The history of agriculture has more than 12 thousand years. It originated in the south of modern Turkey, and then this type of economy descended into the river valleys.
Its distribution was associated with two main reasons:
- The depletion of natural resources for hunting and gathering due to an increase in the number of hunters and gatherers;
- The spread of the producing economy beyond the centers of occurrence.
The Neolithic revolution came to different regions of the world gradually. First, it covered coasts and river valleys, then steppe regions, and already by the 5th millennium BC, almost the entire population of Europe and Asia switched to production, rather than food production. The peoples of the Far North and Siberia became an exception - with a low population density, they developed a commercial economy.
In the regions where the first plants were domesticated, there was no need to improve agricultural technology. The river valleys where the fields were located were regularly flooded. So, the Nile spilled during the monsoon rains that fell in the area of its source, and the Tiger and Euphrates - during the melting of snow in the mountains of Zagros. The spill enriched the soil with nutrients, and the man did not have the task of fertilizing the earth. He was more interested in the construction of dams and canals so that the water supplied for irrigation was ordered and did not erode the buildings.
Mastering the temperate zones
Otherwise, the situation was in places where agricultural crops came later - in the Mediterranean, the central regions of Asia, and later - in the forest zone.
For fields freed areas. For some time the field gave a normal crop, and then it was exhausted, and it had to be thrown. This happened even in those areas that are now chernozemic: at that time chernozems had not yet formed, the glacier had disappeared relatively recently. The process of casting plots was especially pronounced in the forest strip, where slash-and-burn farming was common for a long time.
It represents the burning of a plot of pre-felled forest and its operation for three to five years. Then comes the clearing of the new site, and the old gradually overgrows with wild vegetation. I must say, this technology lasted a very long time on the territory of Russia - in some areas it lasted until the XIX century.
A gradual departure from it began in the early Middle Ages, when the question of land arose sharply. Abandoned plots did not have time to recover naturally, communities became limited in land use (feudalism), and the old method replaced the new one - triple field. In fact, the three-field became the first mass rotation of crop rotation. It was an alternation of steam, winter and spring crops, and the pasture was often arranged for a couple.
The three-field fit perfectly into the system of subsistence farming, when everything that a person consumes was done inside the economy itself. It did not exist on the scale of one family, as many people think, but in the community. After all, part of the community was not involved in the process of direct production; for example, blacksmiths were engaged in their profession, which required an early start in obtaining qualifications.
Difficult crop rotation
Three-field ceased to exist with a population explosion in Europe and the outflow of population from villages. The old system did not meet demand due to overlays in sowing dates and the limited range of crops grown. By that time, the experience of vegetable gardens and fodder crops had already been accumulated, and more complex crop rotations — grain grasses, grain crops, fruit-bearing crops — came into use, and in closed-cycle farms they began to become even more complex.
Agricultural farming has come a long way from several stages:
- domestication of plants in river valleys;
- extensive farming;
- three fields;
- complex crop rotation.
Over time, this area of agricultural technology has developed even further, and currently there are many schemes of crop rotation, and you can choose the one that meets your needs, the characteristics of your site and the possibilities of applying other agricultural techniques.
The scientific basis for crop rotation was the fact that different crops affect soil quality and composition in different ways. Some take more organic matter from it, while others take minerals. There are plants that enrich the soil with nitrogen, and there are those that take moisture out of it. the correct alternation of different plants and ensures the rational use of land resources.
But in the middle of the 20th century, something happened that would seem to interrupt the development of crop rotation.
The post-war period was marked by another revolution in agriculturecomparable only to the Neolithic. Man has learned on an industrial scale to produce mineral fertilizers from nitrogen and phosphorus - the elements most actively consumed by plants. The consequence of their use was the cheapening of food products and the solution of the problem of “hungry years” - for example, the last such year in the USSR was 1947. Productivity has increased sharply, one unit of area can now feed much more people than at the beginning of the 20th century, and even more so in the Middle Ages.
