Suggestions for Soil improvement and Plantation

Hi,

I am new to farming but has passion to do integrated farming eventually. I bought a land near Kathipudi in Andhra Pradesh which is mainly a dry land surrounded with 2 ponds. This land has not been cultivated for last 10 years as it was kept with bank under loan. My goal is to go for natural farming as much as possible so I did soil analysis and geology survey for bore wells. There is only one bore well at this point and planning to add 3 more depending upon the plantation I go with. Here are the ranges for 6 soil samples we took across the farm and need your advise on soil improvement techniques if necessary.

pH                        - 7.6 to 10.24
E.C                      - 0.16 to 1.33
Org. Carbon        - 0.14 to 0.81
Nitrogen (kg/ha)  - 188 to 285
Phosphorus (kg/ha) - 21 to 35
Potassium (kg/ha)  - 257 to 294

I was told based on the analysis, it’s Alkaline. If true, What are the pros and cons of Alkaline soils? What are the best methods to improve soil to make it non-alkaline? Any plantation can be done without soil amendment with current pH and other values?

Regards,
Raj

Diancha is a green manure crop which brings down PH value.

I have a consolidated list of Soil Improvements created in my blog.  Please feel free to check and use it.

very highly technical problem dude,first i would suggest,get rid of this land :slight_smile:

but if you can’t,or dont want,then we have solutions.
your Ph balance is deadly for crops.any land with Ph balance higher than 7.5 is deadly,you can change it,but you need a Ph tester to check your parameters frequently,you can not waste time on sending soil samples to labs every 3 days.
you have to add acids,like nitric acid in water,and fertigate your land.
this process will take your land’s Ph level down.
how much acid needs to be added?
its a long discussion,which i do not hesitate to start,but please pardon me today as i have to take my kids out to celebrate new year’s evening.
i hope someone else throw light on this issue.
in the meantime,the results you posted are based on soil tests,have you got your water tested?
if not,then do it.we can not actually change the Ph of soil unless we know the Ph and EC of water.
happy farming.
deepak gupta

Thank you for your response. I looked at your blog and see general soil improvement techniques. Are there any specific techniques to bring down pH value?

Thank you for your response. I have not tested water yet, but the water from bore well seems very good by looking. I will get it tested soon. There is no drip irrigation,so How do you add Nitric acid through water? any links or documents explaining pH reduction techniques? appreaciate your response.

there is no specific formula to add nitric acid mixed in water to bring down soil ph level.
first you need a ph tester,check your local market,people dealing in scientific equipments should be selling ph meters.
if you can not find it,i can send you from delhi.i bought it for 1200 rupees from the person who imports it,though it sells for 1500 to 1800 here in retail.
once you have ph meter,you will make a solution of water mixed with your soil,check its ph by mixing few ml acid and then checking ph again,keep repeating this step untill you get your desired Ph level.
after this experiment you will get an idea about how much acid you have to mix in how much water.
drip irrigation helps but it can be done without drip also.
if you have a water tank in your field and you know what is its capacity,then you can mix nitric acid in this tank and then use this water to irrigate your soil.
please note that soil Ph level will again increase with time,so after every 3 or 6 months you should check it.generally it takes upto 3 years for soil Ph to return to its original level.
when you buy the Ph tester,inform me and i will explain you how to use it.
it can be used to check ph of soil as well as water.
EC meter is also very important to have on ur farm.
EC meters are difficult to find in india,another better option is TDS meters,guys selling RO water filter will tell you where can u buy TDS meter.
TDS is total dissolved solvents in water,to get EC values,you have to multiply TDS value by 2 and devide it by 1000
in general terms your TDS should be less then 500 EC should be less then 1.
if you wish,i can send you both PH and TDS meters from delhi.
you can either pay me advance,or if our admin agrees,you can deposit in his account,and i will send meters to you and you confirm delivery to him and he can then pay the money to me.
we can work it out some how,not a major issue.
cheers.
deepak

Simple digital PH and EC meters should be available around 500-700 rupees each, try ebay.com
I got them a couple of years back and they work decently.

Thank you Sri. How do I use Diancha to bring down pH? Do I have to repeat this crop until I see desired pH? Appreciate your response.

Yes. Plough fields(I hope you are not following No till)Ensure engugh mositure in the soil for seed germination,Boradcast seeds before monsoon, plough with a board(to cover the seeds). Monsoon will take care of rest of the activities.
Make sure to cut and mulch them before the stems become thick.  The alkaline mineral will be used by the biomass. Since you want to follow natural farming, I would suggest you to go thru  ZBNF method by Sri Subhash palekar or Korean Natural farming or CGNF (Chos Global Natutal Farming)

Thank you sir. My goal is to follow zbnf as much as possible, but in my case it seems soil amendment will take longer time if I follow zbnf methods. Are there any chemical farming methods/amendments that I can follow along with the natural crop you mentioned above to speed up this process?

Also, are there any plants that survive in Alkaline soils? so that I can try plantation on part of the land without any soil amendment.

Cabbage and pomegranate can be grown in alkaline soil.

It is important to understand why Alkalinity has gone up. If it is due to water logging no chemical will can give you a permanent soultion.
Check with adjacent farmers if it gets water logged in monsoon.

If you want a quick solution for water logging, you can go for subsurface draining system(lasts for 25 years). This will cost 40K/acre. This will solve alkalinity and salinity.

Chemical solution
You can give Gypsum. Agriculture dept supplies this on subsidised rate.

Some chemical fertilisers have ready formulation like MCF setrite

Soil pH or soil reaction is an indication of the acidity or alkalinity of soil and is measured in pH units. The pH scale goes from 0 to 14 with pH 7 as the neutral point. As the amount of hydrogen ions in the soil increases, the soil pH decreases, thus becoming more acidic. From pH 7 to 0, the soil is increasingly more acidic, and from pH 7 to 14, the soil is increasingly more alkaline or basic. The Soil PH be at 7 is the best .Over and below shows the Alkaline and Acidic Levels.  Best solution is to set-right the soil Conditions is to use the Farm Yard Manure. set right the soil condition through Chemicals is a Temporary solution. However you take the Advise of your Agriculture Officer of yor area ,who will Guide You.6.50 to 7 is the Best Healthy soil Condition.Please go through the following Links to have the Knowledge about the Soil Fertility and about PH levels.

1)  extension.psu.edu/plants/gardeni … ity-and-ph

2)  www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department … /agdex6607

3)  dpi.nsw.gov.au/agriculture/r … ure/garden

4)  soil.ncsu.edu/programs/nmp/N … %20CCA.pdf

5)  pss.uvm.edu/ppp/pubs/oh34.htm

MANNE.SN,
Vasudha Green Farms,
09133498366.

what is subsurface draining system and how does it work? Is it automatically solve pH issues or down the line? How and when  do I apply Gypsum?

Sri,

I think it’s due to water logging bcse I have noticed water logging in monsoon.

subsurface drainage system:

It is a process of laying perforated pipes 6ft below and covering with soil. The pipes are connected to a collection well or you can drain it out. See below link for a picture.
farmnest.com/forum/new-trends-in … 2/#msg9422

When the above discussion happened, I had little knowledge on this, later I collected the contacts of the comapny who does this and updated my knowledge.

Applying gypsum:
You can apply gypsum durinng land preparation. Again this is a temporary. you have to do this activity for every crop.

Untill you solve water logging dont start any horticulture crops. your issue is not alkalinity, it is only a side effect. Root cause is water logging.

A google image search gives you quick idea how it works, see below link
google.co.in/search?q=subsu … 66&bih=595