5 Essential Elements You Need in Your Garden Soil for a Healthy Veggie Patch
by Zac Spade
If So you want to try your hand at gardening? Well, you’ve come to the right place! While the prospect of starting your very own vegetable garden can be a little intimidating, with a little help from your friendly garden experts, you’ll be growing veggies in no time!
Clear the Area
First things first. You need to make sure your soil is prepared to thrive. This means you need to clear out rocks, grass and any other debris. Vegetables need good soil. If the soil is rocky the veggies won’t be able to suck up the nutrients they need to be delicious and nutritious.
Loosen the Soil
Next up. Loosen up that soil. Work the soil to a depth of at least 8 inches with a power tiller or garden fork. Work the soil to 12 inches deep for even better results.
Adding organic material – like compost or well-rotted manure – is another essential element to your garden soil. Organic material provides nutrients that plants need to grow and thrive. Additionally, organic material softens soils and allows roots to more easily spread through the soil. Another bonus for organic material is that it acts like a sponge in the soil and keeps your vegetable hydrated by retaining water.
Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium
As you prepare the soil for your very first vegetable garden, don’t forget about these three very important nutrients that all plants need. Together they are known as N-P-K. Organic material does provide these nutrients. However, you may have to adjust the levels of these nutrients depending on your soil. You can add these nutrients either naturally or with chemical fertilizers.
To add nitrogen, you can use a chemical fertilizer or nitrogen fixing plants. To add phosphorous, use chemical fertilizer or bone meal and rock phosphate. To increase the potassium in your soil, use chemical fertilizer or potash, wood ash and greensand.
Soil pH Level of 6 or 7
Finally, it’s important for your vegetable garden soil to have an accurate pH level. Generally speaking, the soil in your vegetable garden should have a pH level that falls between 6 and 7. If your soil tests above that, you will need to lower the pH of your garden soil. One easy way to do this is to add sphagnum peat. If your soil tests significantly lower than 6, you will need to neturalize your soil. You can do this by adding pulverized limestone to your soil.
So there you have it. The 5 essential elements you need in your garden soil for a health vegetable garden. Starting a vegetable garden can feel overwhelming. But we hope these tips help! If you start with the right foundation of nutrient rich, well-hydrated and balanced soil, your vegetable garden is sure to thrive! >font