Beware of common beliefs: cultural practices need to be adapted according to the different soil and weather conditions.
1 - Will good plowing aerate the soil?
Yes and no. Plowing is first and foremost a weeding method in agriculture. Soil is an organized and structured living environment and plowing will disturb and destroy thousands of microscopic lives, lives that are very useful for the farmer and that enable the plants to find everything that they need to grow:
- the mycorrhizae (a microscopic fungus) that makes nutrients directly available to the roots;
- the worms that aerate the soil;
- the microfauna, including bacteria, algae and fungi.
2 - “There's no soil on my property, only yellow ground!”
“Yellow ground”? This is usually clay loam or silt loam, which makes up part of the soil. This “yellow ground” makes up the largest part of the soil’s water reserve, containing nutrients that come from the surface (nitrogen, potash, calcium, etc.). It is an essential living environment for many organisms (worms, bacteria, nematodes, insects).
Despite what you may think, this land will pose no problems for plants, quite the opposite in fact!
3 - I did some subsoiling and the soil was really fresh! I didn't have to use up much fuel!
Subsoiling is a plowing technique that involves digging up the soil without bringing it to the surface; it can help the water to percolate deep in the soil and allows the roots to spread and improve the structure of the soil.
However, if your tool sinks into the soil with no resistance, STOP! This means that your soil is workable and fragile, and you will be creating indurations (a packed layer that will reduce the soil’s potential for many years).
You’re lucky to have this kind of soil, so take advantage of it to save on work.
4 - “My soil was perfect for sowing, not a single lump! Fantastic!”
Non-lumpy soil may look nice, but it isn’t very effective. When preparing for sowing, leave some clumps of 2 to 3 centimeters in size (one thumb). With silt, it is best to not break up the soil structure too much, otherwise you’ll end up with a fairly bulky soil crust after the first rainfall.
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