Soils and their suitability for horticultural crops
To know what type the soil of a garden plot belongs to, it is necessary to master it faster and with minimal costs and make it suitable for growing garden crops. The suitability of a garden site largely depends on the type of soil, topography, groundwater level, soil fertility, etc.
What is meant by soil fertility?
Soil fertility - the content of nutrients in the soil, its physical and agronomic properties. It largely depends on human activities. Fertile soil can satisfy the need for food and water throughout the life of the plant. For more information on batteries, see the "Fertilizers" section.
How to find out what type the soil of a garden plot belongs to and how fertile it is?
Most of the land allocated for collective gardens does not have high fertility. The soil fertility level can be determined using a detailed site survey and agrochemical soil analysis. This makes it possible to accurately determine the type of soil, mechanical composition, agrochemical characteristics and outline a set of measures for its improvement or cultivation. Soil analysis is done by regional agricultural chemicalization stations at the request of horticultural groups.
What biological features of garden plants should be considered when developing a garden plot?
When determining the degree of suitability of a plot for a garden, it is necessary to take into account the ratio of plants to soil, its temperature and humidity, the depth and width of the roots. The bulk of the roots of apple and pear develops in the soil layer from 100-200 to 600 mm, cherries and plums - from 100 to 400 mm, in berry bushes - even smaller. To the sides, the roots are placed behind the crown projection.
In relation to soil moisture, horticultural crops are arranged sequentially from the most drought tolerant (cherries, gooseberries) to the moisture-loving ones (plum, raspberries, strawberries). An intermediate position is occupied by apple trees, pears, black currants, sea buckthorn. By the level of groundwater occurrence the most demanding are apple and pear trees (2-3 m from the soil surface); less demanding berry bushes (up to 1 m). Closer arrangement of groundwater affects the water-air regime of the soil and can lead to the death of fruit plants.
What is soil and soil horizons and what is their significance?
Soil - the top layer of the earth in which the bulk of the roots of fruit and berry plants lies. It consists of soil horizons, the physical properties and chemical composition of which vary in fertility and affect the nature of the development and distribution of plant roots.
Different types of soil
What soils are common in central Russia?
The main soil types of this strip include sod-podzolic, boggy and marsh (sod-podzolic zone), forest-steppe gray (forest-steppe zone), chernozems.
How are soils divided by mechanical composition?
According to the mechanical composition of the soil and subsoil are divided into sandy on sand, sandy on loam, sandy loam on sand, sandy loam on loam, loamy, clay, peat. They differ in their water-physical properties (specific gravity, bulk density, soil resistivity, wilting moisture, lowest moisture capacity, productive moisture supply at the lowest moisture capacity, filtration coefficient, capillary rise height).
What are the main disadvantages of different soil types?
The disadvantage of sandy and sandy soils is the low reserves of productive moisture, if these soils are formed on deep (over 1500 mm) sands. Heavy loamy and clay soils have low water permeability, which leads to a washout of the upper layer on the slopes, and in low places - to waterlogging and weak heating.
What is the suitability of soils for gardens?
The suitability of sod-podzolic, boggy, and bog soils for gardens varies. If soddy, soddy-weakly podzolic, soddy-medium-podzolic, soddy peaty-gleyous, peaty-gley lowland bogs and peaty-gley transitional swamps of the soil are suitable for garden plants, then strongly podzolic, podzolic, soddy-gritty-boggy soils belong to the worst soils, and without special measures for cultivation and land reclamation (drainage), they are unsuitable for gardens.
What is peaty soil?
For collective gardens, the territories of drained marshes and peat mines are increasingly allotted. Soil cover in wetlands - peat. Peat soils have some unfavorable properties, so it is impossible to grow cultivated plants on them without a radical transformation.
What are the characteristics of peat soils of high bogs?
Taking into account the origin of the bogs and the thickness of the peat layer, peat soils of upland and lowland bogs are distinguished. Riding bogs are located on flat surfaces with limited runoff of rain and melt water, as a result of which they receive excess moisture.
In the peat layer there are no conditions for the intake of calcium, potassium, phosphorus, more complete decomposition of plant residues. This leads to the formation of some compounds harmful to plants and to a strong acidification of the peat mass. Nutrients in peat go into forms inaccessible to plants. Soil organisms that contribute to increasing and maintaining fertility are absent. The vegetation is very poor.
What characterizes the peat soils of lowland marshes?
Lowland swamps are located in wide hollows with a weak slope. Water accumulates in them due to groundwater saturated with salts of calcium, magnesium, and iron. The acidity of the peat layer is weak or close to neutral. The vegetation is good. By the thickness of the peat layer, three types of peat soils are distinguished: I - with low-peat peat (less than 200 mm), II - with medium-power peat (200-400), III - with thick peat (more than 400 mm).
How to use peat soils?
