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close this bookBetter Farming Series 17 - Groundnuts (FAO - INADES, 1977, 40 p.)
close this folderTilling
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentWhy till the soil before sowing?
View the documentHow to plough


20. Before sowing groundnuts, you must prepare the soil, that is, till it.

Why till the soil before sowing?

Tilling 15 to 20 centimetres deep will stir the soil very well.

Do this work with the hoe or the plough.

Tilling loosens the soil; it gets air and water well into the soil.

Tilling enables you to mix the herbage with the soil. When the herbage rots, it makes humus.
When the herbage is too big, cut it, pile it up and burn it before tilling; and then you must spread the ashes all over the soil.

In a soil well loosened by tilling, the water penetrates well and stays for a long time.

Therefore, till at the beginning of the rainy season, so that the soil holds the water.

This first tilling is very important; do it just as soon as you can move the soil.

21. Tilling, or turning the soil over, can be done with the hoe, the spade or the digging fork.

But this is slow and tiring work.

Nowadays, people use a plough drawn by donkeys or oxen. The work is done better and more quickly.

The plough

Most often, people use a simple plough. The plough consists of a ploughshare, a mouldboard and two handles.

Handles for holding the plough

How to plough

22. Make a first furrow with the plough across the whole length of the field.

Make a first furrow with the plough

At the end of the field, turn.

Make a second furrow alongside the first. The second strip of ploughed field joins the first. After that, keep turning around the double strip of ploughed field. This is conventional ploughing. If the field is very long, you have to turn less often; ploughing is quicker. Now the field is well ploughed.

Conventional ploughing

23. Ploughing often does not leave the soil flat. There are clods of earth. These clods of earth are broken up with a harrow.

Ploughing often does not leave the soil flat

If you do not have a harrow, you can let an animal draw big branches over the field to crush the clods.

Animal draw big branches over the field to crush the clods