And no matter how much you talk about the harm of nitrates, you won’t turn history back: fertilizers firmly entered our lives. By the way, there is no objective harm in them. Exceeding the norm of nitrates, you can just as well achieve the wrong application of organic fertilizers - for example, manure. Any means here (and not only here) must be able to use.
Surprisingly, crop rotation is not dead, but continues to develop. The massive use of mineral fertilizers as the main means of increasing productivity is typical for monoculture farms, but they are found in climatic zones where the natural fertility of soils is perfectly restored without them or with minimal application. The irrigation problem is much more relevant there.
Multicultural farms are another matter. They are currently the majority in Russia, especially in the non-chernozem zone. They can have both a completely closed cycle (plant growing and animal husbandry), and more open, but crop rotation in them is an essential part of efficiency. The application of fertilizers in their conditions would lead to a rise in the cost of production, therefore, they are introduced much less often. Such households include household plots in villages, and your 6 acres in the countryside.
The composition of the crops that you grow on your site is different. It depends on:
- Plot area
- Its importance to provide you with products;
- Content on the site of productive livestock and poultry (cows, pigs, chickens).
You must admit that it’s one thing when you go to the country house to lie in a hammock and dig in the beds for a change, and it’s quite another if it depends on your harvest how you will eat in the winter and whether you will normally live until the next season.
The table below will show how specific crops affect soil conditions.
|the culture||what takes from the soil||positive effect on the soil|
|winter rye||nitrogen, potassium, during the spike emergence period - water||after the soil is better processed, the root system is developed|
|spring wheat||nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, water at the beginning of the growing season||same as rye|
|spelled||water||inhibits the growth of weeds (itself grows like a weed),|
|oats||water and potassium||loosens the earth. If grown as siderate, potassium will remain in the soil|
|potatoes||organic matter||inhibits weed growth|
|peas||organic matter||binds nitrogen|
|beans||organic matter||binds nitrogen|
|clover||organic matter||binds nitrogen|
|cabbage||nitrogen and all minerals. Acidifies the soil||inhibits weed growth|
|tomatoes||nitrogen and phosphorus|
|Strawberry||everything||does not acidify the soil|
|beet||magnesium, boron, nitrogen, potassium|
As you can see cultivated plants tend to pick minerals from the soil, but this process is uneven, and each culture has its own characteristics. So, cereals have a long root system, and are able to take mineral substances from a depth of more than a meter, while cabbage, for example, takes them from the upper fertile layer.
It is important to understand that we do not take all the parts of the plants to our table, and the same potassium most often goes to the formation of leaves that can be put back into the mulch (except, again, cabbage). Finally, part of the crops is grown as siderates and is not accepted as food (although if you are planning to grow rye for grain, nothing will stop you, but you don’t eat straw).
Another major reason for the need for crop rotation are plant diseases. Timely change of the landing site serves as a prevention of their spread.
When choosing places for planting a particular plant guided by the following factors:
- Demanding on soil in crops;
- The relief of the site and the layout taking into account the buildings - different plants have different requirements for light;
- The predecessors who grew up at this place.
These are the cultures that grew in the previous season at a specific place. For each plant, there are good, satisfactory, and bad predecessors. The right choice will allow you to draw up a multi-year crop rotation scheme.
The precursors of vegetables when planting. Table.
