Soil Conditioner is very important to keep your soil healthy and grain free. Despite soil degradation, decreased soil fertility, and extensive use of pesticides and fertilizers, conventional agriculture has significantly contributed to meeting the world’s food needs, the health of the ecosystem, and crop productivity.
The significant decline in soils’ ability to produce could be due to their physical limitations, such as top crusting and hardening, beneath hard pan, wind, soil water-related restrictions, high or low permeability, extremes of consistency, and water erosion.
This envisages that soil must be kept in such a way as to increase crop productivity and to be in good enough physical shape to support healthy crop growth. Without a doubt, if soils are adequately maintained for good physical health, it is possible to considerably boost the output potential of several crops.
What is a Soil Conditioner?
Any substance that has a limited amount of nutrients but is primarily used to improve the biological, physical, or chemical composition of the soil is referred to as a soil conditioner. They can also be utilized as a medium for plant development. The formation and maintenance of soil aggregates favorable for seed germination and seedling emergence are included in soil conditioning. An effective soil stabilizer for these purposes will maintain a high water infiltration capacity while strengthening aggregates against dissolution from the impact of raindrops (Gabriels et al., 1981).
What is the Soil Conditioner composed of?
Many different types of organic materials, gypsum, lime, natural deposits, various water-soluble polymers, cross-linked polymers that hold water in the soil, living plants, microorganisms, and many industrial waste products are all included in soil conditioners.
What does Soil Conditioner do?
The soil requires conditioning for a variety of reasons. Controlling soil deterioration is a crucial need, along with improving soil air-water interactions, drainage, and aggregation; lowering crusting and compaction; and overcoming water repellency, among other things. It’s vital to keep in mind that numerous soil qualities may be impacted by the addition of such elements to the soil, either positively or negatively while thinking about the role and function of soil conditioners in crop production.
Some functions of a soil conditioner are mentioned below:
- The physical, chemical, and biological qualities of the soil are improved by soil conditioners.
- It aids in controlling the soil pH in difficult soils like acidic or alkaline soils.
- Soil conditioners increase the water retention ability, infiltration, percolation, and permeability of water in dry and sandy soils.
- By fostering a healthy environment in the soil, soil conditioners aid in attracting beneficial microbes and earthworms.
- The physical qualities of the soil are improved by soil conditioners, which leads to enhanced soil aeration, water retention, root development, and soil ecosystems.
- Bad soils can be improved with soil conditioners, and soils that have been harmed by poor soil management can be rebuilt.
- Additionally, they add nutrients to the soil, improving its quality and enabling plants to produce more fruit and vegetables.
How to Use a Soil Conditioner?
There are various techniques to apply soil conditioners. Some are tilled into the ground, before planting. Others are used post-planting or intermittently throughout the growing season. Before using a soil conditioner, it is advisable to examine the soil to find out more about its makeup and structure. Which conditioners are better suited for the existing conditions can be determined by this test.
A suitable all-purpose ratio is one part decomposed manure to three parts garden compost and one part soil conditioner, however, there are many more options. Then, before planting, this amendment mixture can be tilled in. Although the addition of organic matter is advantageous, too much of it can be harmful to the health of plants. Start by adding organic matter to the top 6 inches of soil at a rate of 25% by volume, or 2 inches.
Which Plant is often used as a Soil Conditioner?
Seaweed has long been utilized as a soil conditioner, especially in coastal settings. Numerous beneficial plant nutrients, such as nitrogen, potassium, phosphate, and magnesium, are found in seaweed. Garden centers sell dried and liquidized versions of seaweed. Both organic and non-organic conditioners frequently contain seaweed as an ingredient.
The nutrients iron, manganese, zinc, copper, and boron, which are frequently absent in conventional fertilizers like Growmore and fish, blood, and bone but are nonetheless vital for plant health, are abundant in seaweed.
How to Make a Soil Conditioner?
While we can get several soil conditioners in the market, making soil conditioners for your urban gardening can be done with the following procedure:
- Rice wash and kitchen waste should be combined, then the combination should be filled into a quarter of a plastic container and left to stand for a week.
- The thin film-like substance that is formed on top of the fermented mixture should then be disposed of. Add ten parts evaporated milk and one part molasses or brown sugar to the other half of the mixture after setting aside half of it. The container should be covered with cloth and left to stand in a cool, well-ventilated area for a week.
- After a week, the fermentation will be finished. The dangerous bacteria in the mixture have been eliminated by the lactobacilli in the milk.
- Spray the mixture over the soil regularly by combining 45ml, or about 3 tbsp, of the mixture with 16 liters of water.
When to Use Soil Conditioner?
Application of some conditioners is done before planting while others are done after the planting procedure or throughout the growing season. When the soil conditioner is applied depends on the type of soil conditioner used. One can determine the soil conditioner to be used and the time of application by testing the soil.
What is an Organic Soil Conditioner?
The ingredients in organic conditioners come from living organisms, such as plants and animals. They are used to improve aeration, decrease soil strength, and resist compaction, crusting, and surface sealing. They also boost infiltration and soil water retention, encourage aggregation, provide a substrate for soil biological activity, and improve aeration.
Composts are among the many organic compounds that can be employed as soil conditioners; yet, they may be the most well-known. Crop residues, manures, peat, charcoal, bone meal, blood meal, coffee grounds, compost tea, coir, sewage sludges, FYM, sawdust lignite, humate, and vermiculite are more examples of organic conditioners.
How Much Soil Conditioner do I need?
The recommended amount of soil conditioner must be spread over your lawn or garden with 3 to 4 inches of compost and manure per square foot. For every 33 square feet, approximately 1 pound of lime or Sulphur must be added.
Utilizing a tiller or rake, the soil conditioners should be worked into the soil to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. The soil conditioners must be worked into the soil to a depth of 3 to 4 feet if you are modifying the soil for a tree.
We need to employ a lot of soil conditioners in addition to conservation farming practices to meet the ever-increasing demand for food grain and other farm products from the constrained geographic area. The use of soil conditioners is advantageous because they increase the ecosystem function and crop support efficiency of the soil. One should be aware of their land’s demands and requirements before utilizing either inorganic or organic soil conditioners.