Sponsored Links

Best Soil For Vegetable Garden

best soil for vegetable garden 1
Sponsored Links

Best Soil For Vegetable Garden

Testing and Fixing Your Soil It’s best to test the soil before you begin planting a garden with vegetables. Check drainage by soaking the soil with a hose, waiting a day, then digging up a handful of soil. Squeeze the soil hard. If water streams out, you’ll probably want to add compost or organic matter to improve the drainage. Next, open your hand. If the soil hasn’t formed a ball, or if the ball falls apart at the slightest touch, the soil is probably too sandy. (Add organic matter to improve sandy soil.) If the ball holds together even if you poke it fairly hard, you have too much clay in your soil. (Organic matter improves clay soil, too.) But if the ball breaks into crumbs when you poke it — like a chocolate cake — rejoice! Your soil is ideal. If your soil doesn’t drain well, your best bet will probably be to install raised beds. Here’s a hint: Build raised beds on existing lawn by lining the bottom of frames with several layers of newspaper, then filling with soil. That way, you don’t have to dig! Get more information about raised beds. Learn more about amending your soil here.
best soil for vegetable garden 1

Best Soil For Vegetable Garden

While exact pH requirements for vegetables vary somewhat, in general, the soil in a vegetable garden should fall somewhere be 6 and 7. If your vegetable garden soil tests significantly above that, you will need to lower the pH of the soil. If the soil in your vegetable garden tests significantly lower than 6, you will need to raise the pH of your vegetable garden soil.
best soil for vegetable garden 2

Best Soil For Vegetable Garden

If you are starting a vegetable garden, or even if you have an established vegetable garden, you may wonder what is the best soil for growing vegetables. Things like the right amendments and the right soil pH for vegetables can help your vegetable garden grow better. Keep reading to learn more about soil preparation for the vegetable garden.
best soil for vegetable garden 3

Best Soil For Vegetable Garden

Alkaline soil has a pH of around 8.5 whilst the pH of neutral soil is 7. Most plants grow best in soil with a pH of between 6.5 and 6.8. You can identify the soil’s pH using a testing kit. These vary from a cheap soil pH meter, which is simply pushed into the ground and examined, to kits that include color charts and tubes. The latter provide more reliable results. For the best results, take a small samples of soil from various areas of your garden or vegetable plot. Avoid taking soil from waterlogged areas or frozen ground. Place each sample in a polythene bag and label it with where in the garden it came from. Allow each sample to dry out and then follow the instructions on your testing kit carefully.
best soil for vegetable garden 4

Best Soil For Vegetable Garden

Intensive Cropping This type of planting a garden with vegetables means using in wide bands, generally 1-4 feet across and as long as you like. Intensive cropping reduces the amount of area needed for paths, but the closer spacing of the plants usually means you have to weed by hand. Because of the handwork required, when thinking how to plan a vegetable garden with rows remember: It is important not to make the bands wider than you can comfortably reach. Intensive cropping also allows you to design your vegetable garden, making it a good choice, for example, if you want to grow vegetables in your front yard. It’s a great solution for mixing vegetables with ornamentals, as well. A specialized version of intensive cropping is the “square-foot method.” This system divides the garden into small beds (typically 4×4 feet), that are further subdivided into 1-foot squares. Each 1-foot square is planted with one, four, nine, or 16 plants, depending on the size of the plant when it matures. It also makes sense to leave some areas of the garden unplanted at first. This allows you to plant a second crop to harvest later in the season. Lettuce, radishes, green onions, carrots, and bush beans are commonly planted several times during the season. Don’t miss these other vegetable-garden design tips! Download our free vegetable garden plans!
best soil for vegetable garden 5

Best Soil For Vegetable Garden

Soil pH is a measure of the soil’s acidity or alkalinity. Knowing the pH of your soil helps to determine which vegetables to plant. Blueberries, for example, only thrive in an acid soil (with a pH of around 4-6). So, if your vegetable plot has alkaline soil, they should be grown in pots with ericaceous (acidic) compost. If, on the other hand, your soil is acidic, brassicas such as cabbages benefit if lime is added a few weeks before sowing since they enjoy an alkaline soil and lime make soil more alkaline. Adding lime also helps prevent clubroot disease, a major problem with the brassica family.
best soil for vegetable garden 6

