Planting vegetables is one of the exciting activities that you do at your home with your family members.
As we all know that soils are very important factor in determining the success of any gardening activities. Without good soils your gardening activities most likely to be failed.
Taking that into consideration, we first need to look into our soil condition and act accordingly in preparing the soil before it can be planted with vegetable plants and expecting the yields.
Before thinking of doing any amendments to your soil, a few soil tests should be done for you to first know the current conditions of your soil.
This step is very crucial so that any rectification you made to the soils afterward will be benefited to the plants.
There are two main important soil tests that you should do and they are the soil nutrient test and the soil pH test.
Soil pH test is to determine the level of acidity or alkalinity of your soil. The scale is ranging from 1 to 14 which 7 representing the neutral state.
Numbers below seven representing the level of acidity and above seven is representing the alkalinity of the soil.
The lower the number means very acidic and the higher the number means very alkaline.
Why do we need to look into the pH of the soil in preparing the soil for vegetable garden?
The answer for that question is there will be nutrients that are not available if the soil are too acidic or too alkaline thus will affect your plants growth in growing healthily.
If your soil happened to be too acidic you can increase the pH by adding the agriculture lime substance or powder and if the soil happened to be too alkaline you can reduce the pH by adding sulfur substance.
It is also good if you already know what vegetable plants to be planted in your vegetable garden before amending the pH of the soil.
This is due to each type of plants have different requirement of the soil pH level. If you already know the plants requirement you can adjust the soil pH accordingly.
Another test as stated before that you should do before planting any vegetable plants into the soil is the nutrient test.
By doing this test you should know what nutrients is lacking in the soil.
For your information researchers have divided the soil nutrients into two categories that is macronutrients micronutrients.
Macronutrients are nutrients that are taken by plants in bulk or high quantity and macronutrients are the nutrients that less taken by plants.
However please bear in mind that both type of nutrients are very important to the plants growth and lacking either of them will affecting your plants growth.
To rectify the nutrients deficiency in the soil you just need to buy and apply appropriate fertilizer into the soils.
For people who do not mind using chemical fertilizer you just need to buy fertilizer that in rich in the nutrients that are lacking in the soils.
It is very easy to determine which fertilizer that you should buy as every fertilizer product will be labeled with the nutrients available in the fertilizer.
For those of you who intend to do organic gardening this process would be a little bit tricky as you need to use organic material to rectify the nutrients deficiency in the soil.
Please do not be worried as there a lot of guides and advises are available on how you can rectify the nutrients deficiency within your using organic material. A few advices for you are as been listed below:
If you find from the soil test that you have done that your soil are lack in Nitrogen elements you can increase it by adding one of the substances: a) decomposing manure, b) fish or blood meal, c) alfalfa meal
If it is the phosphorus element that is lacking in your soil you can increase it by adding bone meal or soft-rock phosphate to your soil.
For soil which is lacking the Potassium element in it you can rectify it by putting wood kelp, wood ashes or gypsum to increase the Potassium availability within the soil.
Another important aspect of soil that needs to be looked into when preparing the soil for vegetable planting is the soil texture.
A good soil texture must consist not only the nutrients for the plants growth but also must also consist in good mix of other elements such as air, water, microbes and soil borne creatures such as worm.
All of the elements are also very important for plants healthy growth. For example, the air is contributing the oxygen that is important for the plants’ roots growth.
In order to improve the soil structure you are advice to put a lot of organic matters into your soil.
It does not matter of what condition is your soil right now whether it is a sandy, clay or silty type of soil, adding organic matter will surely improve your soil structure.
There are many advices available on how much of organic matters should be put into the soil in improving your structure.
However, there are actually no advices are totally right or totally wrong as it is depending on your soil condition. It is only you can determine on how much of organic matters need to be put into the soil.
For general purposes adding 3 to 4 inches of organic matters should be enough for initial planting works and maybe 1 or 2 inches more for sandy type of soil so that it could help to increase the ability to retain water.
The texture of the soil will be kept improving by time as you will keep adding the organic fertilizer of compost to the plants and with other activities such as mulching.
You also need to bear in mind that improving and retaining the soil fertility is not a one time job.
You need to always taking care of your soil as well as your plants when doing vegetable gardening activities. Try to avoid doing something that will destroy the soil fertility.
It is the end of this article. I hope you find something helpful within this article.
Should you have any questions or suggestions please do not hesitate to leave it in the comment section below. I would be very happy to respond to any of your comments.