One of the keys to organically growing an abundance of vegetables is to start with healthy soil. While non-organic growers can add chemicals to their gardens to compensate for bad soil, that is not an option in organic gardening.
The first step in producing healthy soil is to determine the type of soil that is already present in your garden using a soil test kit. While you can hire a professional to test your soil, it is a simple process that you can do at home by getting a kit to measure the soil acidity or alkalinity from your favorite gardening center. Follow the directions of the manufacturer to determine the pH level of your soil. A pH of 7 is considered neutral with pHs falling below that number indicating that you have acid soil and those above 7 indicating that you have alkaline soil.
If you discover that your soil has a pH between three and five, then nutrients that your plants need like calcium, potassium, magnesium and copper can easily wash away while plants cannot get to phosphates to use them effectively. If you are going to add organic matter to enhance your soil, bacteria cannot get to the matter causing it to rot and the nutrients to be released.
The best solution is to mix two ounces of lime per square foot for sandy soil and six ounces of lime per square foot of clay soil into the top eight inches of the soil. Then, take the same amount of lime and add it as a top dressing to the soil.
When testing your soil, if you discover that you have a pH level between 5.1 and 6.0, then your soil may still have too much acid for some crops. Others including potatoes do extremely well at this range. If you need to change the acidity of your soil, then add a small amount of lime by mixing it with the top eight inches of soil and using it as a top dressing.
Most vegetable gardens grow best when the pH of the soil is between six and seven. Vegetables that do well at this range include:
- brussel sprouts
Still other vegetables do better when the soil’s pH is slightly above seven. Some of these crops include carrots, corn, cucumbers, tomatoes and turnips. The best way to raise this level is to incorporate sulfur or iron sulfate into your soil.
There are organic answers to any and every problem that may arise in the garden. When you realize that, you will know that you can make this happen. You can grow a garden that is all your own, and that is all organic, without worrying about a thing. The vegetables that you grow will turn out being very delicious, and very good for you, and you will feel great about how things have gone when you harvest them. You will feel great when you know that you were successful in all of this.