Prior to crop cultivation, certain factors have to be considered. One of these factors is the environmental requirements of the intended crop. The type of soil to be worked on should be a favorable one to the intended crop. Naturally, crops need a well drained soil to produce optimally; especially in their early stage.
Loamy and humus soil are the two widely accepted types of soil to be used for planting. The loamy is very common and seems to be the best by the virtue of its larger pore space. What makes a soils favorable to plants aside the nutrient composition is its pore spaces. Pore space is very important; soils with larger pore space allow easy infiltration and discourage waterlogging situation. Also, air circulates easily when a soil has large pore spaces.
However, in a soil with little pore spaces; such soil is prone to waterlogging situation. Waterlogged soil is not favorable to planting some crops, especially vegetables. Clay soil has little pore space. It is prone to waterlogging situation. This does not allow free flow of air within the soil. Planting on such crop would reduce yield and leads to waste of resources.
The nutrient composition of a clay soil is not favorable to crop production. Most clay soil lacks essential nutrients like: Nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium etc. It is mainly rich in iron (Fe). Unlike other soils, that are rich in essential soil nutrients. Clay soils are hard to till and warm up slowly. Tree crops thrive better on clay soil; planting annual crops on clay soil is not economical.
How to improve clay soil.
Clay soil can be improved to facilitate planting; it involves the following approaches:
1. Making raised bed to facilitate drainage: Clay soil hold water greatly; this is not good from crop production. To eliminate water, drainage has to be devised through making of raised beds.
2. Incorporate more of organic matter: organic matter adds nutrient to the soils and also improve the soil structure through facilitating larger pore spaces.
3. Control the soil pH: Add lime or gypsum to improve the soil pH nature.
Right choice of soil is very cogent to ensure good yield. When all factors are conducive for the growth of a crop but a wrong type of soil has been chosen, other factors would not be effective; thus, reducing yield considerable.