Peat soils of upland and lowland bogs in their natural state are unsuitable for growing cultivated plants. However, they have hidden fertility due to the presence of organic matter in the form of peat. The negative properties of peat are eliminated by drainage, liming, sanding, fertilizing. It is possible to drain, that is, lower the groundwater level and remove excess water from the root layer of the soil in a timely manner by constructing an open drainage network. Reclamation improves the water, gas and thermal conditions of the soil and creates the conditions for the efficient use of fertilizers.
Garden plots should be located in accordance with the design of the drainage network. In addition, it is necessary to construct main ditches along the central road, as well as ditches with a depth of 200-250 mm and a width of 300-400 mm along the border of the garden plot with a common drain into the main drainage network. Flooding in the spring of the territory of even several sites is unacceptable. By the third decade of May, the ditches should be free of water.
If it is not possible to lower the groundwater level, then fruit crops can be grown on dwarf rootstocks, whose roots are located in the upper layers of the soil. In addition, fruit trees must be planted on earthen mounds 300-500 mm high. The diameter of the mound should be increased annually as the tree grows. At the same time, it is better to refuse planting pits, limiting ourselves to a deep (up to 300-400 mm) digging of the upper soil layer.
A significant decrease in the groundwater level on peat soils, laden with thick sands, in dry years can lead to a lack of moisture in the root-inhabited layer, especially in areas of types I and II, where the thickness of peat is low. In this case, you need to provide a source of irrigation.
How to reduce the acidity of peat soils?
In peat soils of high bogs, the decomposition of peat is restrained by high acidity (pH 2.8-3.5). At the same time, fruit and berry plants cannot successfully develop and produce crops. The optimal response of the medium for such plants is 5.0-6.0. Peat soils of lowland bogs in terms of acidity usually correspond to the optimal value.
The only way to eliminate the excess acidity of any soil is liming. It sharply shifts the biological processes in peat in the direction favorable for the growth of garden plants. Activation of microbial activity accelerates the decomposition of peat, improves its agrophysical and agrochemical properties. Light brown fibrous peat turns into a dark, almost black earthy mass.
Hard-to-reach forms of nutrients pass into compounds easily digestible by plants. The introduced phosphorus-potassium fertilizers are fixed in the root-inhabited soil layer and are not washed out of it in spring and autumn, while remaining accessible to plants.
Are there other methods that improve peat soils?
Peat soils can be improved by sanding. To do this, a large amount of sand should be evenly distributed on the surface of the peat bog, then dig a site to mix peat and sand. This technique dramatically improves the physical properties of peat soils.
Sanding is best done on sites of type III with a peat layer of more than 400 mm, the amount of sand - 4 m3 (6 t) per 100 m2, the amount of lime is reduced by half. In areas of types I and II, sanding is not recommended, since when digging the soil, the underlying layer of sand is captured by a shovel and mixed with peat, that is, sanding of the top layer of peat is carried out (without additional sand from the outside).
Moreover, in areas of type I it is advisable to add additional peat (4-6 m3 at 100 m2) In subsequent years, as peat decomposes into these areas, it is desirable to introduce peat-manure and peat-fecal composts in high doses.
If heavy clay soils lie under peat, the amount of sand should be increased even with a small layer of peat, since when digging these soils are involved in cultivation, which is required when developing such sites.
Is it possible to lay a garden on the plots “emerging” from bogs, forests, quarries, etc.?
With thorough cultural and technical work, these areas can also be used as gardens. To remove stumps after uprooting, shrubs, stones, to drain water, to level the surface with backfilling of holes, to cut off hillocks, to fill up soddy ground, to plan a site, to arrange a drainage or irrigation network - all this must be done when developing areas that have come out of the forest, quarry, quarry.
It is better to carry out labor-intensive work of a general nature using mechanisms until the entire array is divided into separate sections. At the same time, the necessary assistance should be provided by enterprises and institutions, the collectives of which are allocated land plots for gardens and kitchen gardens.
What work is done before planting the garden?
The development of a land plot usually begins with the installation of a drainage network. But sometimes you have to take care of irrigation. Then you need to remove stumps, stones, shrubs, level the surface of the soil, if necessary, apply lime, sand, organic and mineral fertilizers and dig the soil to a depth of 200 mm. Doses of lime, fertilizers, sand depend on the type of soil, its acidity, mechanical composition, agrochemical characteristics. They also take care of protecting the future garden from the prevailing winds.
The entire massif should be planted with tree species (linden, maple, elm, birch, ash). As a hedge, you can use yellow acacia, hazel, mock up (jasmine), honeysuckle, dogrose, chokeberry (aronia). Garden strips should be openwork design, purged. To do this, trees should be placed in two rows according to the scheme 1.5-3 × 1-1.25 m, bushes - in one or two rows according to the scheme 0.75-1.5 × 0.5-0.75 m.
Gardening strips are not planted if the garden plot is surrounded by forest or buildings. Parties facing ravines, rivers, and lowlands should not be planted with gardening belts. Subsequently, instead of fallen trees, healthy, strong specimens of the same species that grow in garden-protective strips are planted, and in the same pattern in two rows.
The garden can be protected with a wooden fence made of slabs, hemp, slats, stakes, as well as ornamental plants.