7. Manage Nutrients
Minimise nutrient excess by carefully planning the timing, application method, and quantity of manure, compost, and other fertilizers. Over-fertilizing can increase pest problems. Increasing soluble Nitrogen levels in plants can decrease their resistance to pests, resulting in higher pest density and crop damage. Maintain soil pH appropriate for the crop to improve nutrient availability and reduce toxicity. Maintain adequate Calcium levels to help earthworms thrive and improve soil aggregation. Use diverse nutrient sources, which help in maintaining soil fertility. Manure and compost add organic matter as well as an array of nutrients. But using just compost or manure to meet the Nitrogen needs of the crop every year can result in excessive Phosphorus levels in the soil. Combine modest manure or compost additions to meet Phosphorus needs with additional Nitrogen inputs from legume cover or forage crops in a crop rotation to balance both Nitrogen and Phosphorus inputs.