Amaranth belongs to those crops, which are distinguished by very modest demands on the soil and the care of crops. However, to obtain a higher yield with a high content of nutrients in the green mass and grain, it is advisable to take care of the preparation of the soil in time. This can be not only clearing the area from weeds and plant residues from previous crops, but also fertilizing. Next, we consider the options that are used by plant growers for obtaining friendly shoots, healthy plants and a rich harvest.
How to start preparing the soil
At the first stage, a place for future crops will be cleared of weeds, since inferior shoots will be very difficult to survive. Then, when the amaranth grows up, it will be able to choke any weeds, but first the plant needs support. After the soil has been freed from the remnants of the past harvest, it is possible to enrich it with the necessary elements. This additionally gives several advantages:
• replenishment of the necessary quantity of necessary elements, which were used up during the cultivation of the previous harvest;
• during the winter period, fertilizers “reach” in the soil, and in the spring, the plants will begin to consume them in an accessible form;
• Plants planted in the soil with fertilizers develop faster and produce a crop earlier;
• in the spring, when every day feeds the year, no time is spent on fertilizing.
A few words separately about the need to make fertilizer in the fall. Even if organic material is introduced into the soil, which amaranth perceives positively, in order for the root system to assimilate one or another element, it must be in an accessible, dissolved form. It takes time to get a better state of each element, and winter is best suited for this.
In order for the soil to be able to properly respond to fertilizer application, it is necessary to dig up the plot from the fall to a sufficiently large depth. Despite the fact that the seeds are sown literally on the surface, slightly rolling them down, the depth to which the plot should be dug should be 20 cm. And this does not depend on the variety of amaranth, which is planned to be sown in this area. For example, in a plant of the variety “Valentina”, the root system is located very close to the soil surface, but it also needs to dig the plot deep and sow the seeds on the surface. In preparing a large area of soil for sowing amaranth, of course, a special technique is used with the ability to adjust the depth of the tillage.
Directly about the choice of fertilizers
Many would agree that for the cultivation of any plant it is important initially to provide it with favorable living conditions. If time to worry about preparing the soil for amaranth, he will appreciate the rate of growth and maturation, as well as a rich harvest. However, it is better to refuse to apply synthetic fertilizers: amaranth “does not like them,” and this especially applies to vegetable varieties. Organic fertilizers are considered an excellent option (at least 50-60 t / ha).
Amaranth perceives organics best. In this category there are several options. So, often experienced plant growers are advised to use humus with the addition of potassium phosphate fertilizers. Ash, manure, chicken rotted litter are also excellent, but, for example, it is better to bring manure under the crop that precedes the crop rotation.
Some plant growers are advised to add phosphorus flour to future crops, since it is considered to be a natural, environmentally friendly fertilizer. Here it is necessary to take into account that this type of fertilizer contains a lot of calcium, it is poorly soluble in weak acids, and its absorption depends on the acidity of the soil. It works especially effectively on soils with high acidity.
If you decide to use compost, then this type of fertilizer is best applied before digging the soil, covering the ground with a continuous layer. Compost not only provides plants with nutrients, but also accelerates the harvest.
Horse manure is considered a very valuable fertilizer, especially if it is necessary to prepare the land in greenhouses. After lying in the ground all winter, he will reveal all his nutritional properties. The optimum amount of fertilizer when it is introduced into the soil is 3 kg per 1 square meter.
Ash is preferred in cases where amaranth is sown on heavy clay soils. On other soils, in the fall, as a rule, it is not introduced, because potassium is washed away by melt water.
What makes each type of fertilizer
Compost when applied to the soil, of course, improves its composition, being at the same time the cheapest type of fertilizer. It helps the earth to restore vitality, improves its structure. Thanks to this type of fertilizer, phosphorus and nitrogen are better accumulated in the soil. At the same time, it is quite possible to call it universal, since it is suitable for all types of soil. Thus, in dry sandy soil, compost increases the content of humus and the ability to retain moisture, while in heavy soil it prevents the formation of a crust, promotes retention of moisture, and reduces surface drying. In addition, he has a very valuable quality: it is impossible to overdo it, and even a large amount of such fertilizer does not harm the plants. If it is supposed to grow amaranth on sandy soil, then it is recommended to add 5–6 kg of compost per 1 square meter of land.
Manure is considered the most valuable organic fertilizer, since it contains all the nutrients the plant needs: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and trace elements (sulfur, chlorine, silicon). The amount of these substances depends on the type of organic fertilizer: horse and rabbit are considered the most valuable. If you add mineral fertilizers to it, you can count on a large increase in yield, since all nutrients are better absorbed by plants. It is also important that in the soil it acts up to 3 years. In the autumn, this fertilizer is applied when digging a plot, usually at the rate of 1 ten-liter bucket per 1 square meter. For sandy soils, it is recommended to bring 3-4 kg of manure per 1 square meter.
Woody ash helps to enrich the soil with calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium and other substances necessary for the full growth and development of plants. This type of organic fertilizer has been used since ancient times, since it has been observed that crops grown on soils enriched with ash give large volumes of green mass at the initial stage of plant development. Such a riot of greenery is due, in particular, to the presence of calcium in the chemical composition of the ash. This substance also provides a balanced diet throughout the growing season. In addition, ash helps to defeat many diseases, allows cells to retain water, accumulating and applying it in case of drought. However, it should be borne in mind that the use of wood ash as a fertilizer can not be on soils with high alkalinity.
What kind of fertilizer to choose, of course, depends on the type of soil. In any case, the application of organic fertilizers in the required amount fully covers the needs of all plants in trace elements.
A few words about mulching
It may be asked whether the plot prepared from autumn needs to be mulched. You can get the right answer by analyzing the main qualities of the process.
As a result of mulching:
• moisture is stored in the soil;
• no need for loosening the soil;
• an additional layer of humus is provided – nutrition for plants;
• the soil is protected from overheating by the sun, which has a good effect on the life of soil microorganisms;
• in winter or during frosts, the soil is protected from frost;
• weed seeds are less likely to grow.
If to carry out mulching, then for this purpose it is better to take natural components. This may be, for example, a layer of fallen leaves, pressed by fir branches. In the spring, you need to clean the mulch early, so that the soil can warm up faster.
The nuances of the ground and its predecessors
As you know, amaranth grows in almost all types of soil, including sandy, rocky and salt marshes. However, the best conditions for this plant have a turfy, podzolic, sandy or loamy soil. It is also noticed that on acidic soils amaranth develops more slowly.
Taking care of the preparation of the site for the cultivation of amaranth, it is impossible to ignore the crops that were previously grown here. Almost all early-ripening garden plants and crops are suitable as precursors for it. Amaranth grows well after potatoes, wheat, corn, barley. Amaranth’s good harvests are obtained if cucumbers, tomatoes, legumes, and green vegetables were grown here.
In conclusion, it can be said that amaranth is a light-loving and heat-loving plant that is responsive to watering. The average period of ripening greens is 60-70 days, grain – 100-120 days. With proper care, starting with the preparation of the soil, during this time you can get a high yield.