How to Improve and Protect Your Soil

Italian ryegrass as a cover crop following a maize crop. The following soya bean crop was planted using a no-till planter.

Here is some guidance for farmers about:

  1. How to maintain and improve the health of the soil by means of cultural practices, such as growing cover crops, crop rotation, intercropping, and mulching.
  2. How to prevent weeds growing.
  3. How to make rich compost.

In order to grow a healthy, sustainable, organic crop the soil food web must be restored.  The soil food web is the community of beneficial organisms in the soil – the bacteria, fungi, nematodes, and micro-arthropods – which work together to create good soil structure; to enable the roots to obtain nutrients; for moisture to be retained in the soil; for weeds to be controlled; and to make the soil fertile. In this way, the crops will grow healthily and without weed, pest, and disease problems.

1.  Soil Preparation With and Without Compost

While preparing the soil with rich compost made with Bio-Plant would be the most effective way to restore the soil food web, not every farmer will make compost. These farmers are, therefore, advised to practise one or more of the following:

  • Use organic matter they can find;
  • Intercrop
  • Grow cover crops
  • Mulch their soil

How to Prepare the Soil With and Without Compost

2.  Soil Preparation With Compost

Because we hope that farmers will make rich compost with Bio-Plant in order to grow their crops, here are some guidelines for making rich compost:

How to Make Compost with the Bio-fertilisers

If you would like to learn about why making compost is so beneficial to the health of the soil and to crop yields, please refer to:

The Effect on the Soil Biology (incl. Yield and Disease) When Using Bio-Plant and Pro-Plant

3.  The Beneficial Effects of Composted Soil on Pollinators

The Soil – Pollinator Connection

4.  Crop Rotation

5.  Field Sanitation to Destroy Sources of Disease and Pest Infestation

6.  Cover Cropping with Green Manure and Cover Crop Legumes

Here is a presentation about cover crops. Cover Crops Presentation.

Here is a cover crop chart that shows the benefits of each kind of cover crop. Click here.

7.  Intercropping

The following shows research carried out on intercropping with legumes to restore the fertility of poor soil. The effects of intercropping with legumes are very good.

Growing Tropical Legumes for Sustained Cropping on Marginal Soils

There is a wealth of information about intercropping from the FAO of the United Nations.

8.  Mulching

9.  Weed Management

10.  Conservation Agriculture

There is a lot of information about conservation agriculture from the FAO of the United Nations.