COPING WITH SOIL LIMITATION IN THE FIELD: VARIABILITY, STONES, SALINITY, AT THE ARAVA REGION, ISRAEL
Farmers at the Arava Valley in Israel cultivate different type of desert soil with wide spatial variability of coarse sand, heavy clay, stony and salinity. A solution that had been adopted, at the last years to cope with these limitations, is a method of growing in organic matter trenches. As the soil conditions are harsher, the volume of the organic matter trench should be increased. For pepper cultivation a trench of 30 cm width and 10 cm depth will be constructed. On this trench the drip laterals will be placed 25 cm apart (Fig. 1). When the bed spacing is 1.6 m, a volume of about 19 m3/1,000 m2 will be needed. Covering the organic matter with a sand layer of 3-5 cm helps to wet the soil and the organic matter. That way transplanting will be easier. When there is enough soil without stones at the trench shoulders a narrow shallow mixing of the bed surface can be done. Other option is to spread the soil from the bed shoulder by scraping it on the bed surface. In reality the bed shape is rather trapezoidal. For row crops like tomatoes, melons, eggplant and so on, a triangle shape trench can be created with depth of 14 cm and base of 15 cm (Fig. 2). In this type of trench 10 liters organic matter per 1 meter bed will be needed (6.5-7 m3/1,000 m2). This volume is enough for sandy soil with moderate variability along the bed. A bigger trench of 25-30 cm width and 20 cm depth is needed for harsh condition of stony soil types. About 25 liters of organic matter will be needed for 1 meter trench. The organic matter should be wetted at list 3 weeks before planting. It is highly recommended to implement solar sterilization. The plastic mulch will prevent evaporation and the curing of the organic matter will be faster. At the end of the season the plants are cut at the soil surface. The drip system remains in place and no tillage is needed. The next season planting will take place opposite to the old plant near the emitter.
Kramer, S. (2015). COPING WITH SOIL LIMITATION IN THE FIELD: VARIABILITY, STONES, SALINITY, AT THE ARAVA REGION, ISRAEL. Acta Hortic. 1076, 45-52
organic matter, compost, soil salinity, tillage