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Horticulture 1000
HT1102 - Plant management 2 - Cultivation
Weed control Shelter
4

Cultivation

Cultivation is where soil is broken up and turned over. Large soil clumps are changed to smaller pieces. The more you cultivate the soil the finer the soil becomes.

Soil with a very fine tilthThis photo shows a soil with a very fine tilth.

The look and fineness of the soil is called tilth.

 

Cultivation helps the water and air movement in the  soil. With better aeration, more oxygen is available for to the roots respiration. Seed germination, root growth and development will be improved.

Roots and bulbs also grow more freely through a cultivated soil with fine tilth.

Cultivation kills weeds and pests by burying or cutting them up. Nutrients are also bought closer to the surface and micro-organism activity can be sped up.

Cultivation is especially important in intensive horticultureCultivation is especially important in intensive horticulture.

Cultivation is especially important in intensive horticulture like commercial market gardening.

The grower aims to prepare the soil to provide the best conditions for seeds to germinate quickly.

 

Cultivation needs to be carefully managed as it can damage the soil structure.  Over-cultivation can cause crop yield to decrease and production costs to increase.

You will cover more on this topic if you are doing the soils achievement standard 90919.

Cultivation  methods

Motorised/mechanical

The aim of traditional cultivation is to prepare a seedbed that is fine, firm and weed-free. Here is one way this can be achieved.

A tractor and plough is used to loosen, turn over and bury weedsA tractor and plough is used to loosen, turn over and bury weeds.

First a tractor and plough is used to loosen, turn over and bury weeds and unwanted plants.

 
Other equipment is used to cut the ploughed soil into smaller pieces and crumbsOther equipment is used to cut the ploughed soil into smaller pieces and crumbs.

Next, equipment such as disc ploughs, harrows, hoes, rollers and rotary tillers are used to cut the ploughed soil into smaller pieces and crumbs. This also brings larger clods to the surface while finer crumbs are pushed deeper in this soil.

 
A roller may be used to further crush and roll any lumps of soilA roller may be used to further crush and roll any lumps of soil.

A roller may be used to further crush and roll any lumps of soil.

 
A rotary hoeA rotary hoe.

A rotary hoe can be used to make a very fine seedbed.

 

Non-motorised

A spadeA spade.

This is the most common way home gardeners cultivate the soil. The soil is dug over with a spade.

 
A rakeA rake.

Larger clumps of soil are broken up with a fork and a rake is used to make a fine tilth ready for the seeds.

 

Complete Activity 4A in your workbook

Key points   Key points

  • buries crop residue and kills weeds
  • helps water and air movement, which assists root growth and drainage
  • improves soil aeration, which is important for respiration, seed germination, root growth, and also helps soil organisms
  • can bring nutrients closer to the soil surface.

Cultivation needs to be managed carefully as it can damage the soil structure.

Over-cultivation can cause crop yield to decrease and production costs to increase.

 

What's next?

Go to: 5 Shelter.

Weed control Shelter