihood of freezing of the roots in severe winters and retains healing moisture in the soil

You can learn more details about various materials for mulching from the video:

Reclamation: Saves Human Spoiled Lands

Land reclamation also belongs to a separate type of land reclamation, i.e. their recovery. Often during the construction of cities, mining, etc., part of the adjacent land is slagged by processing waste, construction waste, waste dumps, etc. Subsequently, when the main work is completed, a lifeless desert remains in this place, which is often distributed under summer cottages. And the new owners have to restore the fertility and natural landscape of the area, if the city services did not take care of this themselves.

Restoring the normal balance of the soil and its topography on damaged lands is not an easy process. It requires the use of large-sized equipment for garbage removal, leveling the soil

Restoration work is best done after a complete analysis of the state of the land and the conclusion that land reclamation specialists and environmentalists should give.

As you can see, reclamation work is an important link in maintaining land fertility. And if you buy a summer house not only for relaxation, but also for growing your own “vitamins”, then the first thing you need is to prepare the soil, and only then plant the crops.


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