How to Make Barren Land Fertile

Land can become barren through overfarming, overuse of chemical fertilizers, extreme weather conditions and lack of crop rotation. While the treatment for barren land will vary depending on location, climate and other factors, following certain guidelines will provide you with rich and productive soil. It will take several months of patience and hard work but the ultimate reward is satisfying crops of delicious and nutritious fruit and vegetables.

Correct management can bring life to barren ground

Step 1

Cover the land with organic compost. This can be purchased or, if you have time, made from household waste. Discarded fruit and vegetables as well as vegetable peelings are ideal. Do not, however, use cooked vegetables. Home Composting provides some useful information on producing your own compost from household waste.

Step 2

Introduce earthworms to the land if it is particularly dry and lifeless. Earthworms break down the compost, aerate the land and produce extra nutrients.

Step 3

Water the land regularly during dry spells, but do not flood it as this will make the ground harden; this will result in a solid surface that air and water will not be able to permeate. In particularly dry climates, consider installing a drip irrigation system, which will keep the land moist without the risk of overwatering.

Step 4

Sprinkle the land with rock dust. Rock dust is available from garden stores but can also be obtained from quarries if you happen to live near one. It is rich in minerals, and the earthworms will use these to transform the soil.

Step 5

Sow green manure seeds. Green manure seeds are sometimes marketed as such but simply refer to plants that are grown to provide nutrients to soil. Phacelia, clover, mustard and Italian rye grass are such crops and sowing a variety of these will provide a range of benefits including adding nitrogen to soil, smothering weeds and attracting hover-flies which will kill aphids. In addition, when the plants dieback, they add vegetation which will improve the soil's moisture retaining quality.

Ben Barker

Ben Barker began his writing career in 2000, producing copy for Web sites including BT Insight Interactive, Oyster Marine and The Tub Company. He also writes fiction, scripts and plays. Barker studies English literature at The Open University.