- I don't know why this didn't go through the first time, but here it is again:
Fields can grow crops continuously by fertilizing them (i.e., chemically cultivating them), which is necessary to replace nutrients that are used up. The oldest way of improving land was by using ashes resulting from the grubbing out and burning of forests. Household ashes were also used; they were collected throughout the year and were usually mixed with manure, then taken to the fields. At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, fertilization with ashes was only a supplementary means of fertilization, and was used mainly on meadows and pastures.
The most widely used fertilizer was manure. Although it had been used in European agrarian culture since the time of Roman agriculture, it was insufficiently used in Slovakia for centuries, and was also one of the reasons the three-field economy survived for so long. Because cattle were pastured freely, a lack of straw bedding resulted in a lack of manure and its low quality (bedding consisted mostly of leaves, pine needles, sawdust, moss, and chaff).
Manure was brought to fields starting in later autumn, during the winter, and until the spring. Wagons with side boards (dos~tena'k, hil), or specially adapted sledges, were used to do this. If fields were inaccessible, manure was carried on people's backs in wooden tubs (kastic~ky), baskets, or sheets. In villages with larger land areas, field sheds (where cattle were housed temporarily) were built on the more-remote parts of land. Here, the manure that collected was used to fertilize the surrounding land. It was put on the field in piles, which were gradually strewn around using a pitchfork. When the snow melted, part of the manure leached into the soil, and the rest was plowed in during spring plowing.
All opinions my own
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