Most of us are probably familiar with the land. Soil is one of the most important factors for the survival of all living things. All kinds of activities or activities are of course carried out on the ground. Soil comes from rocks that have been weathered for a long time. Rock weathering itself occurs due to several factors, including wind, water, temperature and so on. Every land on the surface of the earth has characteristics and differences in every place, including those in tropical countries. This is adjusted to its weathering material in the form of rocks and also other components around the area including. Therefore, in general the soil is divided into several groups, namely, entisol soil, grumusol soil, andosol soil, alluvial soil, inceptisol soil, humus soil, latosol soil, litosol soil, laterite soil, clay and many more. Most of these soils can be found in tropical countries, but only one soil that is easiest to find in almost any place in tropical countries is clay.
The components arranged in the clay are a mixture of silicates and aluminum with a diameter of not more than 4 micrometers. Clay comes from the weathering of silica rocks caused by carbonic acid coupled with geothermal activity. Clay or loam soil has special characteristics that differentiate it from soil in general. Clay has a very hard texture when it is dry and becomes very resilient when it is wet. In general, clay has a grayish color, but some have bright colors like light brown. Many people use clay as a handicraft material such as pottery or earthenware because it is sticky but can be easily shaped. In agriculture, clay is not suitable for planting because one of the properties of clay is that it is difficult to absorb water.
However, along with the development of technology, clay can now be used to grow crops. Of course, it is necessary to cultivate the land first to suit the ideal conditions for planting crops. Clay that is sticky and does not easily absorb water can be turned into loose and fertile soil if the soil is cultivated properly. Here’s how to loosen clay so that it can be planted by plants.
1. Do it when the dry season arrives
The first step that needs to be considered before processing clay is knowing the time of season. The right season when you want to cultivate clay is during the dry season because the water content in the clay is not too high. Dry clay will be very easy to work with, especially if you want to turn it into small grains. Only need to add enough water if the clay is too hard. If clay processing is carried out during the rainy season, when the clay contains high water, the clay will tend to be difficult to work on because the soil becomes sticky.
2. Clay processing is tailored to the needs
This is related to how many plants and the type of plants to be planted. If the planted plant has a side-branching root system, of course the land required is quite large, including the population of the plant being planted. Plants need to have an ideal distance so they can grow properly so they don’t disturb the surrounding plants.
3. Mix the other components in the clay
Clay has alkaline properties so it is necessary to decrease the acidity level or pH. The method that can be done to reduce soil acidity is by providing additional components in the form of organic matter, sand, compost and gypsum. Organic material can come from plants or small animals that can live in the soil. The recommended organic matter is 20 tonnes per hectare. Organic matter should be placed under the clay so that it does not run out of the sun and can turn the clay loose and reduce the acidity of the soil. Next, add sand and gypsum when the soil is moist and then processed or hoeed until it becomes more pulverized. Keep in mind that if you give too much sand, the soil will be weathered for a long time. Finally, you can add compost evenly while hoeing or processing it until it reaches the appropriate soil texture.
4. Control soil pH
The loosened clay cannot be planted directly by plants. The level of soil acidity can still change at any time. If the clay changes to become acidic, you should add a fertilizer with ammonia in it. In addition to adding ammonia fertilizer, you can also add compost, sulfur iron sulfate and so on to reduce soil acidity.
5. Do not use automatic irrigation
Clay that has been processed still has water-absorbing properties. if you think the clay is too dry, you should just give it water as needed. Do not use automatic irrigation, there is a lot of water in the land so that there is a possibility that the land becomes very wet and can even become flooded.
6. Create a drainage system
Good land is that it has an adequate drainage system. So that before planting, you should first make a drainage channel so that the water in the land does not overly flood the land. Land that is too wet is not good for planting. Keep in mind, plants need soil with adequate moisture levels, not wet soil.
7. Ready to do planting
If the clay is stable, it means that the soil is acidic and the drainage system is good, the land is ready for planting. Choose plants that can live in all kinds of conditions and have a long life. To increase plant fertility, it never hurts to add fertilizer on top of processed land.
Those were some of the ways you can loosen clay. Proper processing can transform clay into land suitable for agriculture.