Best Soil For Vegetable Garden

Why Plant a Garden with Vegetables Starting a vegetable garden at home is an easy way to save money — that $2 tomato plant can easily provide you with 10 pounds of fruit over the course of a season. But planting a garden with vegetables also gives you the pleasure of savoring a delicious, sun-warmed tomato fresh from your backyard. In almost every case, the flavor and texture of varieties you can grow far exceed grocery store produce. Plus, growing vegetables can be fun. It’s a great way to spend time with children or have a place to get away and spend time outdoors in the sun. Learning what to plant in a garden with vegetables, and how to tend them for the best harvest, is probably easier than you think. If you plan it right, you can enjoy a beautiful garden full of the fruits of your labor, without having to spend hours and hours tending it. Planting a garden that includes vegetables and flowers means you’ve combined natural companions, and that can turn a potential eyesore into an attractive landscape feature. Read on for more tips on your first vegetable garden! Get inspired by the White House vegetable garden!
best soil for vegetable garden 7

Best Soil For Vegetable Garden

After one or two crops have been grown in a garden bed, we plant a ‘green manure’ cover crop. These easy-to-grow crops benefit the soil in several ways. Once the green manure crop is mature, it is chopped up and dug lightly into the soil, and this replenishes the soil with fresh organic matter. Leguminous green manure crops also fix nitrogen which serves as a fertilizer for subsequent crops. The roots of the green manure also break up the soil and pull up deeper nutrients making them available for future crops. And the chopped up green manure also ‘fluffs up’ the soil which aerates the soil and improves drainage. After tilling in a green manure crop, we see the soil level in the garden beds raise several inches. The soil is loose and no longer compacted.

Are you building extra-tall raised beds?  Do you live near deciduous trees or have a good-sized lawn?  Waist-high beds can be wonderful to garden, but filling the entire bed with good soil is very pricey.  Leaves and grass clippings are great bulk organic materials which can be layered into the lower regions of tall raised beds, where they will slowly compost over time into rich soil.  Aim for two parts shredded leaves to one part grass clippings.  Add grass clippings in thin layers to prevent matting. Straw (not hay, which contains seeds), wood chips, or shredded bark could be included as well.  Once the beds are full to within 6-12 inches of the top, add a compostable barrier such as untreated cardboard (it prevents your good soil from sifting down too quickly) and then fill the remainder with your chosen soil mix.  Next year, you will find the soil level has sunk due to the decomposition and settling of the lower layers, so you will have plenty of room to add a fresh layer of compost on top!  Eventually, the lower layers can be turned over and used as a soil amendment.  If working with extra-deep containers instead of raised beds, you can add an inert “filler” to the bottom of the container, such as bricks, milk jugs, or stones.  Cover the filler with landscape fabric, which will enable drainage but prevent soil loss, before adding your chosen soil mix.
best soil for vegetable garden 9

Our simple test for soil density is to poke a finger into the soil. It should easily go down all the way to the third knuckle. If your soil fails this test, you will probably want to add some peat moss to your topsoil to lighten it. This is easy and inexpensive. In most cases you will then add lime, since peat is acidic. If you have purchased soil, ask the vendor if he knows the soil ph. This will let you know if more lime is needed. Most areas have acidic soil which needs lime, although some parts of the country have regions with alkaline soil. Vermiculite is also used by many gardeners to lighten the soil, and it doesn’t break down as quickly as peat moss. However, we don’t use vermiculite anymore, since our regimen of planting green manure has worked to keep the beds light and well aerated.

Sponsored Links

9 Photos of the "Best Soil For Vegetable Garden"

best soil for vegetable garden 1
best soil for vegetable garden 2
best soil for vegetable garden 3
best soil for vegetable garden 4
best soil for vegetable garden 5
best soil for vegetable garden 6
best soil for vegetable garden 7
best soil for vegetable garden 9