Soil Cultivation. Introduction. By cultivation we mean the preparation of the soil for sowing or planting by digging, rotavating or ploughing.
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1. Prepares an uncultivated area for planting.
2. Improves the structure of 'the soil by improving access for air and water.
3. Exposes clods to, the weathering effects of winter. This is still one of the best methods of getting a good structure in a heavy soil.
4. Breaks up pans that may prevent free circulation of water and air.
5. Allows organic matter or fertilisers to be incorporated into the soil.
6. Buries crop remains and weeds.
7. Exposes pests to weather and predators.
1. Disturbs the natural structure built up by organisms such as earthworms.
2. Can damage the soil structure if done when soil conditions are not suitable, or by using heavy machinery.
3. Dormant seeds may be brought to the surface where they will germinate.
4. Leaving a bare surface may cause erosion or the leaching of nutrients.
5. Moisture may be lost from the soil.
6. Hard work!
1. When soil conditions are suitable - not wet or frozen or parched. Ideally the soil should be friable.
2. Dig clay soils in autumn to get the benefit of overwintering to break it down.
3. Light soils can be dug in autumn or spring.
The natural structure of the soil is preserved.
Soil organisms are not disturbed.
Drainage can be improved if raised beds are used.
Harvesting can be done in any weather.
Weed seeds are not brought to the surface.
Less hard work and time is required