Art of Cultivating

Overview

Cultivation is the practice of growing crops on arable plots of land and is typically linked with large-scale farming rather than small-scale gardening. Common vegetables and herbs grown include rice, legumes, sugarcane, wheat, maize, turmeric, mustard and others. Cultivating crops can involve not only gardening, but also tilling, soil culture, crop raising and truck farming. For crops to grow properly they need certain things including water (from either precipitation or irrigation) and fertile soil.

Functions

There are several reasons for crop cultivating. Getting rid of weeds to stimulate plant growth is a one of the most important jobs of cultivating crops. Aeration, which is the process of allowing air to enter the soil, is another function. Freeing unavailable plant food and moisture conservation also are important reasons for crop cultivating.

Types

There are many types of cropping systems used in cultivating crops. Monocropping is growing a single crop on the same land year after year. Sequence cropping refers to growing two or more crops in succession on the same land in a year. Intercropping is growing two or more crops at the same time on the same land with a definite row pattern such as one row of soybeans and one row of maize. Multiple cropping pertains to growing two or more crops on the same plot of land in a year and includes mixed cropping along with sequence cropping and intercropping.

Tips for Crop Rotation

Crop rotation is crucial to growing some vegetables such as cabbage. There are a few basic rules regarding crop rotation, according to iGardeningTips.com. For example, crops or vegetables of the same family shouldn't follow one another. Surface crops such as corn should follow deep-rooted crops. Leaf crops or vines should follow root crops. What's more, those crops that grow quickly should be planted behind crops that occupy the land for all season.

Warnings

Weed maintenance should be done on a regular basis to keep crops clean. Weeds are especially problematic in cultivating onion crops because they compete for nutrients. The OnionGardeing.com website recommends either pulling weeds out by hand or working only the top layer of soil when cultivating for weeds. Cultivating too deeply can damage roots. Mulching also is an ideal way for keeping down weeds. Every day weeds are allowed to grow, they rob plants of available plant food from the roots of legitimate crops.

History

Cultivation dates back thousands of years with wheat as the first cereal cultivated by man. The people of Jericho were the first civilization to have lived from crop cultivations, growing barley. Later, rice was cultivated around 2,500 B.C. The first known crop cultivations in North America began in the Tehuacan Valley, which is southeast of Mexico City, with crops of corn, beans and gourds. All of these early crops needed to be individually planted instead of their seeds sown over broken ground because there weren't any animals then in North America strong enough for pulling a plow.

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About this Author

Venice Kichura has written on a variety of topics for various websites, such as Suite 101 and Associated Content since 2005. She's written articles published in print publications and stories for books such as "God Allows U-Turns." She's a graduate of the University of Texas and has worked in both Florida and Connecticut schools.