Liming soil in a polytunnel
Spring is approaching and gardeners will soon return to their plants , ready to wake up after the winter break. It’s time to prepare the foil tunnel and plot for the new season. Having more time, it is worth providing plants with a better start, this will definitely translate into more abundant harvest. It’s a good time to think about liming and learn about this procedure.
This will be useful information for people looking to lower the soil acidity, or pH. This is essential as after a full year of active cultivation, the land loses a lot of calcium, and this element plays a key role in the growth of all plants.
We wrote about the effects in the previous Krosagro guide. This time, however, we will talk about the treatment itself and why liming is worth implementing.
How does liming affect plants?
The procedure contributes to proper development of the root system. This, in turn, will lead to optimal uptake of nutrients by crop. Thanks to this, organic fertilizers used for crops will be much easier to break down. That way, composts will become a source of nutrients for the plant.
Liming also slows down the development of fungi and improves the phytosanitary condition of soil. It creates a bacterial microflora beneficial for cultivation, increasing plant resistance to diseases.
It is worth mentioning that this procedure improves the air-water relationship for soil. Loose soil provides the roots with access to the air, and thanks to this, both plants and soil can better tolerate drought.
How do you notice a lack of calcium in the ground?
The effects of calcium deficiency can be noticed quite quickly, especially for emerging seedlings. Young plants that do not avail of the necessary macro and micronutrients grow slowly, are less developed and tend to be more susceptible to attacks by pests and pathogens.
Even the roots themselves develop poorly compared to rich soil. They are twisted, short and heavily distorted. The upper part of the plant produces flaccid and thin stems, which over time can show signs of putrefaction. The leaves are very weak, and the veins instead of having a healthy green color turn brown.
How much calcium do plants need?
It all depends on the species, variety and stage of development. In particular stages of growth, the demand for calcium is higher or lower. For example, bulb plants need the most of this element when they grow roots and onions. Deciduous and leguminous plants are supplied throughout the entire growing period, until harvest. Solanaceae plants, however, need calcium to develop stems and root development.
What is soil liming?
Three types of lime are generally available on offer, both in garden centers and online stores.
- Calcium oxide is applied to acidic, heavy and compact substrates. Used as a rule in open field agriculture , as soil contains highly corrosive calcium hydroxide.
- Dolomitic lime ideally suits both single and multi-vegetation hobby polytunnels. The advantage of calcium carbonate is that it can be used even after enrichment of soil with manure in autumn. It can be delivered in small doses up to spring planting. That way, you are sure that the doses can be appropriately assimilated.
- Carbonate calcium is used on lighter soils, less rich in humus. It works much slower than the two above.
When liming soil?
You cannot calcify the soil just before planting, which is why the treatment is carried out well before the plants are introduced into the greenhouse . Earth and calcium should be mixed thoroughly, but be careful to quantify amounts properly. Both excess of calcium and deficiencies are harmful. The time required for soil to absorb it depends on its pH, atmospheric factors, substrate structure, etc., however, it needs at least 5 weeks before sowing.