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close this bookSoils, Crops and Fertilizer Use: A Field Manual for Development Workers (Peace Corps, 1986, 338 p.)
close this folderChapter 6: Soil fertility and plant nutrition simplified
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentLet's Make a Deal
View the documentHow plants grow
View the documentAvailable vs. unavailable forms of mineral nutrients
View the documentSoil negative charge and nutrient holding ability
View the documentSoil pH and how it affects crops growth
View the documentImportant facts on the plant nutrients

Let's Make a Deal

Soil fertility may not seem like a very stimulating topic, and you may not feel like reading over 100 pages on it. But, look at it this way. Soil fertility management is a vital part of successful crop production, yet an area that's often misunderstood and prone to faulty management. If you're willing to read through Part II and learn to use it as a field reference, you'll know at least as much about the practical aspects of soil fertility as most agronomists. But more important, you'll be a more effective as extension worker in terms of your knowledge; you'll also find that many of these principles can be readily understood and applied by farmers who have little or no formal education. After all, one goal of true development work is to "empower" the poor, to give them more control over their circumstances. Knowledge of this sort is a step in the right direction.

Before covering how to use organic and chemical fertilizers, there are some very useful soil fertility fundamentals we should go over. That's the purpose of this chapter.