Making Your Bed

A Primer…

  • Vegetables love the sun. They require six hours (continuous, if possible) of sunlight each day, at least.
  • Vegetables must have good, loamy, well-drained soil. Most backyard soil is not perfect and needs a helping hand. Check with your local nursery or county extension office about soil testing, soil types, and soil enrichment.
  • Remember your plants need food and water, so where you plant them is important. A vegetable garden too near a tree will lose its nutrients to the tree’s greedy root system. On the other hand, a garden close to the house will help to discourage wild animals from nibbling away your potential harvest.
  • Vegetables need lots of water, at least one inch of water a week.

Preparing Soil for Gardening

  • If you have clay soil, add coarse sand (not beach sand), compost, and peat moss.
  • If you have sandy soil, add humus or aged manure, peat moss, or sawdust with some extra nitrogen. Heavy, clay-rich soil can also be added to improve the soil.
  • If you have silt soil, add coarse sand (not beach sand) or gravel and compost, or well-rotted horse manure mixed with fresh straw.

Soil Amendments and Benefits

  • Bark, ground: made from various tree barks. Improves soil structure.
  • Compost: excellent conditioner.
  • Leaf mold: decomposed leaves that add nutrients and structure to soil.
  • Lime: raises the pH of acid soil and helps loosen clay soil.
  • Manure: best if composted. Good conditioner.
  • Peat moss: conditioner that helps soil retain water.
  • Sand: improves drainage in clay soil.
  • Topsoil: usually used with another amendment. Replaces existing soil.