Best Soils and Fertilizer for Vegetables

The best way to get the freshest, tastiest vegetables is to grow your own. In order to grow healthy vegetables, soil and fertilizer are major factors to be given due importance.

Soils

It is important that you check the soil at the time of selecting the best location for your garden. As part of the soil testing process, simply squeeze a handful of soil in your hand to test the moisture content. Dry as dust soil means you will have to put in a lot of effort to get the soil up to the required nutrient levels before planting.

The ideal soil for growing vegetables is a rich, loamy soil; fertile, easily crumbled, high in organic matter, well drained and deep. Often you have to work with what is available in your garden. Properly prepared soil regardless of a sandy or heavy clay texture can still be used.

If the soil you have to work with is light sandy soil or heavy clay, adding plenty of organic matter is probably the fastest way to make the soil loamier in texture. Additives to the soil like peat moss, decomposed leaves, compost or old horse manure help considerably.

If you plan to add something, make it a two to three inch high layer. Make the addition in spring before you start to prepare the soil.

Repeat the process again in the fall.

The pH or acidity balance of the soil is important. Ideal pH values for most vegetables lie between six to six point five, which is slightly acidic. Seven is considered neutral; any value below seven is acid, and above is alkaline. You will need to have a soil test done to learn how much lime and fertilizer your soil will require to raise pH values to the required level. If you need to add lime, make sure it is done several months before planting. An application of lime in the fall will probably correct soil acidity in time for spring planting.

Fertilizers

Fertilizers are best applied just before or at planting time. Two methods of fertilization are broadcasting and row application.

Broadcast fertilization is done by spreading the fertilizer on top of the soil. Generally, a combination of both methods works well. The fertilizer needs to be tilled into the soil for a depth of approximately four inches.

Use the broadcast method to apply fertilizer to entire garden area. The rest needs to be applied to each row in three inch wide furrows on each side of the row.