Planting is putting seeds or young plants in the soil to grow. It is usually conducted on the farmland after proper ploughing has been done.
Important factors to consider before planting include:
Fertilizers that contain nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are the most important of about 17 or more nutrients found in the soil and these three nutrients are called complete fertilizers, but they are hardly complete in an absolute sense. Secondary nutrients (calcium, magnesium, and sulfur) are also important to many plants. Others include boron, copper, iron manganese and zinc. Another critical component of your the is its acid-alkaline balance. All these essentials makes for healthy soil.
One way to determine what minerals are lacking or abundant in your soil is to get it tested. Before planting, testing the soil will help farmers know the amount or quantity of the essential nutrients in the soil and also measure the level of pH in the soil. Soil testing is also used to report the soil’s micro nutrient content, but this isn’t essential to the gardener who adds plenty of organic matter to her soil. For a less intensive test, pick up a do-it-yourself version such as the Rapitest Soil Test Kit and do your own simple, rewarding chemistry. The best time to get the soil tested is around March/June or close to the end of the year. This is also the best time to add an organic fertilizer if needed.
Soil Texture and Type
Soil texture refers to the composition of the soil in terms of the amounts of small (clay), medium (silt), and large (sand) size particles. Sand constitutes the biggest piece of soil particles and feels gritty to the touch. The next in size is the silt particles which are slippery when wet and powdery when dry. The smallest pieces are clay. They are flat and tend to stack together like plates or sheets of paper. You don’t need an expert to determine soil texture. Just pick up a little and rub it between your fingers. If it feels gritty, it is considered sandy. If it feels smooth like talcum powder, it is silty. If it feels harsh when dry and slippery and sticky when wet, the soil is heavy clay. Most farm soils will fall somewhere in between.
Every living organism needs air to grow and survive. Plants need air, both above ground for photosynthesis and in the soil for soil organisms. Soil organisms perform several functions in soil that make them a vital part of healthy plant growth.
Good soil provides just the right space between its particles to hold air that plants will use. Silty and heavy clay soils have small particles that are close together making them contain only a little air. Sandy soils have the opposite problem; their particles are too big and spaced out and the excessive amount of air leads to rapid decomposition of organic matter. Adding organic matter like compost will help balance the air supply. Also, try not to step in the beds or use heavy equipment that can compact the soil and avoid working on the soil if it is very wet.
Water is very important to both plants and soil organisms. Too much or too little water content in the soil can hinder the growth of the plant. Soils with too much pore space (sandy soils), water quickly drains through and cannot be used by plants. In silt or clay soils, the soil gets waterlogged as all the pore space is filled with water. This will suffocate plant roots and soil organisms and therefore not suitable for planting. Adding organic matter is the best way to improve the structure because it holds water so that plants and soil organisms can use it when needed.
The presence of some organism in the soil can be healthy to the growth of the plant. Soil organisms help to degrade organic matter and make nutrients available, control populations of pathogens, improve and maintain soil structure and also mix organic matter in the soil. They also help bind soil particles into aggregates that make the soil loose and fluffy. Soil organisms include earthworms, nematodes, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, mites and many others.
Some of these organisms can be purchased and added to the soil, but unless the environment is suitable for them, they will languish. Better to create an ideal habitat by providing organic matter, air and water they need to thrive on their own.
Asides these listed factors and processes, using a high quality/healthy seed will produce abundant yield, because healthy seeds cannot be easily damaged in the soil by organisms or other soil factors. After considering these factors and implementing them you can now go ahead and start planting.