Corrective fertilising

A soil test is vital prior to any fertiliser application. Soil nutrient deficiencies must be corrected. Some growers put up to 10 year’s supply of slow releasing fertilisers into the soil. It shouldn't be necessary to put nitrogen in the soil, as this will leach out before the plants can reach it, and may lead to over-vigorous growth in the young plant. However, it is common to raise organic matter levesl above 2% by adding FYM, thus improving structure.

pH should be increased above 6.5, if possible, by liming. Generally use calcite (lime-CaCO3), magnesite (magnesian limestone - MgCO3) or dolomite, a mixture of both.

Gypsum (CaSO4) can used to improve structure. It reduces dispersion of surface soils & minimises swelling of sub-surface soils (improves permeability & aeration), and is particularly good for sodic clay soils, which crust.