Preparing Your Soil for a Vegetable Garden

When deciding to grow a vegetable garden, the first thing to consider is the soil required to build the garden. For the healthy growth of tree, shrubs, and vegetables, the land has to be in good shape. When your soil is in good form, the need for fertilizer or pesticide might not arise. When you prepare your garden for growing vegetables, you are ensuring you would have a successful planting season. A good seed planted on a soil lacking enough nutrient, moisture, and air would go to waste. Below are tips to ensure you have excellent soil for your vegetable garden. 

Determine Your Soil Type

Some crop types grow better in clay soil and sandy soil – most crops grow better in loamy soil because of its richness, ability to hold moisture, aeration and the presence of living organisms like earthworms and microbes. When preparing your soil for a vegetable garden, you need a combination of earth, sand, and clay in equal proportion. Testing your soil before planting would help you determine if you need to amend the soil compost. 

Map Out Your Vegetable Garden Area

After determining your soil type, create the perimeters you intend to plant on by digging the edges. The reason for mapping out your planting area is to ascertain what part of your yard you would be focusing on – in terms of soil preparation. Create perimeters by digging up the edge of the garden area after which you break the ground in-between. Clear out the mapped-out area by removing weeds, rocks, and debris. 

Tillage

Tilling the soil helps to break up the ground and prepare it for planting while providing room for soil amendments. Tilling with a rototiller to about 12-inches down is a great way to correct nutrient or pH imbalance. A rototiller makes your work faster compared to using your hands but avoid over tilling as this would result in smooth powdery dust that dries up during the dry weather and packs hard like concrete. You should also avoid tilling wet soil as this would severally damage your soil structure. 

Fertilization

The best time to fertilize your soil for maximum result is right before planting. Using organic fertilizer is best compared to its inorganic counterparts, which are faster but don’t last in the ground as long as the organic fertilizer. For maximum results, use compost, humus or manure to fertilize. Mix dry fertilizer into the soil according to the direction stated on the label before watering; while liquid fertilizers are sprayed directly on the land. 

Irrigation

Growing a lush and healthy vegetable garden is highly dependent on moisture. A good soil properly cultivated and prepared for vegetable gardening would have plenty of organic matter and hold moisture longer. Having a suitable irrigation system is an excellent idea, especially during the hot weather – ensuring your vegetables get as much water as they might need. 

Preparing your soil for vegetable gardening takes time, but, the end product is always rewarding.

Eating Organic

It seems like there is so much information now about eating organic food. It’s a good idea, but there are a lot of misconceptions, too. For instance, warnings online about what foods are dangerous to eat don’t take into consideration the amount of “dangerous” chemicals that may be on or in some of these foods, particularly vegetables and fruit. In many cases, one would have to eat pounds and pounds of the produce to cause a possible problem in your body. If you read all the negative hype, like “Top 5 foods to NEVER eat”, it will make you crazy.

Markets are getting on the bandwagon and have labels on their organic produce, grass-fed meat and free range chicken and eggs. You may have noticed that the costs are quite a bit higher for these items. Careful planning and a little bit of research can help you feed your family safely and economically.

For instance, fruits and vegetables that can be peeled or washed will most likely remove any residue from the produce. Other items that are eaten peels and all may be the ones you want to buy in the organic version. Strawberries are an example of this: have you ever tried to peel a strawberry? Just use your better judgment; there is logic in shopping, after all.

Farmer’s markets are a good way to buy locally grown produce, but be aware that some fruits and vegetables will still have been treated with pesticides and chemicals. Just read the signs as organically grown is all the rage now and the farmers are aware of what the public is looking for.

The bottom line is, don’t go overboard and be over reactive in buying “healthy” foods for your family. Remember that most of the meats and produce contain just trace amounts of unhealthy chemicals and you have been just