|late cabbage||cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkin, zucchini, legumes, potatoes, carrots, turnips||tomato, pepper, eggplant||cabbage and beets|
|early cabbage||the same pumpkin and bean, as well as onions, garlic, cereals||peppers, carrots, turnips, eggplant, tomato||cabbage, beets and potatoes|
|beetroot||pumpkin, potatoes, greens, cereals, spices||early cabbage, tomatoes, garlic, onions, legumes, turnips, carrots, eggplant, pepper||winter cabbage and beets|
|cucumber, zucchini, pumpkin, squash||early cabbage, legumes, garlic, onions, corn||beets, pumpkin, potatoes, greens, spices||winter cabbage, tomatoes, eggplant, turnip, pepper, carrots|
|a tomato||early cabbage, carrots, pumpkin, turnip, greens, cereals||winter cabbage, spices, onions, garlic, beets||tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, eggplant (nightshade)|
|onion garlic||summer cabbage, pumpkin, potatoes, legumes, cereals||winter cabbage, pepper, eggplant, corn, onions, beets, garlic||carrots, herbs, spices, turnips|
|potatoes||early cabbage, pumpkin, legumes, cereals, onions, garlic||winter cabbage, corn, beets, herbs, spices, turnips, carrots||other nightshade|
|peas, beans||cabbage, pumpkin, potatoes, garlic, onions||beets, carrots, tomatoes, turnips, herbs, spices, eggplant, peppers, cereals||legumes and corn|
|greenery||pumpkin, bean, onion, cereal, garlic, early cabbage||beets, nightshade, spices||carrots, winter cabbage, turnips|
|carrots, turnips||cabbage, pumpkin, potatoes, cereals, greens, spices||tomatoes, onions, carrots, garlic, turnips, peppers, eggplant||beet|
|pepper, eggplant||early cabbage, pumpkin, onions, garlic, legumes, herbs, turnips, carrots, cereals||winter cabbage, beets, spices||nightshade|
|mint, basil, coriander||cereals, early cabbage, onions, garlic, pumpkin, legumes||beets, nightshade, herbs, spices||winter cabbage, turnip, carrots|
In addition, we present a table for crops, which are often used either as siderate or as feed, but they can also be grown as independent crops:
|winter rye||early potatoes, corn, legumes||wheat, barley||all kinds of beets|
|spelled||almost all vegetables, legumes, corn||other cereals||in non-black soil - beets|
We add that if you do not grow rye on an ear and plow in the spring, then this will reduce the need for fertilizer.
As can be seen from the tables, some of the best predecessors are legumes both garden and fodder. This is not surprising: these plants are in symbiosis with autotrophic bacteria that live in their root system. These are the only organisms on earth that are able to create compounds from free nitrogen, and they play a very important role in its circulation in nature.
Approximate crop rotation of vegetables in the beds
To begin with, we give an example of the simplest crop rotation., which can be implemented on a suburban area. When choosing crops, we focused on those that are most often grown by urban residents. Here is a sequence of eight cultures over eight years on eight beds. Since in the non-chernozem zone summer cottages are divided into three parts - a garden, potato planting and a greenhouse, we first lay out vegetable crops and strawberries
This table can be supplemented if we take into account that after green manure and pea, part of the beds can be occupied with carrots, and some with beets.
You can include potatoes in the crop rotation, and then it is better to think in advance how to arrange the beds so that by the time the potatoes are planted on the adjacent beds there are suitable predecessors - the same cabbage, peas, onions and zucchini. The main thing is to place the beds so that the plants do not interfere with each other: sometimes the neighborhood is not entirely successful, especially if they have common diseases. So compatibility plays an important role here.
The task is partially simplified in the presence of a large plot and a pig: cereals can be introduced into the crop rotation and they will alternate annually with other crops that can be used as feed. As they say, everything will go into action, and you will have a complete crop rotation in the garden. You can make a table for this case yourself.
In the greenhouse, it is necessary to interchange greenhouse cucumbers and tomatoes every year - nightshade ones tend to get late blight, and growing in one place promotes the accumulation of this microorganism in the soil.
If you want to use crop rotation efficiently, observe the order of placing crops on your site and do not forget to at least occasionally apply fertilizer to the soil. Still, if you do not live around the clock on the earth, you take out nutrients from it, and you do not return anything back. Ash, lime, compost can you completely replace the expensive funds from the distribution network, if used correctly. In the end, there is always the opportunity to both read the necessary literature and take advantage of online advice. Good luck